Battlezone: Combat Commander is a remaster of cult classic Battlezone 2. A PC title released in 1999 and now getting a remaster in 2018 developed by Big Boat Interactive and published by Rebellion. The game is a First Person Shooter with a mix with Real Time Strategy. Personally, I’d never played Battlezone 2 and as such, I’m reviewing the game as if it was a new game today.
Release date: March 2, 2018
Approximate Size: 7.32 GB
Genre: First Person Shooter, RTS
Developed by: Big Boat Interactive
Published by: Rebellion
Reviewed On PC
Battlezone: Combat Commander is set in a far out solar system in which Russians and Americans join forces to fight an alien race. That’s it really, you continue to fight this alien race until you get one of two endings. However, the way the story is presented is horrible. The remaster didn’t include the videos which means you are put through some honestly bad cut-scenes in which the game dumps again, some horrible dialogue on the player. After the first 3 missions, I gave up on following the story and ended up skipping exposition dumps as the way the voice actors tell the story is monotone and a chore on the players ears.
However, I’d heard that the story wasn’t the drawing point of this series so, I decided to just focus on the gameplay. So, how was the gameplay?
The gameplay of Battlezone involves the player piloting varieties of space tanks, but also being able to hop out and have some typical first person shooting whilst later on, involving the RTS aspects. This all felt very messy and dated. The vehicle controls feel like your constantly running on ice. Along with this, the gun play has no impact, no power behind it. Shooting a vehicle with rockets should feel like you’re annihilating the opposition, but it doesn’t. It feels the same as if you were shooting the enemy with your mini-gun except the rockets do more damage to the enemies health. The game does have vehicle variety but are honestly all pretty similar to play just changing in new weapons and how quickly they move.
The gameplay only gets worse outside your vehicle. The first person shooting is some of the worst I’ve played. The gun play is bad and really kinda pointless, I honestly don’t know why it was a feature. The RTS is the gameplays only real strong suit. It feels pretty solid to use and play, even though it isn’t explained very well. However, that’s 1 out of 3 aspects of this gameplay that is solid, meaning the rest is a bore and really made me struggle wanting to even play the game.
Yes, the game has multiplayer and was actually the more enjoyable aspect of the game. The vehicle controls still feel wonky, but just the aspect of playing with and against other players made the game pretty enjoyable for short periods of time. However, the multiplayer community is quite small, making it difficult at times to find a game and the games I found had pretty consistent lag spikes. But, get a group of mates and this mode can be a good time, no question.
This is the aspect of a remaster you should notice right off the bat and I’m sure fans of this series would be able to pick out the differences. I just couldn’t. The game feels like I’m back in 1999. It is not a good looking game. From the environments feeling bland, especially in the beginning. The vehicle models looking blocky, the first person shooting looks atrocious. I actually had no idea this was a remastered game when I loaded the game up. I needed to look the game up to find out this was a remaster.
I had to be told, the game has been remastered. I just don’t see it though. The game feels dated and only released a bit over a week ago. Again though, if you’re a fan of the original game, maybe you can see the visual differences, but for a “remaster” it looks like they just upgraded to HD.
The sound effects are yet again, dated. You never feel like you’re shooting a mini-gun or a rocket because the noise to accompany the shooting is dull. Yes, I get it, we’re in space. But, don’t just cop out let me feel like my guns are doing something. If you won’t do it in gameplay, you have to do it with sound effects. The score is serviceable but nothing memorable and overall, like the rest of the experience, the sound is nothing special.
Battlezone: Combat Commander is a remaster, no one really asked for other than the fans. That’s what this game is. It’s a remaster for the fans that already existed. However, for anyone else? I don’t see the appeal to check the game out. From a honestly poor story, from presentation to execution; to just awkward gameplay in the single player, however tolerable in the multiplayer. The sound effects and graphics making the game feel like a game released in 1999. It isn’t an experience you should rush out and try. Especially if you have no connection to the series.