Battle Rage Review
Battle Rage box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Data Design Interactive 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Destineer 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 17, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Bad Wii games are a dime a dozen. Okay, they actually cost a lot more than that, but they shouldn't, and Battle Rage: Mech Conflict accomplishes the dubious feat of proving that, once again, this game would be more accurately priced at five-sixth of a cent rather than at its going rate of $19.99.

Battle Rage screenshot

Before playing, it’s easy enough to get excited. Publisher Destineer touted it as the first console game to work with 3-D glasses (not quite a true claim, but close), and how could a third-person shooter with beat-’em-up elements go entirely wrong? Oh, and did we mention you’re playing as a mecha? As it turns out, the 3-D functionality didn’t make it into the final game (word has it there’ll be another version that works with the dorky-looking spectacles), and even a simple shooter with cool robots can go completely awry.

It’s surprising the title is such a mess, because it’s so simple. The entire game consists of one-on-one matches between robots in various arenas. You can move, jump, shoot, melee attack, and use various power-ups.

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So many problems bring down this basic setup that it’s hard to know where to start. Probably the most frustrating issue is the controls. You aim by pointing, a la Metroid Prime 3, only it’s indescribably inferior to the system in that modern classic; it just seems harder to control, and it feels a little bit jerky. Also, the melee attacks are all handled through various waggles of the Nunchuk; as is usually the case in second-rate Wii games, these inputs work maybe half the time, and even when they do work, they’re impossible to time with any precision.

Battle Rage screenshot

Also, since the view is strictly over-the-shoulder, it can be hard to point your mecha in the right direction to hit the other guy hand-to-hand, so locking on with the C button is almost required to do any damage with your melee attacks. Fortunately, the enemy A.I. is bad enough that immediate and accurate actions won’t always be very important; the opponents have the odd habit of facing away from you a lot. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll still be dying often, even on the early levels. Despite their low artificial IQs, the enemies have a knack for delivering powerful blows when you’re not looking. One of the mechas we fought even managed to hit us almost immediately every time we spawned. It was like he knew where we’d be or something.

The over-the-shoulder view, combined with the fact that falling out of the arena costs you a life, creates another annoyance as well; since you can’t see what you’re standing on, it’s hard to avoid the edges. This is especially an issue right after you spawn, as a movement in the wrong direction can cost you another robot right away.

Battle Rage screenshot

The sound also stands out as particularly awful. The “pew-pew” shooting noises sound like they come from an arcade game from the 㥘s, giving the entire game an amateurish, dated, and unserious vibe. The music is, unsurprisingly, cheesy synth-pop, though there are a few decent rock guitar riffs thrown in here and there.

Screenshots / Images
Battle Rage screenshot - click to enlarge Battle Rage screenshot - click to enlarge Battle Rage screenshot - click to enlarge Battle Rage screenshot - click to enlarge

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