Sept 5, 2007
The absolute most exciting thing about Steel Horizon - and this is no exaggeration - is its misleading, deceiving box art. Steel Horizon’s cover shows us guns, a fury of planes in the sky, explosions, sinking battleships, and more guns. But, actually, Steel Horizon has few-and-far-between action sequences, shabby effects, awkward movement, and gameplay that makes the original Battleship game ten times more appealing, even if you’re its biggest loser.
Steel Horizon is a strategy game. Now, sometimes, strategy games may be perceived as slow and time consuming, especially from a story perspective - the plot is usually just an excuse to fight some more. Steel Horizon's plot, however, moves so slowly it feels like it’s sinking in an ocean made of molasses. You’re immediately placed into a battle with no initial backstory at all - we'll admit there is a decent explanation as to why, but it's still jarring. The plot eventually molds into something, but this “something” is not at all fascinating. To make matter worse, the gameplay moves about as sluggishly and is just not even remotely enticing. You command a set of battleships, and while your objectives vary, you typically have to...well, sink battleships.
Now, let’s think about this: destroying battleships seems fun…right? The simple direction of combat is therefore a disappointment; it all feels like a very, very long tutorial set-up for a better strategy game. Click “here” to move “here,” and five turns later, you’ll watch the slowest action sequence you've ever seen, press a few buttons and engage combat. After this is done, you know what to do for every upcoming battle.
The campaign mode offers something of an adventure, but all of the other modes feel totally arbitrary; “skirmish,” is almost like a slimmed down, more pointless story mode. A versus mode is there, but because of how not fun the basic game is, it’s hardly any better. Even if you give Steel Horizon’s slow-moving versus mode an entire day, you’ll almost assuredly quit before lunchtime.