Battlestations: Midway Review: 5 Reasons to Buy

Battlestations: Midway Review: 5 Reasons to Buy

Having a different viewpoint can drastically alter an experience, and this becomes evident in Eidos’ Battlestations: Midway. Engaging in battle with a fighter plane is obviously different when the same battle is fought from a warship. This has probably never been made more apparent before Battlestations: Midway. Which is a strange blend of strategy and real-time action that ultimately creates an entertaining and unique gaming experience. Battlestations: Midway was published by Eidos Hungary in 2007 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.

Battlestations: Midway’s Premise Is Engaging

Battlestations midway screenshot
Navy recruit in the Pacific Ocean of Battlestations: Midway.

Battlestations: Midway is set during World War II, following the tale of Navy recruit Henry Walker, who is unfortunate enough to arrive at Pearl Harbor in time for the Japanese attack. Walker begins by leading a PT boat into battle, and quickly advances in rank, ending by commanding small fleets against the Japanese into the final and titular battle at Midway. This growth is gradual enough to be comfortable even though the game is fairly short.

Interactive Gameplay Keeps Players Interested

Battle station pacific screenshot
Rain or shine the fleets will be out and about.

The gameplay in Battlestations: Midway is mostly real time combat. The player will control gunboats, airplanes, submarines, and warships into battle against their Japanese opponents. The controls are fairly simple, with the left trigger used for firing and steering controlled by moving the right analog stick to the corresponding direction. Up and down alter the vehicle’s speed. This configuration sometimes causes unwanted mistakes, as it is easy to press the analog stick up to increase speed and to have the vehicle alter direction. Although this is annoying, it doesn’t cause enough problems to be more than a minor complaint.

Battle is Just Around the Corner

battle station combat
Be ready for incoming combat.

Each battle starts out with simple objectives that the player must complete to proceed, as well as a number of secret objectives. The objectives can include destroying enemy units, protecting allies, or reaching a certain point on the map. The game does a good job of keeping the player informed of objectives, as most goals are highlighted with an arrow that points in the correct direction when the objective is off-screen. When switching between multiple units or flying a swift airplane, it becomes easy to lose sight of goals or to lose bearings completely, so this is a well implemented and needed feature.

Almost all of the battles feel epic, with destroyed plane debris raining down into the ocean and large sinking ships surrounding the player. There is almost always a sense of urgency and looming disaster, which makes the experience immersive. This gets especially pronounced as the battles grow in size and scale and the player commands larger fleets, creating the feel of actually being in a classic battle.

Unique Features of Battlestations: Midway

battle stations screenshot of ships and planes
Be sure to strategize battle with teammates.

The unique thing about Battlestations: Midway is that the game can be played from multiple perspectives. The player can control their fleet from the tactical map, which allows the player to see the entire battlefield and to give each unit individual orders. However, the player can choose to inhabit any unit under their control at any time, allowing them to order a submarine to attack an enemy vessel and then take direct control of the submarine’s efforts. 

The player can choose to give orders and control certain units or sit back and give commands and watch the proceedings. Even when controlling units, the player can still give commands to the controlled unit, such as instructing a plane that they’re controlling to land on a ship deck or to command a ship to fire at will while the player controls navigation.

There is also a lot of strategy involved in winning the battles placed before your fleets. The player can sometimes choose which weapons to equip the units with, and some weapons are obviously better suited for certain situations than others. For example, a battleship can only be damaged by torpedoes, and machine gun fire is completely useless against it. Also, submerged submarines can only be damaged by depth charges. This system forces the player to think about their strategy before mindlessly sending droves of fighter planes or ships against the enemy. The player must also manage the ship repair, as fires, leaks, and engine damage can occur, and the player can assign men to repair damage.

Graphics and Modes in Battlestations: Midway

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Graphics and modes compliment the gameplay of Battlestations: Midway.

The graphics in Battlestations: Midway are effective, but definitely not awe-inspiring. The fire and explosion effects are last gen at best. The ships and planes are well-detailed, with crewmen scrambling about, but simplistic, without any really eye-catching visuals. The water effects are decent as well but should have been much more realistically rendered considering that the entire game takes place at sea.

In addition to the relatively short single-player campaign, the game also has online multiplayer and challenge modes. The multiplier can be fun, allowing the player to compete and cooperate in battles against one another with up to eight other players in nine different maps, all taken from gameplay. The player can play as either American or Japanese in four-on-four battles. The challenge missions require the player to complete difficult objectives and hone their skills using either a ship, sub, or plane. These challenge missions can be used as practice or for an experience beyond the single-player story mode.

Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately, Battlestations: Midway is a fairly fun gaming experience, especially for those interested in war simulators. RTS fans might find it a little simple but might find the emphasis on action a pleasing surprise. Action fans might find the strategy a little dull, but with the simplicity of the commands they’ll find themselves in the thick of the action as often as they like. Although the single player is short, the multiplayer adds replay ability that fans of the genre can enjoy for a long while.

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