Master & Commander

Take command of ships from the Pacific Fleet after Pearl Harbor and take on the mighty Japanese forces in the semi-epic Battlestations: Midway from Eidos. Featuring stunning graphics, well-handling gameplay, excellent audio, throw in a pretty enjoyable game, and you are good to go.

In Battlestations you start out as a lowly lieutenant controlling a small PT boat, but after fighting valiantly in the first mission at Pearl Harbor you get bumped up and rise ultimately to control fleets with several carriers and numerous moving parts.

To help you learn how to control all those moving parts, the game features an extensive and mostly helpful tutorial section. While you can play the game right away without going through any of them, the tutorials are extremely beneficial. Unfortunately, they are also long and pretty boring, the voiceovers speak really slowly and there is no fast-forwarding any part of them. That said, finish them and you will be able to take on anything the Japanese fleet could throw at you.

Every mission has several different units available for your control. With a simple interface you can easily switch between them to be a part of the battle yourself, or you can command everything from the map; launch some dive bombers from your carrier, send in a destroyer to take out that pesky submarine, send some fighters to strafe the AA units on shore all to achieve your goals and push the Japanese back.

There are only ten missions unfortunately, and just as you feel like you are truly mastering the game you run out of missions-although Eidos has already launched another mission available through X-Box Live for points. However, there are also missions where you get a chance to specifically master your flying abilities, ship commanding abilities and submarine command. Each type of unit has several of it's own missions that help extend the gameplay somewhat. As well, there are plenty of online opportunities where you can join up with fellow commanders around the globe on X-Box Live and play together or go head-to-head.

Graphically the detail is extraordinary; from water splashing onto the screen from a nearby artillery shell exploding in the water, to being a submarine and watching a ship sink in front of you, no detail has been spared. The sound effects also are phenomenal, each unit has it's own sounds and the quality of the whole game is really excellent.

When it comes down to it, Battlestations: Midway is a pretty enjoyable game. While there are not a ton of missions, if you are a perfectionist there are lots of opportunities to earn medals (and achievement points) going back and redoing the various missions. As you play the game it keeps you entertained and involved, the graphics are awesome, the sound effects thumping and the gameplay is enjoyable.

Gameplay: 8.3
Graphics: 9.0
Sound: 9.0
Overall: 8.4
Learning Curve: About a half-hour

Battlestations: Midway is available exclusively for the X-Box 360

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