" There's no real dog fighting, no strategy, and no way to really capitalize on the physics of space combat or on the advantages your ship may have over your opponents. "
Title: Battlestar Galactica by Vivendi Universal
Format: Xbox flying shooter
Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo
The Hype: Battlestar Galactica, the campy little sci-fi show that was unquestionably a product of 70's culture, has become the show that wouldn't die. Throughout the years it would rear its head from time to time, in comics, in fandom, in rumors of movies and revivals, but it wasn't until last year that official word came down that, yes, the series would be revived and would live again. First in the form of a two-episode mini-series (which was obviously a pilot-in-strategy) and this new console shooter. But will it be a fresh new vision or the last breath of a zombie not smart enough to know it's dead? Read on, my monkeys…read on.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: There is no doubt about it, Battlestar Galactica (BG) is pretty and had the bulk of its programming time put into making the game look sharp. Lasers and explosions are bright and vibrant, backgrounds are often lush and often border on stunning, and the ship models are pleasantly detailed. All that's good. What's not good, and what too often plagues these 3rd person shooters (you have a constant back view of your ship's tailpipe) is that you never get to enjoy any of it. Between the distance between you and your own ship and the incredible speed at which the rest of the game flies by you, you'll never get more than a cursory glimpse at all that hard work. It would have definitely benefited from either a modified rear view so you could actually see your fighter or a simulator/cockpit view. 3.75 out of 5
Playability: When we first saw this at
E3 there was hope that it might retain some simulator elements. It was never
billed as such, but there was a lot of talk about "could be's". When it finally
shipped it was made clear that BG would be little more than a leveling shooter,
but I was still optimistic. After all, there have been many great games that
were light on playable depth (Activision's "Star Trek: Invasion" or Lucas' "X-Wing"
for example) and this could certainly have been one of them. I say "could" because,
as you may guess, it's not. Hardly more than an incessant fire-button-mashing
fest, BG manages to include a ridiculous amount of action with almost no satisfaction.
During the course of an average mission you will rack up hundreds of kills and wreak havoc on the Cylon armada, but in truth this is done through little more than mindless "hold on missile lock button" or "point reticule at computer generated lead point and pull the trigger". There's no real dog fighting, no strategy, and no way to really capitalize on the physics of space combat or on the advantages your ship may have over your opponents. It is pure and simply mindless and, in the end, no matter how hard they try with mission diversity or AI modifications Battlestar Galactica just can't get past that basic fact. Not only is it not much fun to play but its mindless to the point of qualifying as little more than a level treadmill. 2 out of 5
Story and Drama: It has always, and will always, confound me how a game can be based on a TV show or book, in which story is theoretically vital, and then deliver nil on the story. Based some years before the 70's show, the game gives you a brief glimpse of Adama's life but only delivers a story in so much that it takes you from mission to mission. Thoroughly uninspired. 2.5 out of 5
Multiplayer and Replayability: Though there is a relatively interesting ranking system that allows you to unlock a ton of extras (concept art, clips, etc.), the lack of multiplayer, lackluster playstyle, and only moderate quality of the unlockables probably means you won't give it much of a second thought. 3 out of 5
|In the end, it's not that Battlestar Galactica is a bad game, only a wholly unremarkable one. And while it definitely has some high points they are unfortunately marred by equally contrasting mediocrity.|
The Good: Pretty and with lots of unlockables.
The Bad: A soundly boring game with little long-term appeal.
The Overall Ugly: Rent it after you've watched the mini-series because you'll be aching for a fix, but don't buy it.
What it's Worth: Rental