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February 14, 2003
Battle Engine Aquila - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
7/2/2003InfogramesLost Toys1-2MMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Actual in-game graphics.
Battle Engine Aquila is a game that has slipped onto shelves somewhat under the radar. Without coming from a major developer this game has remained fairly quiet in terms of hype, which is a shame give the scope and content of this title. With promises of large scale battles on land, sea and air it was hard to see this game coming to fruition on the Playstation 2, a console which is starting to struggle against the newest PC graphics cards. But Lost Toys have pulled off the seemingly impossible. Battle Engine Aquila has one of the most impressive large scale battle engines seen on consoles in recent times.

Battle Engine Aquila takes place in a world where a sudden climatic change triggers a global crisis and a dramatic betrayal propels an adolescent misfit from obscurity into the middle of a conflict that pits one ancient enemy against another in an epic battle for survival. The Battle Engine Aquila world consists of a series of islands that are the result of devastating climatic change brought on by centuries of atmospheric pollution. Rising water levels and floods have left only the highest ground above water. With land at a premium, tensions have built between the surviving nations, as each one tries to stake a claim to the precious dry land, increasing the landmass for their swelling populations.

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Enemy tanks ahead.
Each encounter takes place upon a vast battlefield, with war raging between two feuding sides - the Forseti and the Muspell. This is a major war, with thousands of units engaged on each side, ranging from infantry to tanks, planes, battleships and artillery. You alone must pilot the fearsome Battle Engine Aquila, a behemoth war machine and the single most destructive unit on the battlefield, capable of patrolling from the ground or attacking from the air. One-on-one you can destroy most individual enemy units, but you can't take them all out single-handed - there are too many of them!

As you can probably tell from these screenshots Battle Engine Aquila is best be described as a mech game, with moderate emphasis on flight. During the game you will pilot five different Battle Engines, each of which has it's own characteristics. It's not all plain sailing however as your Battle Engine only has flight for limited amounts of time. This means that during battles over the ocean you must be wary of how much flying power you have remaining and try to land your craft on ships and other object in the water to recharge. While this game is a mech styled battle one of the key elements is that you aren't on your own. The battles are large and your role isn't to go in guns blazing but more often then not offer support to your ground troops. It's not uncommon to see a platoon to troops bunkered down by a group of enemy tanks, take out these enemies however and your troops will progress to their objective.

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This game looks great.
The multi-player modes are also impressive and well worth spending some time in. One thing that I hope the developers consider if a sequel is ever to be made is the inclusion of online gameplay, or even i.Link support which this title dearly misses. This type of game really is screaming out for some online multi-player action with a dozen people or so. Let's hope.

There are some issues that hold Battle Engine Aquila back slightly from becoming a "must have". Perhaps the biggest of these is that while the action is supposed to be split between ground and air combat the air combat seems to not only be the most fun, but also the most destructive to the enemy. With unlimited recharges of the flight power you'll be flying around blowing everything up, landing to recharge and then taking off again. Perhaps the developers should have restricted the flight in some levels. Another minor niggle is that although you pilot five different Battle Engines throughout the game there are virtually no differences in their handling. Finally, while mentioning handling one of the major differences from this game to other Mech styled games is the inertia placed on the vehicles resulting in long stopping distances, especially while in the air. This makes judging landings on small objects, particularly over water, extremely difficult and at times, frustrating.

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The tanks look great.
Graphically there are both good and bad aspects with Battle Engine Aquila. One of the most impressive aspects is the scale of the battlefields. It's not uncommon to see dozens of tanks and soldiers running around on the ground while dozens of planes and missiles fly about in the air. As you would expect the Playstation 2 struggles a little in the frame rate, but it's a lot better then expected and certainly remains in the playable range. Another of the nice touches is that almost everything within the levels is destructible from the enemy tanks, to buildings and even the trees. The game also includes numerous cut scenes to flesh out the story and details the next mission. These cut scenes are quite simplistic by the standards set by SquareSoft and Konami. Looking at the poorer side of Battle Engine Aquila in terms of graphics some of the background textures could have been improved while the numerous craft could have also done with a little more variety.

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Actual in-game graphics.
Sound is another key aspect of this title. While there is no surround sound, as the XBox version has, the stereo sound is still very impressive. The levels are littered with radio calls from other soldiers, the explosion are intense and the gunfire superb. The music is also non-disruptive to the gameplay and sets the mood perfectly. Unfortunately the voice acting, while generally good, could have used some beefing up in spots.

It's sad to think that Battle Engine Aquila won't do as well as it should. It's an impressive game from developers Lost Toys who I hope to see a lot more from in future. If you're after an action title then Battle Engine Aquila is one of the best options available right now. It will take quite a while to complete the game and unlock everything. This game is certainly recommended.

GRAPHICSIt's not perfect, with some great - and some poor - levels and ships.
SOUNDThis games cries out for surround sound, but what's here is good.
GAMEPLAYThe momentum is a problem, but this game is addictive and quite fun.
VALUEBEA includes dozens of unlockable extras which will have you back.
OVERALLBattle Engine Aquila is a game that deserves more credit then it is going to receive. For such as small development team to pump out a game such as this is a remarkable achievement. With over 40 single player missions Battle Engine Aquila will keep you occupied. Then you can start on the multi-player mayhem. This game has to be recommended for action fans.

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