Battle Group 2 Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Battle Group 2 Review



War sells a tremendous amount of video games a year, a phrase that may be controversial and perhaps spark debates, yet it has never been truer. The glorification of gun wielding soldiers in a deprived and often backward part of the world in the name of peace appears to be a huge selling point. You merely have to glance towards Activision and Dice as an example. The problem is companies have to find a way to differentiate themselves from their last title and the competition, which is hard when we are reaching a point where creative ideas are few and far between. Titles like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are leading the way, creating future worlds accompanied by new, alien-like technology but this may not appeal to the classic gamer, who may enjoy an retro arcade feel. Introducing Battle Group 2.

Battle Group 2 is a top-down tactical naval arcade shooter developed by Bane Games and published by Merge Games. As well as being responsible for Battle Group 1, which had mixed views, the majority being positive, Bane games have created the majority of their games for a tablet and phone market. Some previous titles include Scoop Groups, a game about ice cream and Flick Buddies. Interestingly, both are puzzles games but are incredibly laid back compared to their current title, however, it appears this is the extent of their portfolio with Battle Group 2 being the first release on PC. This may unnerve people due to past experiences with tablet developers and Steam, a combination that usually doesn’t work.

You are in command of a warship when you encounter a new deadly threat. In an act of war, a terrorist organization called The Talon threaten to blow up an airliner with several VIPs aboard and to guarantee it’s safety you have to sacrifice your huge ship and start from the ground up, using newer smaller ships in an attempt to bring down your enemy before they cause to much damage. As the commanding gunner, it is your job to destroy nearby threats and achieve mission objectives by blowing the living hell out of everything else. With the use of new technology you can give The Talon, with their impressive and unending artillery, a challenge.

When the Talon takes your ship you are left to buy a new one to add to your arsenal. The interesting thing regarding the ships is the different abilities each one has, which makes choosing one a difficult process. At different costs ranging from cheap to expensive and the different price tags means that your choice of ship is limited at the beginning. In my experience you have an initial choice of two. While both are similar looking ships their abilities are either an automated cannon or a decoy flare, both of which are very useful. As you unlock bigger ships you unlock better weapons like jets or helicopters whist you are able to keep your previous abilities. Unfortunately there are only four ships leaving players with a lack of customization options.

The game mechanics are limited at first but once you complete levels you unlock several more. Your basic attack is a click to shoot missile launcher, which may sound like carnage but it has a cool down, making constant shooting impossibility. Your secondary ship has a mixture of weapons varied due to the one you pick. Unfortunately it works for several seconds and has a cool down but there is power ups that can help this. Like everything else in the game they are unlocked over time and they feature such abilities as quick reload, where cool down times disappear one time only and slow time, which will present the game in slow motion whilst you’re rockets are moving at normal speed making you a giant threat for a limited time and saving you from bad situations.

From the immediate outset, I see the game modes are limited to one, this being campaign mode. This contains thirty-one missions in eight different locations around the globe. Whilst the campaign mode is good and a lot of fun, I cant help but feel they have squandered such great potential. A quick play or endless mode would provide one long non-stop game and a multiplayer mode could have incorporated many interesting mechanics used to either work with or against others. Unfortunately these weren’t implemented but with future patches this is easy to do.

The in game currency used for upgrading health and reload time of your turrets, ships and vehicles are barrels of oil. These can be obtained by destroying ships, planes or buildings on nearby land. This is a great way of encouraging players to achieve the objective properly and effectively and adds an element of challenge by encouraging players to destroy everything. These upgrades are needed and can’t be ignored due to the increasing level of difficulty as you progress through the levels. It would have been nice to see a fewer upgrades for several things to give players a choice. Whilst it can be spent buying a newer ship, it would be nice to given to option to keep your current one and upgrade it to a better vessel.

The graphics are surprisingly good looking, certainly compared to the previous title’s attempt. Colours show real depth whilst particular attention has been focused on the sea rather then the land. Explosions look bright and vibrant and with several threats on the screen at one time, the scene appears chaotic. Some textures are lacking but due to the size of the objects located on the screen, it isn’t a particularly relevant issue.

Ships and planes are very detailed showing several vehicles or objects on the deck of the ship, like aircraft or weaponry. There are no moving objects on the ships but it is well textured due to its foreground presence.

Audio has a powerful role in the title. As well as the female voice acting expressing her opinions and details of the mission, you have a host of different weapon sounds from various airborne sea craft. Various explosions on either your ships or the enemies sound great. A downside would be the lack of voice acting for the head of The Talon, creating, often, long segment of dialogue you have to read. It would have been easier and nicer for the audience to listen to the conversation rather then read it.

I did have some slight issues with the game. The performance was great with no frame rate drops whatsoever, which is just as well due to the limited options menu, but I did have a unbelievably hard time loading the game. It seems to work sporadically with full screen mode on. In the windowed mode it works every time. As well as this my game never saved making me anxious every time I left the game and has never saved since making me believe its either a problem with my computer setup or the game. As no comments have mentioned this on the Steam store page, I have to assume it is my P.C however, please let me know if you are suffering from the same problem and we will try and fix it together.

Battle Group 2 is a great arcade like game with an emphasis on fun. Whilst it may suffer from some bad points, like a lack of game modes or a lack of voice acting it has a lot of very good ones. It’s addictive and uncomplicated, making it easy to play. I do believe that with some further updates to the current game including further modes or extra upgrades I believe the game will attract a wider audience and keep them entertained for longer, leading to a longer shelf life. However, due to its indie roots, this may not be possible due to time constraints and economic issues.