Battle Rage Review for Nintendo Wii

Battle Rage Review for Nintendo Wii

Bad Wii games are a dime a dozen. Okay, they actually cost a lot more than that, but they shouldn’t, and Battle Rage: Mech Conflict accomplishes the dubious feat of proving that, once again, this game would be more accurately priced at five-sixth of a cent rather than at its going rate of $19.99.

Battle Rage screenshot

Before playing, it’s easy enough to get excited. Publisher Destineer touted it as the first console game to work with 3-D glasses (not quite a true claim, but close), and how could a third-person shooter with beat-’em-up elements go entirely wrong? Oh, and did we mention you’re playing as a mecha? As it turns out, the 3-D functionality didn’t make it into the final game (word has it there’ll be another version that works with the dorky-looking spectacles), and even a simple shooter with cool robots can go completely awry.

It’s surprising the title is such a mess, because it’s so simple. The entire game consists of one-on-one matches between robots in various arenas. You can move, jump, shoot, melee attack, and use various power-ups.

So many problems bring down this basic setup that it’s hard to know where to start. Probably the most frustrating issue is the controls. You aim by pointing, a la Metroid Prime 3, only it’s indescribably inferior to the system in that modern classic; it just seems harder to control, and it feels a little bit jerky. Also, the melee attacks are all handled through various waggles of the Nunchuk; as is usually the case in second-rate Wii games, these inputs work maybe half the time, and even when they do work, they’re impossible to time with any precision.

Battle Rage screenshot

Also, since the view is strictly over-the-shoulder, it can be hard to point your mecha in the right direction to hit the other guy hand-to-hand, so locking on with the C button is almost required to do any damage with your melee attacks. Fortunately, the enemy A.I. is bad enough that immediate and accurate actions won’t always be very important; the opponents have the odd habit of facing away from you a lot. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll still be dying often, even on the early levels. Despite their low artificial IQs, the enemies have a knack for delivering powerful blows when you’re not looking. One of the mechas we fought even managed to hit us almost immediately every time we spawned. It was like he knew where we’d be or something.

The over-the-shoulder view, combined with the fact that falling out of the arena costs you a life, creates another annoyance as well; since you can’t see what you’re standing on, it’s hard to avoid the edges. This is especially an issue right after you spawn, as a movement in the wrong direction can cost you another robot right away.

Battle Rage screenshot

The sound also stands out as particularly awful. The “pew-pew” shooting noises sound like they come from an arcade game from the 㥘s, giving the entire game an amateurish, dated, and unserious vibe. The music is, unsurprisingly, cheesy synth-pop, though there are a few decent rock guitar riffs thrown in here and there.

Battle Rage features some of the most rudimentary excuses for graphics we’ve seen in a current-generation game. There’s no detail or texture to anything, the visuals don’t run smoothly, and the character models aren’t impressive in any way. It looks okay if you pretend it’s a Nintendo 64 game, though.

Battle Rage screenshot

Fortunately, no one spent too much time coming up with extra features to pile on to this heap of garbage. The screens leading to each fight have some awful text dialogue that scrolls at a snail’s pace. The single-player Arcade mode is a simple succession of matches, in which you can unlock some extra characters and customize your bots (the tradeoff is between armor, speed, and power). Multiplayer-wise, there’s co-op, in which you control two separate mechas on a split-screen, as well as a basic Vs. mode. Neither of these options is any better than the single-player game, and Vs. is basically just a competition to aim your pointer at the other robot the fastest (and keep moving if you can), but at least you and your human collaborator/opponent can commiserate.

There’s also a story here, presented through some very poorly written text that scrolls past when you first start up the disc. Here’s our best stab at what that gibberish means: It’s the 22nd Century, and humans have begun colonizing space. Because of some technology-based mass tragedy that leaves civilization in ruins (we won’t try to guess exactly what happened, but it seems to have been called the “New Hope Incident”), the Colonization Era begins to draw to a close. For entertainment, people grab hold of Shells (mechas) and fight each other for TV cameras. Those fights, of course, are the focus of the game.

It would be nice to have a decent third-person shooter on Wii, but Battle Rage isn’t even close to being that shooter. That’s a little disappointing, but hardly surprising for a console whose non-Nintendo offerings have been, with very few exceptions, embarrassing. Fans of shooting, beat-’em-up action, and mecha fights will have to turn elsewhere for their fix. If there’s a moral to the story, it’s this: budget developers should stick to budget genres, like arcade shooting and side-scrolling platforming, and leave the expensive genres to the big-budget studios.

They would be passable if the last decade had not happened. 1.0 Control
Awful, unwieldy, awkward, frustrating, and every other negative adjective you could think of. 1.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The dated sound effects and annoying music are distracting, and they hurt the game quite a bit. 1.0

Play Value
It’s hard to spend more than five minutes with this without thinking about the other things you could have done with those five minutes.

1.0 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Separate storyline for each of the robots characters.
  • Robot customization.
  • Compelling mechanics and special attacks.
  • Robots allowed to fight with 3 weapons at the same time (two ranged and one melee).
  • Eight robots, 20 weapons, and ten arenas.

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