Hands-on: Battlestar Galactica

We check out Warthog's upcoming space shooter based on the classic sci-fi series.

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We had the chance to check out the Xbox version of Battlestar Galactica at the recent Vivendi Universal pre-E3 event. The game is set 40 years before the sci-fi series and focuses on space combat. Warthog, the development team behind Starlancer and Colony Wars, is handling the game's development, and it appears to be making the most of its expertise in the genre.

You'll assume the role of ensign Adama, long before he took command of the Battlestar Galactica, as the war with the mechanical cylons rages. The young pilot is assigned to the Galactica and is thrown into the war at the start of the game as a cylon ambush requires the Galactica's intervention. The game will unfold via the standard mission-based structure that Warthog has been perfecting over the years, and the storyline will feature a strong narrative. Missions will range from typical attack and escort sorties to defense of the Galactica itself. You'll be able to fly several craft over the course of the game, including the colonial viper.

The gameplay should be familiar to anyone who's played Warthog's previous games. You'll find a simple control scheme that will let you speed up, slow down, and fire weapons quickly--interestingly, your ship's missiles can be customized on the fly to help you adapt to new combat situations. The game will offer three camera options, including a first-person view that puts you a little closer to the action.

The game's impressive graphics faithfully re-create the hectic space battles seen in the series and feature a host of visual effects like lens flares and particle effects. Fans of the series will notice subtle differences in the colonial vipers and cylon raiders, which feature minute design differences due to the game's setting.

From what we've seen so far, Battlestar Galactica seems to fall in line with Warthog's previous efforts. Battlestar Galactica is currently slated to ship this fall for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

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