Battlezone: Gold Edition (Xbox One Review)
It’s times like these I ask myself why I haven’t invested in a VR headset. With mainstream titles like Resident Evil 7 adopting virtual immersion with phenomenal success, it’s no surprise that other studios are doing the same. Now Rebellion tossed their hat in the ring with Battlezone: Gold Edition.
Battlezone: Gold Edition brings the 1980 classic into the modern era keeping the wire-frame visuals intact and extending the colour density beyond the prototypical green. Sticking with traditional arcade makeup of storytelling, you are given a brief introduction to Battlezone’s villain, A.I.Core, and told your mission is to destroy it with the selection of tanks at your disposal. Campaigns are segregated by length (short, medium, and long) and correspond to the randomly generated map’s size. To say that it is a fully fleshed out campaign is a bit of a stretch.
Every time you step in to the breach you are faced with a 3D hexagonal grid to work your way across, with each space representing a stage to engage in combat within, trigger a series of events, or resupply. However these objectives stagnate and impede any real enjoyment in the bitesized offerings. Even with a total of 13 options available to you, they all fundamentally look and feel the same and offer different twists on a typical search and destroy based mission.
Even with the campaigns limited appeal, you’ll easily grip the basic mechanics of tank warfare. You’ll become hooked on the simplicity of strafing and strategically manoeuvring into cover before blasting other tanks to pieces. Just like the arcades, it’s deeply satisfying and will have you hooked within no time while easing the burden of the otherwise repetitive missions.
The real draw for Battlezone is the VR functionality, which was unfortunately unavailable on the Xbox One version. The overall experienced certainly feels diminished due to the way the information is displayed and sections of the screen cut off and resulted in the feeling of a lesser experience – even if it was still more than playable.
While Battlezone clearly progresses this generation’s technology, the game itself lacks any sense of in game progression. As the credits rolled and I was greeted with a solitary message of congratulations and felt hollow. Unlocks also follow suit and feel insubstantial as the impact of new weapons and tank upgrades don’t quite justify retreading old ground. Furthermore, the Gold Edition comes with a staggering amount of extras which could have been used to pad out the game that bit more for those that did feel the need to revisit the campaign time and time again.
Battlezone: Gold Edition is a simple modernisation of a classic that lacks the inspiration to push the boundaries further than adding a few modes and models. Everything about Battlezone feels like the perfect fit for the arcades, but on console you’ll be pushed to find more than a few hours of enjoyment without VR. It’s a time killer that would be nice to dabble with in a room full of dusty cabinets that doesn’t quite feel right at home.