|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Kuju Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 29, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
This isn't to say that all of the control mechanics within Battalion Wars 2 are poor; the Wii-mote does get some uses in a lot of surprising ways. For example, certain flight units like the helicopter and heavy gun-ship can be maneuvered by twisting the Wii-mote left and right. Though this isn't a mandatory control option, it does make air combat a lot more fun. Some other specific uses for the Wii-mote include adjusting the on-screen camera, shifting through start screen selections, and even controlling the guns on some of the land and naval units. So, there is plenty of use for both peripherals, but in all honesty, a lot of the actions you do with both could've easily been done with a classic or GameCube controller. However, that would've probably taken away from the "experience." At least Kuju Entertainment and Nintendo seem to be on the right track.
Overall, the single player campaign is a large improvement over the original even though the game is slightly easier than the first one. Whether this is because of the Wii's control functions or not is up for debate, but the title's pace and difficulty balance couldn't be better. When everything is said and done, the single player mode wraps up at about ten hours, but there is plenty of replayability in the form of graded missions. After you complete a mission, you will be awarded a score of S, A, B, or C. The factors for getting the higher scores will be based on how many units you destroy, objectives you complete, and time you finish in. Even though there will be times when you get an A when you thought you deserved an S, the constant challenge of getting higher honors will keep you continually interested. Hey, what's not to like about getting that bigger score? Bragging rights, my friends, bragging rights.
Extending the replay value even further is the addition of an online multiplayer mode that houses a cooperative and versus mode. In cooperative, you and a friend will take charge of a couple of special units and work together on completing a particular objective, just as you would in the campaign mode. It is the two versus modes that make up the meat of the multiplayer, even though you can only have up to two players battling it out at a time. In Assault mode, you will face off against a friend who will try to stop you from completing a number of objectives. These can range from picking up neutral units to destroying your opponent's buildings. Meanwhile, the other player will be on the defensive and try to take out all your troops before you can complete your tasks. The other mode, Skirmish, is basically as it sounds. Both you and a friend or stranger will face off in an all out war, with the winner being the one who inflicts the most damage to the other. This is made simpler by the fact that the multiplayer handles lag very well. Despite multiple sessions, I never experienced slowdown unless there was a lot happening on the screen at once. All in all, it would've been nice to see a few more game modes, such as "artillery only" or King of the Hill, but there is enough here for the casual player.
The visuals in Battalion Wars 2 are quite impressive for a Wii game, even if they are only slightly more advanced than the first outing on the GameCube. Most of the obstacles in the environment are destructible, especially mountains, trees, and rocks, and the water is on par with the effects found within Super Mario Sunshine. The game still has a very cartoony feel to it, from the tiny infantry with big eyes to the overly rounded ships, planes, and tanks. And just like in the Harvest Moon series, little pre-drawn animations of specific characters will appear when they are communicating with you. On the other side of the coin is the audio, which is some of the best that I've heard on the Wii to date. From the explosion effects and upbeat music to the remarkable voice acting, it is obvious that Kuju Entertainment tried to recreate the charm and presentation quality of the original, and they definitely succeeded.
At the end of the day, Battalion Wars 2 may seem like nothing more than a unoriginal take on the Advance Wars series, but it is more than that. The quality of the presentation, action-oriented battles, and solid multiplayer mode all add up to a game that is worth a recommendation. With little on the Wii these days aside from ports and mini-games, Battalion Wars 2 is a breath of fresh air. It is important to remember that while this is classified as a strategy title, it would be more appropriate to say that it is an action game. There will definitely be some moments where thinking is required, but the lack of troop and money management may be disappointing for hardcore fans of the RTS genre. Nevertheless, with all that the game offers, there is little reason not to give it a try. Whether you need a change of pace from all the shallow mini-games or just a title to hold you over until Super Mario Galaxy, Battalion Wars 2 is certainly worth a go.
CCC Freelance Writer