|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eidos Studios Hungary||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-Multi (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While repairing planes in mid-flight is out of the question, your ships will require spur of the moment repairs when a torpedo has you suddenly taking on water or a direct hit to your magazine has you erupting in a large fireball accompanied by acrid black smoke. Popping up a simple directional repair interface lets you select what problem to tackle without taking too much of your attention away from blowing holes into your adversaries. Taking down enemy ships is a lot more enjoyable with the ability to cripple their movement by targeting the engines, or starting major fires by nailing their fuel supply.
The vast majority of the action remains focused on naval and airborne combat, yet the ability to send troop carriers onto the shoreline and capture island bases to use to your advantage is a great addition. Its a slow process that requires you to whittle away at base defenses and keep your sluggish carriers afloat amidst incoming fire. However, taking over land-based anti-aircraft gun encampments and turning them around to use against your foes is as satisfying a reward as co-opting a landing strip to launch backup fighters close to enemy fortifications.
Retro cutscenes complete with grain-film presentations appear at regular intervals at the start and conclusion of missions and in mid-battle when you complete specific objectives. The extra level of polish applied to the units and environments are a marked improvement over Midway. Looking closer at ships, you can even see deck hands milling about amidst explosions and billowing smoke. The beautifully rippling waves are hyper-realistic and weather effects particularly, a stormy night at seas with ominous clouds and flashes of lightning have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the presentation. In sharp contrast, the generally poor voice work found throughout the game is a puzzling disappointment.
Beyond the much-improved length and scope of the two main campaigns, Pacifics expanded online multiplayer component features five modes that offer a little something for all tastes. Island Control lets you stage massive, enjoyably time-consuming coups to nab and defend territory across large maps. For different styles of combat, there are escort missions, smaller duels, and siege defenses, and a competitive mode driven by scoring points for completing objectives. The co-op and competitive multiplayer content nicely rounds out the package. A few small blemishes aside, Battlestations: Pacific is the well-rounded, substantially improved sequel that fans of the first game were hoping for. It chisels out some of the rough edges of Midway and adds a lot of new material into the mix without substantially changing the formula.
CCC Staff Contributor