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. A bit of grinding is involved to purchase the best equipment, but the game remains fun throughout.

Gameplay: The game is an action-packed experience despite the simple controls.

Graphics: Battle Group 2 features detailed ship and aircraft designs but somewhat bland backgrounds.

Sound: Players can expect 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 serious military hardware and are making a nuisance along vital trade routes, you are sent to take them down. While your naval fleet might lack the overwhelming numbers of your 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 enemies swarming in from all sides. Destroying the enemy yields oil, which is the currency of the game. Oil unlocks new primary ships and supports ships that provide you with more firepower. Players can upgrade each vessel 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 with 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, each with a unique 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 continue with your primary ship and finish a mission, but if you lose that, 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 not recharge; instead, you have to spend valuable oil buying them between levels.

Since this is a naval-themed game, the visuals mainly 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, displaying everything as seen through a pair of night vision goggles. The ships and enemies are a different matter and look highly detailed. According to the developers, all the crafts in the game are modeled 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 us 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.

Battle Group 2 is played entirely with a mouse, and the simple controls make it accessible to anyone. Inexperienced players can focus on completing each mission, while the hardcore crowd can use streaks to their advantage 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.

We weren’t familiar with the original Battle Group, so we weren’t sure what to expect when Battle Group 2 landed in our inbox. However, installing the game to see what it was all about resulted in a four-hour playing session where we not only finished the campaign but completed most missions multiple times to earn better rankings. Suffice it to say that we were pretty 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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