Battalion Wars Review: Should You Buy?

Battalion Wars Cover Art

Battalion Wars Review: Should You Buy?

Battalion Wars is a real-time shooter style video game published by Nintendo and developed by Kuju London. This game was released in 2005 for GameCube. What do you get when you have to make quick real-time strategy decisions off the top of your head at any moment? A real-time strategy game, of course. How about when you have to make quick real-time strategy decisions off the top of your head at any moment while also participating in the battle as a combatant? You get a real-time strategy action game such as Battalion Wars. With that said, is this game worth the players’ time and money?

A Unique Take on Strategy Games

Battalion Wars Screenshot
Battalion Wars combat scene.

Today’s gaming developers seem to focus on realistic (or at least semi-realistic) war games such as SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy Seals and Call of Duty 2. However, it has been a while since a developer has come out with a war game based solely on imagination. Battalion Wars have nothing to do with Iraq, or Vietnam, or World War II. Instead, it pits two imaginary countries at war.

Battalion Wars Engrossing Story

Battalion Wars Screenshot
Fighter jet sets sights on enemies.

The two countries, The Western Front and The Tundran Empire, have had a shaky peace treaty between each other for years. Each end has been itching for the other side to make the first move over the demilitarized zone and move them into a full out war. Things seem to be turning around as Tundran leader Tsar Gorgi hands over control of his army to his son Marshal Nova; however, Marshal Nova wants peace for the two countries instead of war. Tsar Gorgi doesn’t like this and sends his army over the demilitarized zone. This causes a war between the two countries. After fighting each other to a standstill, the unpredictable leader of Xylvania, Kaiser Vlad, unleashes his monster army on both of the weakened countries to take them over. Desperately, The Tundran and Western Front’s armies form together under an alliance to fight back.

The Western Front sends the player out on their first mission, which is when they find out that a Tundran spy has overstepped his bounds. While the player follows, Brigadier Betty (a veteran of the original war) provides orders and support. At the end of the first mission, it’s clear that the Tundrans have obviously started the war.

Battalion Wars has only one game mode, story mode. You control the guys in green, known as the Western Frontier, who look and act very much like America’s army. The main enemies are the guys in red, the Tundran Empire, who look and act much like Russia. In the story mode’s main screen, the player gets an overview of a map with it split in half; half the map is colored in green (Western Front territory) and the other half is colored red (Tundran Empire territory).

Find the Best Team for the Mission

battalion wars screenshot tank
Battalion Wars weaponry strikes against the enemy.

Each mission the player will go on pits with a small force of soldiers against the larger force of the enemy. At the end of each mission the player gets scored and ranked. When the user completes Battalion Wars, bonus missions will be unlocked depending on your overall ranking. During each mission the player will get radio calls from General Herman, Brigadier Betty, and Colonel Austin, providing hints, help, and objectives.

Battalion Wars has three different unit classes to use in missions: infantry, aircraft, and vehicles. Under the infantry class are six units: Rifle, Flame, Bazooka, Missile, Assault, and Mortar. Aircraft offers five armored flying machines: Gunship, Fighter, Bomber, Transport, and the Strato Destroyer. Finally, the vehicles give the largest selection of units: Light and Heavy Recon, Artillery, Light and Heavy Tank, AA Vehicle, and Battle station. Each one of these units has strengths and weaknesses, providing their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The AI is smart and reacts quickly.

Battalion Wars Excellent Presentation

Battalion Wars gives the player a great feeling of control, allowing them to give orders to units with the press of a button. Moving and shooting is easy enough; just use the control stick to move around. The L and A buttons will allow the player to lock onto and shoot an opponent. Unfortunately, the targeting system sometimes seems to target everything but the opponent. With the ability to hop behind the wheel of any vehicle in the game comes a hard-to-handle control scheme.

The cartoonish graphics incorporated into the game give it a fun feel. The graphics allow for comical ragdoll effects. However, the physics could have been improved a little bit in regard to realism. Music in Battalion Wars is the one war song played in the background that loops every three minutes. However, the voice acting and syncing couldn’t have been better. Brigadier Betty’s voice, in particular, fits her perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Sadly, Battalion Wars does not have a multiplayer mode at all, which brings some disappointment. The game could have used a multiplayer mode, with one person controlling one country and another controlling the other, or even going all out with a four-player game.

In the end, Battalion Wars did a great job of bringing together two genres of gaming that seem naturally hard to combine. If you’re looking for a good, hard strategy game that will keep you entertained for a number of hours, be sure to pick this one up.

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