Battalion Commander Review

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Game Title: Battalion Commander
Developer: Iriysoft
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 55 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No

Most gamers have those times where they just want to play something casual.  I play RPGs like nobody’s business and eventually, I just want to settle down with something nice and casual for a-while.  That’s where all of the mobile games that get ported over to the 3DS and PS Vita really come in handy.  There are lots of micro-sized experiences to boot up and just waste time in.

My favorite genre of mobile-to-console games is the Endless genre.  First things that come to mind with that are endless runners, like Run like Hell or Run Sackboy Run.  Endless isn’t always about running, though.  There are a few games that incorporate top-down shooting in the same type of game.  I like to call these Endless Shooters.

Today, we’re going to talk about a game of that very genre that was sent to me just a few days ago.  The first Endless Shooter I’ve played on the Vita, here is my review of Battalion Commander!

Story

Since this game has no story attached to it, this section shall remain blank.

Gameplay

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As I said above, Battalion Commander is what you would call an Endless Shooter.  The base gameplay and viewpoint is that of a top-down shooter, but your character is constantly moving up the playing field.  You have no way of slowing down or stopping them or the enemy waves.  It is essentially a top-down shooter under the rules of a textbook endless runner.

Basically, you have two game modes to go through, Campaign Mode and Endless Mode.  In Campaign Mode, you go through a set stage of areas and enemies until you reach the end and effectively “win” the game, while Endless Mode has you going through endlessly until you get a Game Over.  Both game modes randomize enemy encounters and other objects you find in the field of battle.  The main difference is that Campaign ends eventually, and Endless only ends when you die.

Before going on, let’s talk about gameplay itself.  When you start a game, you’re placed in the environment that is constantly moving towards you with you constantly firing your weapon.  The object of the game is to take down enemies in your path as well as cages you find to free and recruit new soldiers to your party.  You keep this up against increasingly changing enemies and the occasional “boss” until either you reach the end of campaign or all of your soldiers die.

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You’ve also got Upgrades and Perk to think about.  Basically, when you play the game, you earn experience points and collect money from broken objects.  Money goes towards buying upgrades and experience goes towards leveling up your rank and unlocking new upgrades and perks.  These are integral to finishing the game because these upgrades will drastically increase your combat skills and make the game easier for you.  It’s pretty simple when you think about it.  Would you rather fight with pistols with infinite ammo or submachine guns?

This all goes towards the fact that you’ll be playing and dying a lot.  The first few times you play the game, you might not even get to the second environmental area, but all of those attempts will rack up the experience and money needed to buy new upgrades that help you get to that next area.  It’s a game of endurance in that regard, especially if you’re not a pro with this type of shooting game.

The above sounds repetitive in writing, but it actually does a nice job of keeping up the pace and interest with the random element in play.  I’ve played dozens of sessions and not a single one has been exactly the same.  Some start out easy and end in mobs of enemies while others start out difficult and have early bosses for a bigger challenge.  You’re still shooting, but everything about the progression of each session keeps things fresh.

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The one thing I don’t like about the game is the fact that there is no sense of direction.  When you get dropped into the game, it just goes.  None of the mission icons are explained to you.  The Slow-Down-Time skill isn’t explained to you, and even the controls aren’t explained unless you dig through the Main Menu to find it.  I get dropped and see this stop-watch icon in the corner of the screen and I’m just like “Um, okay.  I have no idea what any of this does but okay.”

Now, for time length, that’s tough.  To be able to get the skills necessary to beat campaign mode, it could take you several hours, or longer.  It also depends on what kind of random sessions the game throws at you when you do try to beat the campaign.  On average, I would wager 4-5 hours, minimum.

Controls

First off, this game is not compatible with the PlayStation TV.  Many of the menu controls are touch-only though most of gameplay can be controlled solely with the buttons.  I’ll definitely be inquiring with the developer about getting PSTV Support added when I publish this review.

When in the field, the two Analog Sticks control movement, though the Right Analog Stick will move you significantly faster.  The D-Pad is used to activate an equipped skill that’s had time to charge up, and that’s about it.  Most everything else uses the touch screen, from menus, pausing, purchasing upgrades, etc.

Presentation

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Visually, I can’t really complain.  This isn’t exactly a AAA-style 3D game, but the 2D art works well and looks sharp.  No blemishes or anything of the sort when you’re playing through the game.

The same can be said about the presentation.  Load times are nice and short, frame-rate stays steady for the entire experience.  There’s really nothing to be criticized in terms of presentation.

Summary

Battalion Commander is an interesting little endless shooter.  The lack of a story and sense of direction don’t do the game any favors, but the gameplay is fun enough to keep a top-down fan coming back for several hours of game time. 

8/10

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