Battlestations: Pacific

Four-on-four online multiplayer was one of Midway’s biggest draws. Eidos is looking to expand competitive play with more maps and modes, but didn’t supply details beyond that. Other promised enhancements: attackers can target individual systems - a well-placed torpedo to the engine will slow a ship to a crawl; setting the ammunition magazine ablaze can spark a larger explosion. Challenges like timed bonus objectives and island capturing are also in; soften up an outpost’s bunkers and emplacements, then hit the beach with some transport ships to take control of any airfields, AA, or other facilities left standing.

Szalacsi says that the most important feature to Eidos is easing the player’s transition between combat roles, and shedding some of Midway’s interface issues (like nested repair menus) should help with that. “Accessibility was a key objective for us. Players will now be able to carry out commands and control their units faster with more intuitive and effective mechanisms. The whole damage and repair system is revised - we’re aiming for a system where you can feel the complexity of a huge battleship, but still take quick and effective action to save your vessel.”

Pacific also benefits from a sea-to-sky visual revamp. The fresh coat of high-resolution textures, lighting, animations, and effects are immediately noticeable: ships capsize, explosions bloom like orange cauliflower, and lush pacific flora lines the islands and atolls. Underwater modeling, HDR effects, heat distortion, and glare add bells and whistles, and a volumetric cloud system lines the sky with enough fluffy weather to let you use it for cover during dogfights.

Like ancient weapons and armor that were emblazoned with runes, symbols, and other markings to imbue their holders with power or protection, WWII bomber pilots painted their planes with pin-up girls. These icons (known as nose art) granted vessels an avatar that personalized the cold steel the crew flew in. In multiplayer, Battlestations: Pacific will let you apply girly decals to your fuselage, giving your aircraft a recognizable gal-banner to distinguish it from your allies.

Naval combat isn’t known for being accessible or action-oriented, but Battlestations: Pacific is an opportunity for Eidos to refine the good it did with Midway and carve out a welcoming middle-ground between hands-on warfare and strategy.

+ Ideally, it’s just the right amount of tactics to make seafarers feel in control, but enough turrets and bombing runs to keep the action high.
– Will babysitting your ships and fighter squads be kept to a minimum? Aquaman has publicly condemned unlimited ammo for depth charges.

Dec 19, 2008