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Battalion Wars 2


A few years ago while the GameCube was still a contender, a little game known as Battalion Wars was released. Obvious comparisons were drawn to the Advance Wars series but truth be told Battalion was in a different league. Rather than simply offer you turn-based strategy, the GameCube game put you in the middle of the action and found itself nestled firmly in the real-time tactics genre. The end result was a mixed blessing as fans of the genre slowly gravitated towards it while others didn't even bother.

To be quite honest I was kind of surprised when Battalion Wars II was released for the Wii back in 2007. I didn't think that the first title had garnered that much of an audience but with the motion controls I definitely saw the potential that the sequel had. While it didn't turn out to be the most engrossing entry in the genre Battalion Wars II is actually quite fun.

The story can be a tad convoluted at times as it jumps between decades and centuries and shows you two sides to an ancient war. The line that divides the good and bad becomes blurry as you'll play both sides of the fence. The Iron Legion and the Solar Empire are interesting adversaries but other factions become involved at some point as well. Like most strategy games you're not coming to Battalion Wars II for an engrossing story, though it's nice to know that what's here is reasonably entertaining.

Gameplay


The main attraction for any strategy game is the gameplay. There's just something about building up your forces, commandeering enemy territory, and crushing your opponents at every turn that is satisfying. Thankfully Battalion Wars II gives you many ways to do just that. There is a plethora of units under your command and each mission has something different to offer.

The thing about the Battalion Wars series that is different from other real-time strategy games is the fact that you actually control a unit on the field. Whether you're put into the shoes of a foot soldier with a bazooka or a highly destructive tank the experience you'll have here trumps most other strategy titles. I mean, I love traditional entries into the genre as much as anyone else but there's just something about hitting the battlefield that feels great. It's a marriage of the third person action and strategy genres that works very well and fans of both that own a Wii should definitely give it a try.

Now with the Wii in question the way the game controls definitely becomes a topic of discussion. This one uses the nunchuk and wiimote to move your guy around and bark orders but the motion capabilities aren't as prevalent as you might think. The analog stick on the nunchuk moves your unit while the z button locks on and b fires. The wiimote allows you to select other units and issue orders. With that being said the motion sensitivity comes into play when you want to move the camera or control a vehicle. It's a control scheme that feels intuitive for maneuvering planes and tanks and such but not so much when it comes to moving a soldier around the battlefield. The controls here are definitely not bad but it's safe to say that they take some getting used to.

Battalion Wars II offers twenty missions to play through in the single player campaign and if you ask me the experience comes up feeling a tad on the light side. Sure the game includes an interesting story with six different factions through into the mix but twenty missions don't last quite as long as you'd hope. In many ways I felt that I was just digging into Battalion Wars II as it was ending, which isn't a good thing I assure you. If you're a perfectionist you can go back and acquire different rankings for each mission but there's only a select few who would do that.

Once the single player missions are over there is a multiplayer component that you can sink your teeth into. Utilizing the system's wi-fi connection Battalion Wars II lets you play against buddies with friend codes or simply just random people. Considering this game came out a while you're better off sticking with friends since most people have moved on to other things. If you do manage to find a match the action is straightforward with regards to the modes the game offers but it's a worthwhile experience.

At the end of the day if you're a lover of real-time strategy or action and you own a Wii, Battalion Wars II is definitely worth checking out. It's a solid entry for the franchise and while it doesn't necessarily expand much over the first game, what it does offer here is quite good. The controls can be a tad cumbersome and the game simply doesn't last as long as one would hope. Still, this is a good rental and an easy recommendation if you happen to have friends looking to play the game as well.

Graphics


There's no denying that Battalion Wars is a cutesy looking franchise. The graphics are kid-oriented much like Advance Wars but the sequel here adds a touch of realism to everything. It's a pseudo-cartoon look that may seem a tad strange at first but it definitely works given the amount of artistic design that went into things here. Textures aren't the greatest by any stretch of the imagination and the animations can sometimes be stiff. With that being said the environments and amount of diversity here definitely stretches the Battalion Wars dollar and in the end the game looks very good for a Wii title. Sure it won't go toe to toe with 360 and PS3 titles but this is a Wii game and it doesn't have to; it's successful in its own right.

Sound


With regards to the sound you can expect a booming soundtrack and some fantastic effects throughout the game. The music is memorable and adds a lot to the atmosphere in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately the kiddy look translates to sound as some of the voice acting is very over-the-top and obnoxious. There's something of a give and take in terms of the audio for Battalion Wars II but it's mostly good.

Conclusion


After the first Battalion Wars I was a little skeptical regarding whether or not the series would see another release. Fortunately the sequel is just as good, if not slightly better than, the original game. It finds a home on the Wii and fans of the strategy genre should definitely give a spin to see how Kuju Entertainment developed it. There are some unique elements here blended with a decent backdrop and some interesting controls. It's not a shining gem by any means but it's certainly a strong title that warrants a serious look by fans of the genre. Check it out and you won't be disappointed!