Battalion Wars Gamecube Review

Spinning off the Advance Wars series, Battalion Wars does a great job of keeping the light atmosphere of the series alive outside of its roots. This is an enjoyable romp into a world where war is handled like a sitcom, complete with bad Russian accents and dialogue. It has moments where everything goes awry, but quickly pulls itself back together.

Controls are the obvious starting point. There's no option for the dual analog control usually reserved for 3rd person shooters. The C-stick now is used to dish out commands. Various troops intelligently aid the player on their various quests once given the order, and doing so is painless. The default set-up is intuitive to issue enough orders outside of combat, but you'll need to be sure you're set before diving into a confrontation. Telling people what to do is the last thing you'll be thinking about when in heated situations.

The massive battles contain countless troops attempting to blow each other away, all without slowdown or frame rate problems. Controlling any of the characters is simple, and you can switch at any time. The camera is rarely a problem, and the offered viewpoint (almost directly overhead) is a great alternative to the default position.

Missions are comprised of the basic variety, from rescues, to escorts, to "blow up everything they have." Don't expect anything original, but be ready to make some strategic calls. Like the handheld counterpart, knowing your troops is crucial. Training slowly brings you completely into the game so you'll be ready for some of the brutal later stages.

If anything holds Battalion Wars back, it's the combat. Each type of trooper has a specific weapon and that's it. It feels limited, and defense is left to rolling around aimlessly. AI isn't perfect, and while they're smart enough to grab health packs when they need one, they'll also grab one you may have had your eye on. Controlling vehicles is also outdated, the single analog control set-up frustrating and a nasty throwback. Multi-player is also absent in any form, rather inexcusable for a game like this.

With a decent style, flair, and humor level, Battalion Wars does fine for itself as mindless entertainment. The T rating is a bit harsh since the cartoonish stylings, total lack of gore, and no language seem to be aimed at kids ready to step into the realm of E10 titles. This harmless little war game isn't a classic, but it's fun and a nice change of pace to the complicated shooters out there.

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