If you like your flight sims, but soon get bored then Eidos thinks it has the answer with Battlestations Midway a flight sim combined with a boat sim and wait for it, a submarine sim to boot. But can the three disciplines work cohesively together or is it just a mish mash of ideas? We take to the battlefield to find out.
Set against the backdrop of Pearl Harbour you spend umpteen missions battling against the Japanese to "revenge" the deaths of your fallen colleagues. The setting of course, makes for a perfect excuse to use all three craft as you fend of air raids, submarine attacks and boat battles attempting to be worthy of Bismark.
In practice it’s a mixed experience with the game never spending enough time in one discipline to get to grips with it before moving on. Rather than playing out each craft missions in fruition, you end up jumping around. One mission you are in a battleship that moves about as fast as a tortoise not in a rush and the next you are flying above the clouds protecting a fleet of bombers from a wave of Japanese fighters.
As the missions progress you do get to take charge of more than one vehicle at a time in the level and it's here the tactical sim element comes about. Launch the planes from the aircraft carrier, attack the position with the planes and offer artillery support from a nearby gunship. You can opt to play out the entire mission in one aspect, with the other craft working away autonomously however to get the most out of the game you've got to switch between the three.
Gameplay is either played out in cockpit or via a tactical battlemap that allows you to move craft into position just as you would chess pieces however its far from easy switching between the three disciplines in battle and nine times out of ten we found ourselves swapping into a plane on the other side of an island where you just were just about to be shot down by a fighter plane that you hadn’t expected to be there.
AI, both yours and the enemy's is okay, but nothing special. Coming up on a squadron of Japanese fighters for example they don't duck out of the way to avoid your on coming fire, but simply carry on flying ready to take your hail of bullets. Then there are the missions where you can simply keep going to get out of the trouble spots rather than having to stay and fight.
Once you've completed the campaign mode there are is a series of challenges to complete. Here you can play either as American or Japanese forces and the aim is to hold back your opponent's assault. However as the name suggests these are challenging.
Once you've finished with the single player elements of the game, as you would expect you can take the experience online with up to seven other players via Xbox Live.
Here you can either play one on one or commanding an entire fleet or as more players join you, spilt the responsibilities of key craft between you. Fans of the vehicle elements of Battlefield 1942 should sign up here.
Like a Triathlon, Battlestations Midway promises to take the best bits from three disciplines and marry them together. Here instead of swimming, cycling and running, it’s a boat, a submarine and flight sim.
All sounds good doesn't it? But the problem however is that like a triathlon, you never get to do much of any one discipline before you move on to the next, and while in a triathlon moving on to the next section gives your arms or legs a break, here just as you get stuck into the action, it frustratingly shifts and moves on.
Overall, Battlestations Midway is a nice idea, however it's confused at what it wants to offer with the end result being a muddle of all three disciplines.
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