(Wii)

Game Review

Battalion Wars 2 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Thomas Bowskill

Battalion Wars advances onto the Wii…

Calling the first Battalion Wars an anti-climatic experience wouldn’t be too far off the mark: the spin-off from the highly acclaimed Advance Wars series was expected to be a smash hit success. Unfortunately, the distinct lack of tactical depth brought the game short of the mark in many people's eyes. Battalion Wars Wii was a chance for Nintendo to redeem the series and prove the game could be just as good as its DS counterpart. Regrettably, this hasn’t been the case, and we’re presented with a sequel that once again falls short of the high standards expected from Nintendo.

The story to BWii starts out a couple of centauries ago: the Iron Legion – lead by Lord Ferrok (a man with a head shaped like a novelty, er, well…) – had decided that it would be rather nice to take over the world. Fortunately, the Solar Empire withstood the Iron Legion’s onslaught, and managed to launch a last-ditch attack, where they used a staff of immense power to deal a fatal blow to Lord Ferrok’s forces. Skip forward a couple of hundred years to the present day, and war has broken loose again. This time, the catalyst appears to be the tea-sipping gents of the Anglo Isles – attacking the Solar Empire in belief they have a weapon of devastating power (how topical!). However, things are not all as they seem on the surface; there is a far more sinister plot developing in the background.

From the outset it is clear that BWii is a light-hearted title. Although war is the name of the game, the cartoon-like appearance and flamboyant characters detract from any possible sense of realism. This is not really a bad thing for those looking for a bit of casual fun, but for anyone wanting a ‘proper’ war game, this isn’t it. What there is of the story is quite weak too: each country is involved in the war in some fashion or another, and it’s the player's job to wage war on behalf of these fictitious – yet somewhat stereotypical – nations. It’s certainly not one of the most gripping of narratives, which ultimately means you care very little for the characters. In fairness, it’s a bit harsh judging the game on its storytelling and plotlines when the core focus is on gameplay.

The story being blithe and somewhat lacking actually fits in well to the pick-up-and-play mentality the game has adopted: short, simple, accessible, and not overly engaging. You play as a commander of a battalion (a hodgepodge of whatever units are available) and it’s your duty to defeat the enemies and capture their bases and production lines while at the same time defending your own: you use (STICK) to move – shaking it to dive out of the way of fire, (Z) to lock-on to targets, (B) to shoot, and (A) to command other units, while pointing the Wiimote will control the camera direction and pressing (C) provides different viewing angles.

In the early levels you play as the basic ‘grunts’ (foot infantry), but fairly soon you gain access to a wider selection of other soldiers, tanks, airborne vehicles, and sea-based weaponry. The real nifty part here is that you have the ability to switch between which unit to control: using (DPAD) and (A), players can elect to play as whichever unit they desire within their current battalion. Being able to control one of several units at your whim really provides a diverse way to play the game: you could opt to stay out of close combat in a bombship – preferring to command from a safer distance – or decide to get up close and personal with the enemy as an infantry grunt. The range of units is well thought out too, with each type having their own strengths and weaknesses – e.g. tanks can decimate assault infantry, assault infantry can avoid bazooka infantry fire, and bazooka infantry make short work of tanks. In many situations you’ll need to use tactics and send in specific units to destroy enemies that would otherwise make light work of your company.

On paper this sounds like quite a sophisticated system, but in actuality it becomes the downfall of BWii. When playing, you’re constantly encouraged to send specific units to engage in combat with particular enemies. To do this you lock-on to the target with (Z), use the (DPAD) to select a unit, and then press (A) to get them to attack. When you have several enemies attacking you at once it becomes impossible to play this way, and, instead, you end up commanding all the units at once – negating any real tactics. Furthering the tactical system’s deficiencies is the awkwardness involved when attempting to manage troops in more than one location – it’s practically impossible. In a nutshell, all these problems stem from the fact that the Wii control setup is not sufficient to cope with how the game should be played – a major letdown.

Visually, BWii looks nice, if a bit too cutesy for the people who prefer realism. There’s real variety in the terrain and very few drab colours. The soundtrack blends in well and, with the visuals, helps give the game the expected sheen of Nintendo polish.

Difficulty wise, the game is quite a breeze: you’ll have a few moments when a real challenge is presented, but otherwise you’ll be ploughing through the story at a quick rate, easily completing it within 8 hours. Each mission is ranked, and attaining certain ranks unlocks extra content – bonus material in the form of unit dossiers and concept art. With no option for local multiplayer, the only real factor that may draw you back to this is the online mode where you can play co-operative missions, fight against someone to capture bases, or just engage in a general fragfest. The co-op missions may well keep you entertained longer than the main game will – the tactical depth here is greater as the units are divided up between the players, making teamwork essential and tactical deployment a possibility. However, the player versus player modes are pretty lacking due to the restrictions imposed by the control system.

Conclusion

Battalion Wars Wii is ultimately a sequel that doesn’t do enough to make a good series great. The visuals are nice, missions are the right length, and there have been a couple of enhancements in the form of extra units and an online multiplayer mode. However, the distinct lack of offline multiplayer is a significant downside, and disjointed gameplay mechanics makes its description as a 'tactical' action game fit like a pair of clown pants on a size zero model.

