Remember when you were a kid and the awe you felt when you saw the incredible special effects as the Cylon Raiders duked it out with Colonial Vipers in the TV series Battlestar Galactica? Remember walking around mumbling “By your command, Imperious Leader” all the time? If you do, then you’ll be glad to hear that Vivendi’s latest game, Battlestar Galactica, brings back all the glory of the old sci-fi series! If you were a fan of the original series (not the watered-down Sci-Fi channel miniseries), you’re going to love this game.
In Battlestar Galactica, you play as a young Colonial Cadet named Adama, who’ll grow up to become the famed Commander Adama. You start the game assigned to a Colonial Viper (the fundamental fighter that fans all know and love) and are tasked to complete a wide variety of combat missions.
Just like the visuals of the original TV series, the graphics and the environments in the BG game are deep and gorgeous. You can fly by the Galatica and spot all the details, including every single gun on the decks. Some missions have you zipping through asteroid belts, buzzing past planets and flying by suns, and in each of them, you’ll feel just like you’re in a real space fighter thanks to the great graphical details presented by the game’s engine. And you’re not forced to play from a simple in-cockpit view, nope, you can choose from between four distinct perspectives during gameplay. There’s a chase-cam, which lets you take in your entire Viper and its surroundings, then there’s a tighter chase-view that shows the front section of your ship and its surroundings. And of course there’s a standard in-cockpit view with a HUD and plenty of gadgets in front of you, and the “glass” view that puts you right against the windscreen. If you have a large screen TV, this view really makes you feel like you’re in a real Viper fighter. This is the way to go for the most intense Galactica experience!
Just like the Vipers of the TV series, yours is equipped with lasers and rechargeable missiles. And when you fire those puppies it sounds just like it did on the TV series back in ‘79! Cylons on your tail and you need to get away fast? Well you fire up your Booster engine, which looks and sounds just like you’d expect it to.
As you’re flying around destroying Cylons, you’ll hear chatter from other fighters, the Cylons and even the Galactica as she gives you new orders. While the conversations are sometimes mere ambiance, sometimes they’ll give you hints for completing your mission, so it pays to listen up.
Battlestar Galactica is a very “pick up and play” oriented game, so if you’re one of those “I need to blow stuff up… right now!” gamers, you’ll really enjoy this game. Pop the disk into your Xbox, make a quick (and I do mean quick) profile and you’re quickly up to your neck in Cylon Raiders. If you like a bit more configurability in your game, you can tweak weapon settings to fit your dogfighting style. For example, missiles can be set to be fast and accurate, or they can make “big booms” but be barely able to hit the broad side of a barn unless it’s a straight shot.
So what kind of replayability does Battlestar Galactica bring to the table? Well, there are a few difficulty settings, but even on the easiest settings, this game is quite a challenge. As you complete each mission, you receive a new rank that opens up hidden concept art, extra cinematics and trailers from the original and Sci-Fi Network series. Another great bonus to keep you playing… as you progress though the game, you can use a few other spacecraft, including a few “stages” of Vipers and even a Colonial Bomber. The further you progress, the more perks you get, which should keep you playing Battlestar Galactica for a good long time. And to throw an RPG element into the game, the longer you keep your wingmen alive, the better pilots they’ll become.
What would have made this game better? In a perfect world Battlestar Galactica would be available to play on Xbox Live. Can you imagine the awesome multiplayer dogfights online? Sadly, Galactica isn’t just missing online multiplayer, it’s missing any multiplayer options!
Overall, I just couldn’t get enough of Battlestar Galactica. While some levels may be incredibly difficult to almost impossible, and there are no multiplayer options, it’s still a fun game and a great trip back in time for fans of the TV series.
- Gameplay: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Sound: 9
- Replay: 7.5
- Overall: 8.5
- An enjoyable romp through the Battlestar universe.
— Soren Saggio