Battlestations: Midway

Once the birds are in the air you've got the opportunity to play pilot, and the planes we sampled offered a variety of fancy-pants maneuvers. Stall diving, barrel rolls and loop-the-loop is all part of the aerobatic repertoire. While it's definitely no flight sim, the controls are still a tad daunting. Thankfully, there's a naval academy where rookies can practice and hone their plane, ship and sub handling skills.

History buffs will be pleased to know that, in addition to war machines being authentically designed, some of the big players that had a role in the Pacific Theatre of World War II appear in the game. In the mission we sampled - in which we had to assault the Japanese-occupied island of Tulagi - planes were deployed from aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown, just as they were in the real-life battle.

Our first scramble with Battlestations certainly gave us good reason to notch it up on the radar - the sunny Pacific makes a great backdrop, the action-strategy combo works well and the opportunity to thump big holes in even bigger warships before watching them sink to the bottom of the big blue has obvious appeal.

Before we get too excited, however, we'll need to fully test the game's intellectual abilities. Currently, computer-controlled compatriots seem a little too efficient, making us feel inadequate on more than one occasion and leaving us to wonder why, exactly, we left the battle map at all when we could've just left things in the computer's capable hands.

We also want to see how the game handles oodles of planes slugging it out on-screen at once (there just has to be a large scale, sky-based rumble). And then there's the extensive multiplayer, which we're told will make up about 50% of the game. We'll be readying our troops for another recon with Battlestations: Midway soon, so keep this frequency clear for further incoming intel.