Battlezone Gold Edition (Review) Xbox One

Battlezone Gold Edition (Review) Xbox One
Review Score:

We live in a time when classic video games are seeing a revival by their respective developers. Amongst the retro collections, remakes and demakes being released, the occasional ‘reboot ’ appears that maintains the core game mechanics of the original game. Battlezone Gold Edition by developer Rebellion is a re-imagining of the 1980’s Atari coin-op of the same name, but with modern 3D graphics and sound. Originally released as a Playstation 4 VR title, Battlezone is now available for Xbox One as a standard, first-person battle tank simulator that plays well without the VR headgear.

As a new release, Gold Edition provides Xbox gamers with a handful of extras that can be used to personalize their tanks, both externally with new skins and internally with different horns and themed bobble heads based on the 2000 AD comic book universe (i.e. Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, etc.). Additionally, the game includes an offline, single-player campaign; a 4-player co-op mode; and a modern rendition of the arcade coin-op classic, labeled ideally as ‘Classic Mode’.

The game provides 12 tanks with varying degrees of mobility and firepower. However, only two of these tanks are available from the start of the game. The remaining 10 can be unlocked as the player progresses through the game. Gold Edition’s world is represented by a hexagon-like map that is divided into 80+ missions. The player can select a mission area adjacent to their tank (shown on the map) to infiltrate. When selecting a mission from the map, the player must highlight the desired area, and then press and hold the A button to enter the next area.

Gameplay is fast-paced and very reminiscent of the arcade original. The player can speed up their tank by holding the Left Trigger button. However, doing this will quickly deplete the tank’s shields and make it vulnerable to enemies. The game expects the player to think strategically, regardless of the scenario. For example: sometimes it’s safer to engage a group of enemy tanks from a distance rather than approach them head on. During other missions, the player will find that circling around a group of enemy tanks – and attacking them from behind – is a more effective tactic. These strategies can also be used when dealing with enemy drones and gun turrets.

There is always the direct approach, but i’ts guaranteed to make the game more frustrating.
Since the game only provides a limited amount of continues, there’s only so many times the player can die before the game ends. When this happens, the player loses their progress and they have to start the game over from the beginning. (This is something to consider before heading into battle half-cocked with an itchy trigger finger.)

The tank’s dashboard happens to be the main highlight. The available HUD (Heads Up Display) is well organized and neatly laid out across the screen. Located on the far-right panel is a monitor that displays the current mission and its objective. The center console contains two screens that are dedicated to targeting enemies and scanning the area for threats (i.e. gun turrets, enemy drone, etc.). Located on the far-left of the console is the ‘Cycle Weapons’ monitor, which shows the type of weapons the player’s tank currently has equipped. The player can toggle between these weapons by pressing X button. Each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example: while powerful, the Unguided MK1 Rockets are slow, and they take even longer to reload.

The Multi-lockon MK1 ammunition can seek enemies on the playfield, but it can’t be used until the player locks on to an enemy target (hence its name). While powerful, this weapon can leave the player vulnerable due to how long it takes to target an enemy vehicle. The controls are simple enough, but require the player to target an enemy with their tank’s crosshairs, while also pressing and holding the Right Trigger button. Once an enemy has been targeted, the player must release the Right Trigger and then press it again to fire. It’s not perfect, but it does become second nature the longer the game is played.

The Autogun allows for more freedom since it has no delays when being used. However, the Autogun must be reloaded after firing so many rounds, which can leave the player’s tank vulnerable for a few brief seconds. (In Battlezone, a few seconds can mean the difference between victory or defeat.) The Machine Gun is one of the better weapons available. While its damage output is reduced, it is capable of firing multiple rounds at once. The Machine Gun is really useful when engaging more than one enemy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg where weapons are concerned. The player can visit Supply Points that are scattered throughout the mission map. When the player visits one of these locations, they can spend in-game currency (which is collected during combat) to upgrade their tank. The player has the option to upgrade their existing weapons and also purchase new ones. The number of weapons the player can install is determined by the tank they are driving.

Despite being an arcade game, Gold Edition plays (and feels) more like a tank simulator. While combat is fast-paced, there are levels where rushing in will get the player killed. While odd, this combination of game mechanics works really well. Developer Rebellion deserves praise for a job well done.

As a game, Battlezone: Gold Edition is a successful reboot of the Atari coin-op classic. It captures the intense, combat action of the original, while also modernizing the experience with improved game mechanics (i.e. multiple missions selectable via a World Map; the ability to upgrade weapons; and the option to decorate each tank with 2000 AD bobble heads). This is one game that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their age.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Xbox One/Xbox One X
Developer: Rebellion
Publisher: Rebellion
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $34.99

Battlezone Official Website: http://www.battlezone.com/en

Review Score
Graphics
Beautiful 3D graphics that do the classic coin-op justice.
Sound
Loud explosions and the sound of heavy war machines echo through the speakers.
Gameplay
A modern take on a classic, first-person tank game.
Overall
Fans of the Atari coin-op will not be disappointed by Battlezone Gold Edition.
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