Battlestations Pacific is a game with many choices. From bombers, to destroyers, to fighter planes, to PT boats, and to many other WWII era aerial and naval crafts –players are given a chance to pilot or helm them all. This is what makes this game truly unique. Sure, there are other action oriented titles that allows for access to vehicles, but few with the same scale as this game, and almost none that also allows for commanding entire fleets like an RTS. There is synergy in the combat system –planes will try to dodge anti-aircraft fire, ships will attempt to perform maneuvers; and players must make use of all these elements in order to win the day.
Linked Mission Objectives
One of the ways that the scale of war is shown is in the way players are tasked with objectives that are connected to each other. Destroying AA guns with a naval ship's big guns will allow you to launch in a plane to perform bombing runs. Laying siege on an enemy base may end up with you winning and having to defend your new ground. Sometimes the action happens one after another, others overlap and the ability to switch controls between different craft becomes a critical gameplay factor.
In terms of realism, the way that war is present feels just right. But as for specific events, the game does not necessarily mirror actual historical engagements and instead gives players missions that play to the strengths of Battlestation's multi-faceted approach.
Full Multiplayer Mode
While the campaign mode can be engaging, the multiplayer mode is a little more intense. There are various game modes that range from straightforward combat to island capture matches. Since players have full access to their roster of ships and planes, this experience feels quite fun and exciting. One major issue however is that since this game is old, the community has since lessened. Also, those who are new to the game will have fewer options available in terms of deployable ships and planes –and it is easy to get severely outclassed when your opponent is using a high tier ship.
With four years in between Pacific and Midway, it is not surprising that the game looks a whole lot better than the original. The details on the planes and ships look more distinct and with various little touches of imperfections that make feel even more realistic. The skies and the surface below look pretty good (particularly the water effects when ships leave a wake), but of this polish is mostly due to the great lighting effects. As with any war game, explosions and projectiles are the flashiest things you get to witness and the game executes these quite perfectly –watching a massive cruiser sink after a successful aerial bombing run is just epic.
Thinking Man's Game
Even with all the action, this game is certainly not for those expecting arcade like combat. A part of the tension comes also from the preparation times and briefings and of course, the slow approach to the area of conflict. Things do get hairy once the both sides clash, but the winner is often pre-determined by the amount of planning done beforehand. This is even true in missions where enemies seem to come from everywhere –being able to utilize your fleet properly can ensure the least amount of losses while still attaining victory.
Easy to Love
This game is perfect for the WWII battle-fanatic and marries up in quality to the equivalent scenario shooter - Deadly Dozen Pacific Theatre. Even if the game's pace may seem slower than that of an FPS, it certainly presents a different viewpoint of the war (not to mention showing players something new aside from dozen times Stalingrad, Normandy, and many other sites have been showcased). The ability to switch units is certainly our favorite feature of Battlestations Pacific, since it keeps the experience fresh and dynamic. Meanwhile the implementation of the strategy aspect feels like a solid game on its' own.