Battle Fleet 2
It's all about the gunnery.
Aug. 25, 2014
by Neal Stevens
Silent Hunter 5, iPads and iPhone, Kindles, and Android phones have become
the platform de jour for naval games and subsims. Surely this can't be
the demise of PC based subsims, can it? Well, maybe, but there is at least
one new title that you can still play using a mouse and keyboard as God
intended: Battle Fleet 2. Available on nearly every platform--iPad,
Mac, Android and yes, Windows PC, Battle Fleet 2 is a more refined and
graphically superior upgrade that should satisfy newbies to the battleship
genre and Fighting Steel old-timers alike.
BF2 features the Pacific war and allows the player to choose either the
Imperial Japanese Navy or US Navy. The gameplay is turn-based so you get to
fire your weapons and make a move with each turn. Weapons such as guns and
torpedoes are limited to a specific radius, which means maneuvering your
ships to bring them to bear is part of the tactical component of the game.
With carriers, you can also launch aircraft to either scout, attack or
defend. The inventory includes carriers, cruisers, battleships, frigates,
and destroyers. Oh, and coastal batteries. Alas, no submarines. But we all
know that the inclusion of submarines adds a whole 'nother level of strategy
and this game's focus is on surface combatants. Last minute update:
Expect subs in the next version!
you can imagine, one of the key elements of the game is range estimation. In
each turn, you need to point your guns at the enemy and estimate range
before firing. The game provides an interface that makes this pretty simple,
to be point of being easy. You can adjust the aim point using a broad
control, and fine tune it to the nearest foot.
Another element, and a most satisfactory one, is locating the enemy and
avoiding detection. When an engagement begins, sometimes you do not have an
enemy position, such as when your adversary is on the far side of an island.
That's where sending recon flights out plays a critical role. If you can
find the enemy before they find you, you can get in some significant early
Battle Fleet 2 provides three difficulty levels and mission type are Quick
Battle, Custom Battle missions, where you set up the type of ships in the
mission, and a campaign. The campaign uses a Pacific strategic map where you
influence the war by moving units and building additional vessels. There is
also a multiplayer matchup and I got in several battles during my review
session. There is a lot to be said of multiplayer with this type of game.
It's much more rewarding that playing against the computer.
stated above, each ship has a defined turning radius, speed, and weapon
range. One part that puzzled me was setting the range on torpedoes. I
realize there is a maximum limit, but the game also prompts you to set the
range, and if you do not set it for maximum, your torpedoes could fall short
of the target. When ships are hit, they take specific damage, and there is
an health bar to gauge the overall damage. You can have your ship's
capabilities degraded, such as losing a turret.
The menu screens and interface are sharp and the overall tone of the game is
very professional. There is a score, but it gets quite repetitive, and can
be muted. The game also includes "Strategic Command Cards", which can be
collected by steering your ship across various crates floating in the ocean.
Think of these as special missions or wildcards that can handicap the enemy.
Given that this is a title that can be played on a 4" telephone screen, the
graphics are satisfactory, if not overwhelming. There are plenty of
thoughtful details, such as splashes that mark where shells strike the
waves, and smoke from damaged ships. The sound effects rate about the same:
there are vocal commands that acknowledge your orders, and the "boom" from
the big guns has a reverb effect that sounds like it should.
Although Battle Fleet 2 plays very much like a board game, it has the
visuals and gameplay dynamics only a computer program can provide. Matched
with the deliberate physical characteristics and damage modeling that serve
to ground the game in historical reality in a way that purists can
appreciate, Battle Fleet 2 anchors a respectable place in the current crop
of naval games.
Click here for more info
and to try out Battle Fleet 2
to add something or discuss Battle Fleet 2? Los!
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