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Pacific Storm Review





AVCGstone
i saw mainly the 3D battles during the event, but I've told that the strategic layer of the game will cover the breadth of the entire war. In addition to featuring historical scenarios such as the Battle of Midway, the game's campaign will let you play as either the US or Japan for control of the Pacific. The game will have a focus on research, so you'll be able to unlock more-powerful ships and weapons throughout the war, including the atomic bomb. The game ends if the US gets the bomb and uses it or if the Japanese seize and hold San Diego.

The 3D battle mode will give you command of battleships, destroyers, carriers, aircraft, and more as you attempt to send your opponents to Davy Jones's locker. The camera will let you zoom around the 3D landscape and seascape: You can rotate around and zoom in to see the action up close or zoom out to get the big picture. Controlling units is as simple as clicking on them and giving them a move or attack order by right-clicking somewhere on the battlefield. Or, you can give more-specific orders, such as telling carriers to scramble a certain number of planes or ordering Japanese fighter pilots to "kamikaze" (ram their planes) into specific targets. There's also a button on the interface that gives a unit a fair amount of autonomy, and it will employ appropriate tactics without any input from you.

I saw only a couple of sequences: We watched a Japanese battleship shell American positions on a remote Pacific island, and we watched a Japanese task force gutting a couple of incoming American destroyers. If you get bored with watching, the game features a crutch for action fans. You can take direct control of various units so you can do the shooting yourself. If you click on a fighter, you can jump into the cockpit (or behind it from a third-person view) and strafe enemy ships and positions. This is by no means a realistic simulator, so you don't have to worry too much about stalls, yaw, or pitch--or the laws of aerodynamics, for that matter. Take control of a ship, and you can cycle through its antiaircraft turrets, which lets you take out incoming planes or plaster a nearby vessel. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to take direct control of the big guns on the battleships, so hopefully that will be added, though as we've seen, even aircraft carriers bear mounted guns at different positions on their hulls, which can be manually used as stationary first-person shooter turrets to harry incoming fighter planes.

Pacific Storm is an interesting take on the World War II genre, especially considering that there aren't many naval combat games these days. Still, don't let the subject matter daunt you. This doesn't look to be a gritty or realistic simulation but rather an accessible strategy game with arcade-style action included as a bonus. Pacific Storm is scheduled to ship this summer
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