It is not easy to just think of Battlestations Midway as a single kind of game. It works like a combat flightsim when you take control of WWII era fighter planes. It becomes a ship/sub simulation when players have to take part in naval combat. And then it also becomes an RTS when the time comes to take command of entire fleets and make critical decisions about what should be done. The game has a pretty massive scope, and despite the fact that it is pretty old, it is still visually amazing and more importantly, lots of fun to play.
Across the Pacific
The game starts off with the most iconic event in the Pacific Theater of War: Pearl Harbor. This starts off the game with a bang and introduces the lead character, Henry Walker as he takes a humble PT boat into combat. The game allows the player to eventually try out different craft –with Walker's feats slowly earning him promotions in rank. This allows for the introduction of the different craft to be done organically at the story (and at the same time, keeping the learning curve easy to adapt to). Of course, the battles will eventually reach East Asia such as the Philippines and as the title says, Midway. And by then, players will have progressed enough to be able to switch controls between various crafts and ultimately be able to give commands to the entire fleet.
Despite the fact that players have plenty of ships to ride and objectives to achieve, doing so is not so hard in terms of controls. While not entirely intuitive, learning how to efficiently control planes and subs is learnable thanks to the game's very descriptive tutorial (though it is a pretty slow one). This allows players not only to learn how to fly, dive, and cruise, but also to learn how the different ships have unique capabilities such as the submarine's ability to dive below radar range.
Mind over Brawns
It does not matter how big the guns on your ship are, or how many torpedoes you can fire, what matters is how well you use the weapons you have. The game is combat heavy, but the results are often based not just on player skill, but with preparation as well (and this is exceptionally more so when you play the RTS mode). The good thing is that playing each of the craft individually early in the campaign also serves as a learning step in knowing which crafts are more advantageous to use. You will know that a submarine is effective in dealing with battleships, or if your enemy has a carrier or a squad of fighters, then a destroyer with AA guns will help keep the odds in your favor.
See It All
The game feels quite grand in its scale. Missions lead to one another and even when you change ships or fighter planes, the notion that you are fighting one big giant war with massive battles punctuating every step makes the game a very visual experience. Thankfully, the game is able to handle a massive amount of ships onscreen at any time. You can have over three dozen units present following your commands (and that is not even counting the enemy ships).
Nothing Like Before
The sheer fact that the missions in Battlestations Midway mostly occur in the Pacific theater of war make it pretty special (most games focus heavily on the European or Soviet side of the war). Of course, the fact that you can fly planes, command ships, and do so many other things makes this game a must play for any player who loves WWII-themed games. Oh, and not to forget, the game also supports a pretty good multiplayer mode that support up to eight players in teams of four.