Few may know thatBattalion Wars was actually the 3D installment of the Advance Wars series (having originally been given the working title Advance Wars:Under Firefor over a year until its eventual name change), but the spirit of the franchise was shifted into a more real-time, action-oriented strategy title than a turn-based strategy game. Battalion Wars 2 picks up right where the GameCube predecessor left off, throwing players back into the familiar role of commanding troops of the Western Frontier.
BWii allows players to take control of a wide variety of armed forces, varying from different infantry units, mobile tank units, aerial units, and newly added for this installment, naval units. As their commander, players can take the role of any of the forces to effectively coordinate military operations to accomplish the primary objectives of each level. The game is broken up into several chapters, each revolving around one nation and contains several individual stages.
The stages include objectives such as simply clearing out all opposition forces, to capturing the enemy's base, to protecting allied units. Players can issue commands with a wide array of control in order to micro and macro manage the battlefield forces. A single soldier can be ordered to attack a target, guard a base, capturean enemy base, follow a leader or hold their position. From there, players can issue orders to other units, with as much control as having every single individual unit doing its own thing, commanding groups to multi-task, or having all your forces go all out together.
Controls aren't as natural as on the GameCube, and the Wii Remote's aiming is rather moot since manual aiming never accomplishes anything, and the majority of the game is controlled through locking onto targets and issuing commands. Other than this minor flaw, the controls still work well, though players looking to master the art of controlling any piece of their forces with effectiveness will need to be patient with that learning curve.
Sadly, though, many of the missions can be brute-forced through, or take very little strategy in the way of requiring one to really dig deep into issuing specific orders to each individual soldier or mobile unit. Instead, the most many will find themselves in need of controlling are the four or five different units, and making sure the right group is at the front of the line to take the brunt of the attack. There still is a decent amount of strategy required on some stages, but with no difficulty setting, the default mode is pretty forgiving to anyone with a less-than-optimal strategy.
Battalion Wars 2 is a title that looks like a higher end GCN title, so the graphics definitely are a step above the rest, though not necessarily the best out there by any means. The art style is still the same cartoony feel, which to some may cheapen the feel, though in our opinion it suits the style of the game which never strives for photorealistic warfare, but a rather light-hearted, yet competitive nature. Fans of the original will recognize several familiar tunes, though most of them are revamped a bit, and new tunes are apparent from the get-go during the initial Anglo Island missions, a new nation addition to the series.
The WiFi battle mode pits two players against each other in a timed match to see who gets the highest score, or pits one on the defensive and one on the offensive in a battle royale, or provides a cooperative mode in which you must team up to take down a tough computer opponent. The only problem is with very little marketing and hype, the title probably isn't reaching many Wiis, so good luck finding opponents/teammates, let alone skilled ones that provide any real depth.
Though the gameplay is very solid and the rest of the package is there, the game just is way too short - much shorter than its GCN predecessor. There are bonus missions and obtaining the highest ranking on each mission, but these become quite tedious to unlock and obtain. The story, which may provide some intrigue, is pretty shallow and relatively uninteresting. Still, the title is enjoyable and provides a good action experience, which can be played in large chunks or in small doses and still satisfy.
Final Verdict - 8/10
Wii controls do nothing to improve the game, but it's still classic Battalion Wars gameplay. A bit more depth in the strategy department, but overall the game is a bit easier and shorter than the original. Visuals and sound are pretty top notch, and the WiFi mode is really enjoyable if you can find somebody to play.