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Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: Intel @ 1800 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 4300 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 128 MB VRAM

Battlestations: Midway
October 6, 2008 | Jacob Beaton

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Gameplay: Learning the Basics in Single Player
The story line of Walker's rise through the ranks serves to gently introduce the player to the gameplay. In essence, the single player is one long tutorial that just prepares you for multiplayer and the in-game "challenges." For example, in one level you must simply navigate a ship through an enemy-controlled island group, then in the next level you control two ships, then three ships, and so on. A key part of the gameplay is your map. Once you get past the first level, you'll need to use it to first plot your course and later on to issue orders to computer-controlled units.

You can directly control only one unit at a time in the game, meaning you leave the other units under computer AI control. When you issue orders to units on your map, they will attempt to carry them out, until you take control of them. You can order units to join up, follow each other, attack enemy units, and move somewhere or move in a path using waypoints. The key to winning the game is to properly micro-manage each unit at the right critical moment. Often you will need to take control of a torpedo bomber as it approaches its' target, or a sub as it gets close to its' target, or a ship as it engages in a critical battle. The AI does a fine job on it's own, but it just isn't smart. It is predictable and methodical, and you can easily beat a computer controlled opponent with deft maneuvering and (in the case of ships) quick damage control.

You'll quickly learn how to lead your targets (with bombs and guns), and you'll also learn how to "bracket" your targets with torpedoes so that they can't escape. How you individually control each type of unit becomes the most important aspect of the game.

The controls are very basic, and hard-core flying or ship simulator fans will be disappointed. It is obvious that this game has its roots in the console gaming world, as the controls for each unit are very basic and the weapons almost aim themselves. Each unit has throttle and directional controls and the mouse either steers you (airplanes) or lets you look around (ships). The shift key changes weapons by default, and whatever weapon you are NOT controlling, the AI controls and fires for you (with the exception of bombs and torpedoes). There is also a critically important damage control screen for ships, and hanger control on aircraft carriers, air fields, and shipyards. The upside to the simple controls are an easy learning curve and a broad appeal. This is a game that almost any gamer could play and enjoy.

If you have a joystick or a gamepad you'll definitely want to use it, especially when flying planes. I found the flight of planes frustrating with the mouse since you have to continually move the mouse to keep your plane moving in any direction, making tight turns impossible. The game supports gamepads, so if you have one, use it.

The single-player game is designed such that you cannot win without directly controlling units for the whole game. One of the biggest criticisms of this game is that it relies too much on micro-management, and you may find yourself spending more time switching between your ships adjusting the damage-control crews and dodging torpedos than you do shooting at stuff. This is called "doing the octopus" as you wish that you had eight arms to control all the units you need to control. If you find yourself getting frustrated by the pressure and multi-tasking of the single player play, then maybe it is time to try out multiplayer.


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