Battlestations: Pacific Preview - The Road to Hawaii

We get an early look at one of the later single-player missions in this hybrid action-strategy sequel.

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Battlestations: Pacific, the follow-up to Battlestations: Midway, ships later this month. The previous game offered hybrid action-plus-strategy gameplay in World War II's Pacific theater, including missions that were inspired by actual historical conflicts. The original game let you play as the American forces, heading out to battle as a strategic commander giving orders to your fleet of ships or squadron of fighter planes, but at any time, you could switch to direct control of any of your vehicles to dive into the action.

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The sequel will offer even more of the hybrid action-strategy gameplay from the previous game and will let you play as either an American or a Japanese admiral. Like the original game, Battlestations: Pacific will have numerous missions whose designs were inspired by actual historical skirmishes, though the sequel will also have a number of missions based on fictitious "what if?" scenarios. Please note that this story may contain minor spoilers.

Our final sneak peek at this upcoming game will focus on the Road to Hawaii. This single-player mission is based on a fictitious operation that occurs far into the Japanese campaign, 13 missions in. Road to Hawaii will find the American forces in a hurry to erect whatever defenses they can in and around the area with PT boats--and, apparently, no other combat vessels to back them up. This mission will have multiple goals for you, as the Japanese squad leader: You'll need to lock down the skies for your nation, knock out any air-to-ground and artillery emplacements, and assist the ground invasion on the main American base from the skies. Fortunately, by this point in the campaign, you'll likely have access to at least one of the game's unlockable Japanese fighters, such as the infamously fast Zero or the powerful experimental Shinden fighter, whose 30mm guns make it a powerful strafing ship and the single most damaging fighter plane in the game.

As it happens, your best course of action will probably be to tear down enemy artillery and antiair guns to prevent as much damage as possible to your own fighter squadron. The mission will also have an optional objective of hunting down and destroying a hidden listening post, which, if located, will increase your score.

This fictitious mission will offer one of many battles you can fight on the side of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
This fictitious mission will offer one of many battles you can fight on the side of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

However, once your squadron has secured the islands (about halfway through the mission), US forces will mount a counteroffensive. Squadrons of unreported US aircraft will enter the area, including C-47 personnel carriers full of paratroopers and armed escort fighters. In addition, enemy torpedo ships will attack your carrier, crippling it in the water and leaving you without reinforcement. At this point, you'll need to resort to what the developer refers to as "actions [players] never had to take before to stop and force the enemy back"--a kamikaze run.

Battlestations: Pacific is scheduled for release on May 12 for the PC and the Xbox 360.

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