Battlestar Galactica - Review
I'll have to admit it and confirm that I never really watched Battlestar Galactica on TV as a youngster, however I did catch a few episodes on TV during my teenage years. They were good, but to me, not in the same league as Star Trek. What I am a fan of, however, are space combat games and, unsurprisingly, Battlestar Galactica fits into that category perfectly. Developers Warthog have some experience in the genre having developed Starlancer on Dreamcast which is still regarded as a very impressive space shooter.
|A rather boring planet.|
Despite the original series being made in 1978, over 25 years ago now, Vivendi believe the TV show can be turned into a new gaming franchise. Then again the inspiration may have come from the new TV series which started in late 2003 in America, but is yet to be seen here in Australia. In case you are unaware Battlestar Galactica is a space based combat game, in the vein of the classic Wing Commander titles on PC. Fortunately Battlestar Galactica involves a lot more game, and a lot less cinematic boredom then those Origin titles - although there is perhaps too little cinematics in this game - more on that later.
It is the end of the sixth millennium in the era of the Cylon Wars. The mechanical Cylons, who were once created as android slaves, revolted against the Humans and were exiled into the stars. Ten years ago they returned... The skies over Caprica turned black with Cylon Raiders whose single plan was to wipe out the Human race. For ten years the Colonial survivors have fought a vicious war against the evil mechanical empire. During the game you play 21-year old Adama, a newly commissioned pilot, who develops into an elite pilot as the game progresses.
Essentially this game is a space combat title, but one which will require some quick thinking and deft moves to proceed. Warthog have created a game that isn't just about hitting the fire button and destroying anything that moves. No - you'll have to be selective with the targets to ensure the ones that are likely to cause the most damage will be destroyed first. The space craft requires you to manage its facilities. Enable some options (including weapons, navigation etc), and others will be reduced while the ship has limited amounts of energy (which gets replenished when you're not doing anything). The weapons include lasers which change in power according to how long you hold down the button, missiles, which, if you hold down the fire button, will lock on to several enemies at once. Other special features in the game include the 180° turn so you can flip around to attack enemies that were chasing you down. Also impressive is the ability to lock onto and rotate the camera to the primary target ensuring you can always see where it is.
|Nice visual effects there.|
One thing to mention is the AI of the enemies. It's not easy to shake them off when they get on your tail and they certainly know what their main objectives are. They won't deviate from attacking one of your main ships to attack you. Wingmen are also used in the game and can be unlocked after completing various missions. These wingmen are also very well computer controlled, another positive to the AI engine that Warthog have created. The wingmen are also in short supply so losing one can have a dramatic impact on the missions being played through.
|Damn that's a lot of ships.|
Sadly there is one component missing to this game that could have elevated it from good to great, online gameplay. Imagine an online space battle with 16 players in it... Sadly, it's not available. Hell, the developers haven't even included 2-player split screen support and while the graphics may have had to take a hit this is a game dying for multi-player action. I also feel that the game is a little on the tough side. I don't mind tough games, and you must use tactics well to progress, but novice gamers will likely struggle to complete this game.
As you can see in the surrounding screenshots the graphic engine in Battlestar Galactica is very good. The visual effects such as lens flares, explosions, particles and jet trails are very impressive while the game rarely slows down even with dozens of enemy ships on screen at once. I only wish there were some more cut scenes to flesh out the story a little more.
|Check out the awesome graphics.|
Sound in this game is one of the weaker aspects. While the music is taken pretty much from the TV series (the theme music anyway), the voices and effects leave a little to be desired. The explosions are nice enough and the space ships retain the sounds from the TV series but it's not quite top quality. The worst aspect are the voices which don't quite sound ermmm.. battle hardened enough.
Overall, Battlestar Galactica is a game that stands out from the crowd on consoles, not only because space combat games are rare, but also because of the games overall quality. This game requires some tactics, and quite some skill to complete. Recommended for space combat fans.
Review By: David Warner
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|GRAPHICS||The space ships look nice, impressive effects, needs more cut scenes.||80%|
|SOUND||The voices are a little weak, effects are adequate, music is solid.||71%|
|GAMEPLAY||Probably one of the best space shooters on consoles to date.||85%|
|VALUE||Perfectly suited to multiplayer which isn't there. Plenty to unlock.||65%|
|OVERALL||Battlestar Galactia may have been the perfect game if there were online options, but there aren't. Overall though this is a solid space shooter title and one well worth considering.||77%|