Battalion Wars II, or BWii (see what they did there?) is the sequel to the GameCube entry to Nintendoâ€™s â€śWarâ€ť series. Although thematically itâ€™s family with Advance Wars (and Famicom Wars before it), the game has much more in common with real-time strategy games like Command and Conquer.
BWii sees players taking control of a small battalion of various units and directing them through generally linear levels and completing various goals in order to achieve victory. Players can assume any one of the vehicles in their battalion and control them directly, while also issuing orders to the remaining units.
Itâ€™s a simple affair, but one that works well because of the Wii controller. In fact, after Metroid Prime 3, BWii is probably one of the best uses of the Wii remote. Not only does the Wii remote allow for accurate aiming and selection of vehicles, but it also allows for a variety of context-sensitive moves.
For example, rotating the nunchuck will cause infantry units to dodge in that direction, whereas tilting the Wii remote when controlling airborne units will cause units to pitch and turn accordingly.
Additionally, issuing orders and changing units is seamless. Players merely need to select a unit type, aim the crosshair at the desired enemy or friendly and press the A button to issue attack or defend orders. Ultimately, it means that despite the chaotic real-time nature, players always feel in control and defeat is always due to poor planning and a lack of patience.
In terms of presentation, the game excels. Although at times the game is slightly racist â€“ there is every stereotype under the sun here â€“ it has plenty of personality and charm. The graphics are colourful and cute; there is voice acting and CGI cinematics; and there is some excellent music that really creates a sense of atmosphere.
Thereâ€™s not much to the single-player campaign, and decent players could probably blow through the entire affair in a weekend. Fortunately, BWii also offers a complex online mode. Yes, the obnoxious friend codes are present and youâ€™ll need to know someone with the game to play the co-op modes, but itâ€™s still a step in the right direction for Wii games.
BWii is, in a sense, a weird beast. Its presentation is some of the best on the Wii and will silence those who feel that Nintendo doesn't know modern production values. However, at the same time the gameplay remains the simple and accessible stuff that has sold the console to the masses. If Call of Duty 4 was your game of the year for last year, you might not find what you are looking for in BWii. However, if youâ€™re one of the increasing number of people who finds that the Wii and its titles tickle your fancy, BWii is probably one of the best titles on the platform.