IGN Review of History Channel: Battle for the Pacific
Months after the initial versions of The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific hit store shelves, the PS3 version comes wandering into town. If you were hoping for a better experience this time around, prepare to be disappointed: this is the exact same poor experience that I saw last year.
Battle for the Pacific is an FPS that not only fails to inspire or redefine the genre, but it also misses the mark of mediocrity. This is an extremely substandard game, through and through. Set in the now entirely overused backdrop of World War II, Battle for the Pacific attempts to recreate certain segments of the Pacific Campaign including the legendary Battle of Iwo Jima. However, its lackluster presentation, poor controls, abundance of AI glitches and forgettable narrative make this an FPS game you may want to skip.
I don't mean to say that Battle for the Pacific is entirely hopeless -- it occasionally demonstrates (at least through imitation) a handful of respectable elements like relatively average combat mechanics and a few good animations here and there. But these are hardly enough to redeem its negative qualities.
Battle for the Pacific places you in the dirt-covered boots of an American soldier participating in the U.S. campaign to retake key strategic positions, including the aforementioned Iwo Jima. Perhaps the first problem that presents itself is the complete lack of soldier personality, which is becoming increasingly apparent in FPS titles nowadays. The only character you'll develop any sort of relationship with is your Sergeant, who miraculously survives just about everything that's thrown at him (and does a surprisingly good job of taking down the opposing force). Besides this ultimately weak character, no one else really matters.
The next obvious problem is the core gameplay: following people. Almost every mission among the collection of about ten missions involves you following either a commanding officer or fellow soldier. If you stray even slightly from their immediate vicinity, the mission ends. Hooray. In other words, the gameplay doesn't change much, so once you've seen the first ten minutes of the title, you've basically seen it all.
This promptly leads me to my next issue: the game's length. Sure, the first ten minutes just repeat over and over again, but for how long? There lies my biggest surprise: the game only lasts two hours tops (unless you die frequently). For an almost full-priced FPS title, two hours is bordering on pathetic. But with such an intrinsically weak experience, maybe that short length is a blessing in disguise.
But let's say that these issues don't get you down. "I don't care, Ryan," you say proudly in dignified protest, "I still have a resounding desire to partake in this Battle for the Pacific!" Well, I should also point out that the game is noticeably glitchy, especially when it comes to your fellow soldiers. Because you follow at least one NPC for the majority of the game, you rely on them quite a bit to move forward. Unfortunately, your "guide" will often stand in place idly and stare at a wall, run back and forth in one spot, or generally just forget where he's going (or so it seems). This really hurts the gameplay and makes the experience much less enjoyable -- though it wasn't overly enjoyable to begin with.
Otherwise, the game is almost entirely forgettable. It technically works, but going through the same jungles and trench environments gets old pretty quickly. In fact, some of the beginning levels look virtually identical to the final ones, which isn't promising. Perhaps worst of all: the controls are somewhat stiff and require some getting used to, but not in the satisfying way.
Of course I can't forget the multiplayer: no one is playing the game.
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