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Battlestations Pacific Review

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Ambitious war game that hugely rewards those with patience to stick at it.

★★★★

Ambitious, deep and at times utterly confounding, Battlestations: Pacific is a war game that isn’t easy to jump into, but rewards players with the patience and resolve to get to grips with its epic skirmishes and huge variety of military challenges.

Like its predecessor, Battlestations: Midway, Pacific is a complex blend of hardcore action and real-time strategy, putting players behind the controls of a wide variety of weapons of war – including kamikaze planes, formidable warships and torpedo-packing submarines – while offering the opportunity to take a planning perspective on the action and command units from a lofty bird’s eye map.

But while the developers have gone to great lengths to ensure there’s enough crossover in how the vehicles handle during the action sequences, only those who are willing to spend time in the game’s intense training sessions will emerge victorious in the theatre of war, as identifying your enemy’s weaknesses are more the key to success than a quick trigger finger, as is the way with most contemporary WWII blasters.

From a strategic standpoint the simple RTS action is also flawed, the manipulation of units often hampered by fiddly boxes and menus that make the process more complicated than it should be, and a bewildering sense of vagueness in informing players which forces they need to issue orders to in the heat of battle.

However, once you’ve put the time in and got to grips with the game’s shortcomings, Battlestations: Pacific opens up and offers players a wide-reaching and ever-shifting take on the chaos of war, with literally days worth of content to explore and an absorbing multiplayer mode that will keep the action alive for months to come.