The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific review

  • Shooting dudes is alright
  • Smooth frame rate?
  • Fun Slovak names in credits
  • BORING single-path levels
  • Washed-out, just plain ugly visuals
  • Increasingly sensitive aiming

Dec 20, 2007

Developer Cauldron may have all the expertise of the History Channel backing them up, but is it any use when they clearly don't understand the evolution of their own medium? Historical accuracy notwithstanding, Battle for the Pacific stands as a laughable attempt to clone the formula of successful first-person shooters like Call of Duty.

The core problem with this game is that it betrays its own claim to realism. The History Channel moniker doesn't mean much when you're mowing down hundreds of soldiers and your squad mates are invincible. Too boring to interest an FPS fanatic and too crazy to catch the eye of history buffs, Battle for the Pacific is a bothersome lose-lose situation. The core and basic gameplay are typical first-person shooter 101. And Battle for the Pacific is completely lacking in any dramatic, Call of Duty-style set pieces. The occasional turret segment hardly breaks up the hours of demolishing waves of might-as-well-be-pop-up-target soldiers.

Battle for the Pacific does have the obligatory rudimentary online multiplayer, but it also places too much emphasis on this. The single-player is only about four or five hours long, and a huge portion of the achievements are multiplayer-only, forcing players to sink tens of hours just to unlock a few extra hundred points. Plus an online match requires six players just to begin; maybe the developers could delude themselves about how often that will happen, but we cannot. You may never get those achievements.

Another noticeable crack comes with the music. The vaguely stirring epic score that has become a cliche in war games is employed once more here but in a wildly sloppy manner. Half the time that you're fighting in the game's bland jungle environments, there's no music at all. When it does play, it blares so loudly that your ear drums will revolt.

Similar problems persist with the sound design, which inexplicably features constant gunshot and explosion noises amped up so high that you'll rarely catch any of the un-subtitled dialogue. This would be more forgivable if the developers would have performed the expected courtesy of having "speech" as separate volume slider in the options, but no such luck.

There are a ton of fine shooters hitting shelves this year that are good enough to go down in history. It would be a shame to waste your money paying full price for this heap, which instead takes history down with it.

More Info

Release date: Dec 05 2007 - Xbox 360
Feb 19 2008 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Cauldron
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood, Violence, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

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