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Battlestations Pacific Demo

Eidos’ Battlestations Pacific is due some time next month, but the demo is out already. In it you get to play shooty-bangs with both boats and planes in a short mission, as well as a couple of skirmish games that I couldn’t make head nor tail of. 1.23GB of it, and very pretty it is too.

The mission is super-easy, first having you hammer things out of the sky from a boat, then zip around in the sky in planes, each time taking out the naughty Japanese. Perhaps a better person would tell you the names of the boats and the planes, but I’m not that man. What I can tell you is that despite the barrage of tutorial tips that will appear, and the oh-good-grief-close-it-now unclarity of the strategic map, just hopping into the cockpit and shooting at stuff is super-simple, and pretty good fun.

The demo takes you through a few different ammo types, getting you to use missiles, rockets and torpedoes, with a pretty much infinite supply of aircraft. It means you can fly all loosey-goosey and smash into mountains without the game getting cross with you. Beyond the impressively post-mortal cries of fear from your crew, there’s no punishment for screwing up – in fact just one button press has you flying in a brand new bird without even a second’s pause.

My top-tip for maximum demo enjoyment: in the rocket firing section, don’t aim for the three boatyard targets, but instead focus on taking out boats, planes and missile launchers. That way you get to keep playing the game’s most fun section, and the AI doesn’t interfere and hurry you along.

Couple of warnings. It’s one of those godforsaken demos that doesn’t flipping well ask you where to install, so if you’ve got a weeny C: drive, you could be in trouble. And as you quit out it’s going to force you to sit and watch a long, dull advert for the game that you clearly don’t want to see because you just clicked on a button saying “QUIT”. Even in windowed mode (in which the game plays perfectly), it won’t give you your mouse back until it’s done screaming numbers at you.

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John Walker

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