Product Type: Activision PC games
Newest Review: ... very bad things. If you've played the previous game then you'll know what to expect - plenty of resource collecting, unit manufacturing,... more
A sequel to the remake of a retro-game. Confused?
Battlezone 2 (PC)
Member Name: Hannard
Battlezone 2 (PC)
Advantages: It's a lot of fun to play. The story's pretty good.
Disadvantages: It forces you go to through a tutorial each time.
Ah, there's nothing like retro-gaming. And indeed, Battlezone 2 is nothing like retro-gaming - it isn't, as you may think, the sequel to Battlezone, the vector based tank shoot-em-up that caused a storm in arcades many moons ago. It is instead the sequel to the GDR Gold Award-winning Battlezone, a 3D real time strategy game from 1998 that inherited the name but very little else from the aforementioned vector based tank game. Understand? Didn't think so - but all you really need to know is that Battlezone 2 improves on a game that was already pretty spiffy in the first place. In fact, it's one of the few sequels that actually is worth buying if you've got the original. Unsurprisingly, this sequel, like its predecessor, pits you against an 'evil' enemy with aspirations of world domination. The twist is that the two warring factions in the original game, the Americans and Russians, have put aside their differences and formed a single space confederation and are now faced with the prospect of taking on the Scions, an alien race who have reared their xenomorphic heads and who are intent on doing very bad things.
If you've played the previous game then you'll know what to expect - plenty of resource collecting, unit manufacturing, building, er, buildings, all with the ultimate aim of seeing off the Scions. This time around, you have more unit types at your disposal, including the turbo charged and heavily armed (but rather rubbish at close range) Mortar Bikes and the fast and powerful and better at close range Missile Scouts, amongst others. Chances are you'll stick to using tanks, rocket tanks and scouts a lot of the time, but it's a big boon to have the choice of extra units for those special alien bottom-kicking situations.
Another boon is the fact that whereas in the original Battlezone the total number of units you could have at any one time was quite limited, in Battlezone 2 you can have a far larger number of tanks and things at your disposal which proves more practical when you're up against a large number of enemy ships. Having said that actually getting your ships to follow a certain path to a target is a bit touch and go. But this does actually work out as plus, as it means you have to get down and dirty with the enemy yourself - the game is a lot more tense than the likes of Command and Conquer since there is a real risk of your character getting killed, which ends the game instantly. Hence playing Battlezone 2 can be a real edge of your seat experience.
Another thing is that that you don't get to command units and build things right away - and as he rightly says, this is a good way of easing new players into the game. Unfortunately, experienced players might be a little put out by this, wanting to command and build their own force. It would have been preferable if there were two campaigns - a small tutorial campaign, and a second larger one where you were given a command position from the word go instead of starting the game in 3D shoot-em-up mode, as you do. The missions themselves are quite varied - and have you engaging in more offensive action than you had to in the original Battlezone.
The plot, while not exactly being the primary focus of the game, is also pretty good and features recognizable characters including a by-the-book commanding officer, a slightly shifty Major, and a General torn between protecting his troops and following orders. There are also a fair few plot twists, which do provide a real incentive to continue playing the game. The game's continuing appeal is also boosted by the fact that you're introduced to new units and baddies with each level so you never reach the point where you feel you've seen it all, something that has crippled a few real-time strategy games in the past. Throw in a few sub-missions including one where you end up making your way back to your base on foot and you've got a game that is rather addictive indeed.
As sequels go, Battlezone 2 is a real winner - loathe as I am to admit that any sequel could better its predecessor (an axiom that applies as much to the games market as it does to the movie industry), Pandemic have done a quality job with BZ2. While it isn't radically different to the original game, Pandemic have fixed pretty much all of the things that were wrong first time around, while losing none of the playability of the original. Even if you played Battlezone to death, there's enough in the sequel - more units, an improved unit count, a new plot, more varied missions - to make it worth buying. If you haven't yet played Battlezone and like both real time strategy and a bit of blasting then Battlezone 2 is well worth a look.
Summary: A pretty good action/RTS game especially if you get it on budget.