Battle Group 2
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 9

Although you don’t have direct control over your battleship, blasting enemy ships and aircraft is still an addictive experience. There are multiple battleships and support ships to unlock as well as upgrades, which along with the ratings for each level gives the game plenty of replay value. There is a bit of grinding involved to purchase the best equipment, but the game remains fun throughout and if the developers support the game like they promise to do it is only going to get better.

Gameplay: An action packed experience despite the simple controls.

Graphics: Detailed ship and aircraft designs, but fairly bland backgrounds.

Sound: Decent voice acting and a very fitting soundtrack

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Battle Group 2

Developer: Bane Games | Publisher: Merge Games | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Indie / Strategy | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

There is a new enemy in town and they are calling themselves The Talon. Since they are equipped with some serious military hardware and making a nuisance along vital trade routes you are sent in to take them down. While your naval fleet might lack the overwhelming numbers of the enemies your warships pack the necessary firepower to turn the tide.

Battle Group 2 is a single player only title where you are handed the controls of the primary weapons on a battleship. You cannot steer the ship directly, so while it is sailing in a mostly straight line you have to protect it against the enemies that come swarming in from all sides. Destroying the enemy yields oil, which is the currency of the game. Oil is used to unlock new primary ships as well as support ships that provide you with more firepower.  Each of the ships can also be upgraded to improve their shielding and weapons, but once again this requires oil. In total there are four primary ships and four support ships, although you can only command one of each at a time. The campaign takes you across 31 arctic, jungle and industrial themed levels as you lock horns with an enemy commander who looks suspiciously like Cobra Commander from the G.I Joe franchise.

As you only have control over the weapons on your ships you might think this makes the game too easy, but don’t worry as things can get pretty challenging. You have to click the spot on the screen where you want to fire your weapons, but remember that enemies are constantly moving and your bullets or missiles take a while to reach the point you indicated, so you have to adjust your aim accordingly. You can’t just spray bullets or missiles everywhere in the hopes of hitting something as it takes time to reload, which leaves you defenseless. Accuracy is rewarded in the form of a streak bonus which climbs for each successful hit without a miss in between. The initial ship, which fires slow moving missiles that have a relatively small explosion range almost makes the game feel like a modern take on the classic Missile Commander, but later ships pack much more effective armaments.

Support ships sail alongside your primary ship and each of them have their own special ability. They don’t contribute directly to the fight, but launch a special attack when instructed. These attacks range from artillery fire and missile decoy flares to launching Lynx Helicopters or Harrier Jump Jets. These special attacks only last a short time and take a while to recharge, so you have to decide when it is most effective to use them. If your support ship is sunk you can still continue with your primary ship and finish a mission, but lose that and you fail.

Apart from the support ship you can also call in satellite strikes to turn the tables on your enemies. These special attacks range from blasting all missiles out of the sky with EMPS, instantly reloading all weapons and abilities or even slowing down time for a few seconds. Satellite strikes do no recharge and instead you have to spend valuable oil buying them between levels.

Since this is a naval themed game the visuals mostly involve lots of water, but at least it is nice looking water. Occasionally you will see islands and bits of land with buildings that you can blow up. Some levels also take place at night, which displays everything as it would be seen through a pair of night vision goggles. The ships and enemies are a different matter and look extremely detailed. According to the developers, all the craft in the game are modelled after real-world blueprints which explains why they look so good. The boss encounters are a little underwhelming though, and it would have been nice to see a bit more imagination for them.

It only took me a couple of hours to complete the game, but as levels feature procedurally generated content, such as the enemy formations, there is some replay value. There are also 34 achievements to aim for and the game supports Steam trading cards. The developers have also promised future content updates to add unlockable fleet captains with unique abilities, an extended story mode and new enemy leaders to face. If they implement these features I will definitely be taking another look at the game.

Battle Group 2 is played entirely with a mouse and the simple controls means that it is accessible to anyone. Inexperienced players can focus on simply completing each mission while the hardcore crowd can use streaks to their advantage in order to ace each level. The audio is quite good and apart from some nice tunes and solid sound effects the voice acting is also surprisingly well done.

As I wasn’t familiar with the original Battle Group I wasn’t sure what to expect when Battle Group 2 landed in my inbox. However, installing the game to see what it was all about resulted in a four hour playing session where I not only finished the campaign, but completed most missions multiple times to earn better rankings. Suffice to say that I was quite impressed by the game and can heartily recommend it to anyone looking for an action packed, naval themed experience that doesn’t require you to spend hours learning how to play.

*Review originally published June 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz or equivalent processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 500 MB Video RAM and at least Shader Model 2.0
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 900 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Windows compatible sound card
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
  • Processor: Intel Only
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 500 MB Video RAM and at least Shader Model 2.0
  • Hard Drive: 900 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Any
  • S: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz or equivalent processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 500 MB Video RAM and at least Shader Model 2.0
  • Hard Drive: 900 MB available space

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