War comes to the Wii
November 18, 2007
Weapons of mass destruction make people nervous, even in gameland.
Fear of a superweapon sparks a conflict in “Battalion Wars 2,” and it’s not long before five nations are duking it out in the squad-based military action game developed by Kuju Entertainment for Nintendo’s Wii console.
The T-rated game begins with the Anglo Isles — looking a lot like England — attacking the Solar Empire because of rumors that the Japanlike nation is developing a superweapon. It’s not long before the Tundrans (Russians), Western Frontier (Americans) and Xylvania (Germany) are waging war.
It turns out that Xylvania’s Kaiser was actually the instigator — hoping to divert attention from his own search for a hidden superweapon that the Solar Empire had used against his ancestor’s Iron Legion.
Each nation has its own specialties, strengths and weaknesses, but all play basically the same. Gamers command “battalions” that can consist of infantry, armor, artillery, aircraft and ships. They can take control of any unit on the battlefield to lead the assault against the enemy. It’s easy to assign units to tackle specific tasks or switch from one unit to another to take advantage of special abilities and attacks.
It’s essential to balance those attacks. Headlong infantry assault can only go so far before they’re chewed up. And sending armor in without a few grunts to guard against bazookas spells disaster.
The controls are easy to learn. The Wii remote is used to aim at targets and the nunchuck is used to jump and roll, but most other actions are handled without relying on the motion sensors in the controllers. It was a wise move that prevents the game from feeling too gimmicky.
Despite its premise, the game has a very light-hearted feel. Most of the characters are a tad goofy. For example, one of the commanders of the Western Frontier looks more like a surfer babe than a steely-eyed veteran. And the cartoony grunts bear some resemblance to the amusing folks in the venerable “WarCraft 2” PC game.
Overall, the graphics are quite crisp and rich for the Wii. It should prod other developers to work a little harder on their visuals for the console.
In addition to the single-player campaign, the game offers several online modes.
As a result, “Battalion Wars” ends up as a well-balanced military action game that delivers plenty of fun.
Platforms: Wii, Nintendo DSOn the Web:www.battalionwars.com