But before we could get comfortable with a detached role as master strategist, the action part of the game (yeah, remember that?) sucked us right back into the cacophony of war. Our ships were taking heavy damage from opponent gunfire and we had to make some split-second decisions. Do we ask our three-man repair crew to fix the steering or the weapons first? One's obviously necessary to shoot back... but the other is equally necessary if we want to maneuver at all during the fight. And do we continue chipping away slowly with artillery or do we risk unleashing our very limited supply of torpedoes?
By the time planes, air carriers and air bases were thrown into the mix on the second map, Islands of Solomon, our heads were spinning. In the skies, as on the sea, you must lead as well as act. Sending a squadron to down a troublesome cruiser is fine, but transporting yourself into the cockpit of one of the planes and personally delivering the final dive bomb is more likely to guarantee success.
Choices like these are constantly demanding your attention on both a large and small scale. And, try as you might, you can't possibly make them all. That's where your teammates come in. Before each multiplayer battle, players not only pick sides, they pick what aspect of the battle they will manage - air or water. In addition to freeing your mind of half the war, this enables you to concentrate on your favorite style of play. When we were in the mood for a thoughtful and deliberate game of strategy - full of careful maneuvering, precise positioning and submarine stealth - we went with the naval forces. When we just wanted to blow the crap out of stuff, preferably between badass barrel rolls, we opted for the aerial units.