If you played and enjoyed the first game, you’ll undoubtedly like BWii. If you’ve never played the series before, try before you buy – this one’s not for everyone.

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User Comments (18)

Sean_Aaron

#1

Sean_Aaron said:

That's a bit disappointing. Sounds like if they went with a turn-based rather than a real-time mechanic it could have worked a lot better as a strategy game.

Olimar_91

#2

Olimar_91 said:

I love the Advance Wars series, so I was considering giving this game a go. The original BW actually began as Advance Wars Under Fire, for those who remember.

There's something about the change to real-time combat that doesn't sit well though. I prefer my warfare to be turn-based. =)

Sean_Aaron

#3

Sean_Aaron said:

I'd really like to see another Front Mission game: mecha combat meets turn-based RPG = awesome.

DrakeStaff

#4

Drake said:

I personally enjoyed this more than the first, it's a lot more accessible. One of the most underrated Wii games IMO, I believe it's only sold about 200.000 copies :(

Luigi_La_Bouncy

#5

Luigi_La_Bouncy said:

I don't understand why this game hasn't done better. I really enjoyed it and managed to complete it 100%, which is rare for me.

It has a nice story and plenty of variety. Of course I realise that if you compare it to similar games on other platforms it seems a bit kiddish. But its also very accessible and friendly and I would of thought that its a great entry point to the genre as well as being outstanding on Wii.

I've seen it going for half price in some shops and as a budget game its definately worth picking up.

Madman2000

#6

Madman2000 said:

I would give this game a 9 out of 10 it had great visuals, and great gameplay. Also the online is amazing one of the best of all the wii games out their now.

CanisWolfred

#7

CanisWolfred said:

I loved the first Battallion Wars, but this one was pretty disappointing. I'll beat it and try to play some online matches before I get rid of it, but really, I do regret getting this game.

edofthe209

#11

edofthe209 said:

The game is good for what it is. It is fun to have a combo 3rd person shooter mixed with an RTS. It's a jack of 2 trades, though a master of neither. It's really hard to feel very tactical when all you can really do is a glorified bum rush through the level. I haven't made it all the way through yet, but so far everything has be superlinier. The thing is though, what is there is fun. Well, I hated the helicopter parts, but the rest is really fun, just about as deep tactically as a baby pool.

Modern_Legend

#12

Modern_Legend said:

we need more third person shooters like this ill be honest, this game did a good job trying to pull it off, now if they keep working at it and add offline (or if another company does) the game will be our Gears of war and will be a sell out :D

NiC

#13

NiC said:

Hmm.. I thought this game was ok... Not really worth the 50€ though (the price when I bought it). I never really got into it, perhaps because I want to build war-factories and make units in RTSs.
And I hated this "German equals bad"-stereotype with the pseudo-German Xlyvanians. When game companies think "Well, we need a bad nation for our game." they always make it German. Ok, WW2 was our fault, but that was a long time ago and the Americans did a lot of crap too in Vietnam or Iraq (which is far more current). Really, we're not as bad as many games tell you :P

jeff9487

#14

jeff9487 said:

"Ok well I created a account just for this"

this has to be one of the worst reviews for this game and MOST of the reviews for this game were acutally really good because the game is good and before all of you all act like you played (and haven't) and join this critics BS band wagen why don't you go buy it at gamestop used for $8.99 and give it a few hours on and offline then you'd have the right to say "it wasn't that good" or worse.

this game sold like 200k and it was made in 2007 and its 2010 now and I just got finished playing it online for hours today so that in its self is a testament to how good and under rated this game is and I've played people with records of over 500wins and almost no losses so thats a testament to not only how addictive it is but how STRATEGIC it is also

4/5xplay 8.6/10vgchartz average critic score and 8.4/10 average user score and I'd personally give it a 9/10 and it truely is a rare console gem that just didn't catch on.

jeff9487

#15

jeff9487 said:

I have to strongly recommend this game for being one of the best wii games to date maybe even the best wii game to date and plus its extremely cheap used so do yourself a favor and go buy it and give it some time because to me at first it only seemed ok until I gained some experince then I really started to appreciate the game alot, its the kind of game you gradually start liking more and more after you start getting some wins and figuring things out and NO this game isn't such a set in stone chess match like ADVANCED WARS and that's were experince comes in and skill and no you can't play the game like a moronic retard and achieve an impressive online win record either or in campaign and what you'd be doing inorder to win might not be what nintendo had in mind when they created the gameplay unless your extremely quick witch I use to be that quick but one thing is for sure you going to need a gameplan with strategic ideas if you want to beat a bw2 vet and this game really reminds me of "freedom fighters" but only 2×better.

Hokori

#16

Hokori said:

I thought this was better to control than the 1st. except I hated the planes
But the 1st story was better and i never play a game for its story as I love Mario and Zelda the most
Kidnaped Princess again

estoiagamer

#17

estoiagamer said:

I loved it. It was great.I don't know anything about the first one but this one is a masterpiece 9/10

sketchturner

#18

sketchturner said:

Just got this for $3.99 at GameStop. I haven't played much, but so far I am amazed how fun the game is and disappointed that I and so many other people ignored it.

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