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The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific

Score: 68%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Cauldron
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Shooter/ First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Since the dawning of video gaming, it has been near impossible to merge education with entertainment. Reader Rabbit and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego are an outdated bunch. These days, its all about subtlety. You have to trick people into getting some learning laid down on them. Naturally, when you see a title like The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific, you think this is going to be some fifth grade history lesson spelled out in some kind of boring lecture form. Sad as it sounds, that may actually be more entertaining.

Battle for the Pacific seems polished at first glance with a decent graphics engine that's about on par with Call of Duty 2, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering its a History Channel title. Faces and expressions are animated very well, and character movements are much less rigid and unrealistic than you'd expect. Landscapes are often drab, but this could be due to the fact that ninety percent of your missions take place in the jungle, which does tend to get old.

Probably the highest note of the game is its good use of voice acting. The characters may be one dimensional and repetitive, but at least they sound decent. That counts, right? Like most WWII shooters, Battle for the Pacific does not feature an in-game musical score, but does have occasional moments where a piece of a score will fall in.


The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific tries so hard to be an entertaining FPS, but with seemingly no ingenuity and being yet another WWII shooter, it falls short and falls fast. In Campaign mode, you'll play out various historic WWII missions against the Japanese. Most, if not all, require a basic run, stop, shoot, run strategy. You're never alone, however, as in each mission you'll be accompanied by two or more fellow soldiers, one of which is your Sargeant, who is the only character you have any kind of real interaction with (if you want to call it that).

You play through the campaign as an American soldier to fight off the enemy and regain control of strategic positions. Most of these are the more notable Pacific Campaign missions, including Iwo Jima.

In between missions, you'll be briefed by your generic rich-voiced History Channel-esque narrator, giving you brief synopses of typical war goings-on. This, accompanied with black-and-white newsreel footage, is about as entertaining as watching David Schwimmer try to revive his career. The narration is not in-depth enough to be either captivating or educational. Oftentimes, you'll find yourself skipping these.

The game does sport a Multiplayer feature, which is available online. Sadly, with this not being a popular piece of software, you'll generally only find yourself matched up with one, maybe two other players.


The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific features no difficulty setting, and you know what that means: some parts are incredibly easy, some parts are frustratingly tough. Sadly, most of the game's difficulty comes from its flaws instead of its challenges. Your teammates are invincible (unless its scripted into the mission for one of them to die) and your enemies know this, because 99% of the time, they will only shoot at you. To top that off, your teammates will not always return fire if you are being shot at. Sometimes, this means you're completely on your own. This is definitely the most frustrating element of the game, and if it happens enough, you'll be forced to decide if its worth even carrying on through ten short missions.

The game features no handicap due to its limited A.I., who seem to only be programmed with "run at you, stop, shoot at you, die" instincts. Any soldier firing from behind sandbags or in a pillbox has dead-on accuracy; so no matter how much you jump or run, they will hit you. If your team is caught in a glitch causing them to not advance (which will happen, often), then you'll have to rush in quickly enough to get off a shot and hope you pick him off before he gets you, and should you get the first guy, there's always at least two more right behind him with their sights set on you.

In Multiplayer, the shooting accuracy and overall combat mechanics work fairly well, so player skill will matter more here than trying to master off-balance controls.

Game Mechanics:

The History Channel: Battle for the Pacific has all your generic FPS features. You can carry up to three weapons (there are maybe a total of 6 different weapons in the game), and you can hold a limited number of grenades (which are often useless, due to how seldom enemy troops are clustered together).

The A.I. is terribly buggy, which sucks because you rely on the location of your teammates throughout the game. You'll be required to follow them and stay close. Venture too far, and you'll fail the mission. More often than not, they'll stop to wait for you, but won't start moving again, even after you've caught up with them. They'll sometimes stand there for ten to twenty seconds on end, staring off into the distance. Then, when they do start running, its faster than you, and they have no patience. Should you get caught in some crossfire, they will abandon you in a heartbeat.

Battle for the Pacific barely achieves mediocrity. Standing next to games like Halo 3 and BioShock, Pacific is barely a blip on the radar. The frequent glitches, bland missions, and minimal character interaction make it simply boring. If this were $4.99 in the bin in the corner where all the games go to die, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, unless you really just have to have another WWII title, I'd say just let this one be.

-Crazy Kangaroo, GameVortex Communications
AKA Josh Meeks

Nintendo Wii Dragon Ball Z Budokai: Tenkaichi 3 Nintendo DS Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command

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