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Take control in the East and West, on the surface and in the air.

There’s considerable ground to cover when re-creating World War II aviation, but a pair of strategy games manage to do a fairly good job of it.

Battlestations Pacific ($30, requires Micro – soft Windows XP/Vista, 3 Ghz processor, 1GB system RAM, DVD ROM player, 3D video card: GeForce 7600 or Radeon 1800 or better, Eidos, is the sequel to Battlestations Midway. The formula is nearly the same: Players manage ships and planes to achieve objectives, but in Pacific they can take control of a unit and participate in the action.

Pacific brings an impressive array of vehicles to the fight, with air and sea units engaged in the same arena. In addition, there are improvements to the terrain rendering, as well as a cockpit view that’s helpful when con – trolling aircraft in simulation mode.

Like Midway, Pacific has an Allied historical campaign for solitaire play. But it also adds a hypothetical Japanese campaign, based on what could have happened had the Japanese been victorious at Midway. The game has also added a new mode called Island Capture. The variety of the vehicles, play modes and overall visual experience make Battlestations Pacific a step up from Battlestations Midway.

Men of War ($30, requires Microsoft Windows XP/Vista, 3 Ghz processor, 1GB [XP] or 2GB [Vista] system RAM, DVD ROM drive, 3D video card: Radeon 9600 or GeForce 5900 or better, Aspyr, is from a Ukrainian studio, which may explain its European scenarios—though there are also Mediterranean and North African settings. Similar to Battlestations Pacific in that it can be played in a traditional real-time strategy format, it also allows direct control with the mouse and keyboard. But Men of War’s ballistics and damage models feel a lot more realistic.

Players can command tanks, trucks and antitank guns as well as planes. It’s definitely an involved game, and learning the control scheme is also a challenge, but Men of War is rewarding for players who can muster that level of commitment.

When superior detail and realism are the order of the day, Men of War is the way to go. If you’re more interested in the war on the other side of the globe, then Battlestations Pacific brings you the action in style.


Originally published in the March 2010 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here