Pacific Storm: Allies First Look
This stand-alone follow-up to last year's World War II strategy game Pacific Storm adds a number of new features.
With Pacific Storm last year, CDV and developer Lesta Studios delivered an ambitious take on World War II. Pacific Storm combined turn-based strategic gameplay with real-time battles, basically giving you control over everything from industrial and research policy (you could even work your way up to the atomic bomb and beyond) to being able to jump into the deck gun of a battleship and try to shoot down enemy fighters. With Pacific Storm: Allies, Lesta is looking to flesh out the strategic game a bit more with new features.
Pacific Storm: Allies isn't so much a full sequel as it is a stand-alone expansion. It will have everything in Pacific Storm, along with new content, such as a new diplomatic feature that will let you form alliances, new buildings, a veteran system for units, hit locations during battles, and more. The game will also include the Royal Navy as a playable faction, and there are both historical and not-so-historical scenarios in the box. An example of the former would be the battle where the battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk by Japanese aircraft early in the war, while an example of the latter transplants the famous battle between HMS Hood and the German battleship Bismarck to Pacific waters.
The game still has multiple modes, including historical campaigns, tactical missions, and a completely open strategic game that lets you rewrite the history of the war. The strategic game still gives you an incredible amount of control. The map of the theater of war is divided into sectors, where important ports are represented on the map. When you click on a port, you're given the ability to sort through fleet formations, supplies, personnel, and more. Other screens give you access to national production, so you can decide what units to build, as well as to research efforts. As you play through the campaign, you unlock technologies that let you build new types of units, such as jet fighters, as well as upgrades that you can incorporate on your ships, such as improved radar. The campaigns let you play as either Japan, the United States, or Great Britain, though the latter campaign is set among Great Britain's Pacific colonies rather than its home islands in the Atlantic.
Whenever two opposing fleets encounter one another, the game drops into its real-time mode, which is a blend of simulation and action. You have control of naval units much like in a standard real-time strategy game, where you click on them and then click where you want them to go or which enemy to fire upon. There's also a way to automate units so they react on their own accord. The action takes place at fairly realistic speeds, so battles aren't high-speed affairs. Instead, it's all about the slow ballet of ships maneuvering either to dodge incoming fire and torpedoes or to get in position to unleash their guns on the enemy. Aircraft are fully modeled, along with carriers, and they play a pivotal role in the battle, which is key since World War II marked the death knell of the battleship. Hit location and damage control are now in the game, so you can try to knock out various components of an enemy's hull.
As in the previous game, you can jump into the action directly by manning deck guns aboard ship or by controlling a fighter plane, though much of the gameplay in Pacific Storm is geared toward strategy fans who like managing large amounts of data. Lesta learned some lessons from its previous game, and it looks Pacific Storm: Allies addresses them. The game will ship next year.