Review by sfcalimari

"Firing a barrage of cruise missiles at an enemy fleet has never been so satisfying"


In Warship Gunner 2, you get the chance to steer a massive warship of your own design into battle. Jumping up and down for joy yet? Okay, maybe a warship simulation game doesn't sound so exciting, but actually Warship Gunner 2 is a really great game, seriously.

Mostly in this game you will be taking on a series of missions in which you pilot your ship into battle. The story isn't that important or interesting, but it serves its purpose. Basically you are a young captain in the navy of the Kingdom of Wilkia. In the middle of the very first mission, you learn that Wilkia has been taken over by a military coup. You spend the rest of the game fighting against the Wilkian navy, trying to bring peace and sanity back to your kingdom. The story is told in little anime-like cut-scenes between the missions. They aren't terribly exciting, and the characters all look pretty weird, and strangely enough there are no voice-overs, just text.

Besides the story, you will mainly be focused on the three main parts of the game where you will be in control: R&D, ship design, and the story missions. In R&D, you use money obtained in the story missions to research weapons, ship hulls, engines, etcetera. The R&D mode is a bit confusing at first but after a while you'll be having fun figuring out what cool lasers or aircraft or nuclear reactors to design.

In Ship Design, you will get the chance to build your own warship from the bottom up. You will pick what hull to use, the engine, bridges, aircraft on board, etcetera, as well as all the weapons. For ship types, you have destroyers, cruisers, frigates, battleships, aircraft carriers, and battle-carriers. The weaponry in this game is definitely very cool. You have a wide range of artillery to place on your ship, as well as all kinds of missiles, torpedoes, and even lasers. It takes a bit of practice to figure out what works, but you definitely get a nice feeling of satisfaction out of designing a nice ship and then using it to pummel your foes into submission. The one thing I think was left out is the ability to custom-color your ship. It would be kind of cool to take a blood red ship into battle, no?

The story missions are where everything comes together. Hopefully you designed a ship that is up to the task of the upcoming mission. You usually are told before the mission starts what kind of foes you will be coming across, so that you can equip your ship properly. For example, if you are told to expect submarines, you should definitely equip some anti-submarine weapons like torpedoes or ASROC missiles. There are a couple of instances where I was annoyed to be thrown up against a certain kind of enemy without any advanced warning. Fortunately you can just reload your save-point, properly equip your ship, and try again.

As you might imagine, the way you control your ship is a bit different than playing, say, Doom, but you get used to it pretty quickly. To attack with artillery, you can lock onto an enemy by pressing R2, then hit the fire button to shoot. Most missile weapons lock onto the enemy automatically, rather like in Ace Combat. You also have certain weapon slots that you can assign to auto-fire weapons like machine guns and anti-aircraft missiles. This is very useful because these weapons will automatically clear the skies of enemy aircraft, torpedoes, missiles, and so on. Overall, I would definitely compare the controls and action of this game to Ace Combat. Warship Gunner 2 is definitely not a proper simulation game, and, like Ace Combat, gives you more of an arcade experience while retaining a healthy dose of realism.

So basically up to this point I have tried to explain what playing the game is like. My words can't really do the game justice, because this game is so unique and special that it's hard to describe it properly or to usefully compare it to another game. So why should you try this game? There are a lot of reasons—it's fun, challenging, hectic, unique...but the main quality that stands out to me is the sheer amount of content and gameplay that are locked into this game. Warship Gunner 2 is much, much longer than the average Playstation 2 game. Once you beat the game (which took me about 30 hours of gameplay), you can play through again with the same cool weaponry and parts you got in the first walkthrough, but against a more challenging set of enemies. There are also three different paths you can go through in the game. Each path is a little bit different in terms of the storyline and missions you go through. Also there are literally thousands of parts in the game to discover and unlock and research. And as if all this wasn't enough, there are a few sets of special missions you can play to unlock cool treasures, though these mission are quite challenging.

Overall, I would definitely give this game a 9 out of 10, because it's great fun and has a relatively massive amount of content. I would caution that it is not for everyone. You need a certain amount of patience to have fun with the game, and having a healthy obsession with military stuff might help.

Why did I give the game a 9 and not a 10? For one thing, the graphics are really not that great. They could have been better. However, considering how massive the game is, the limited graphics don't really bother me that much. Also the missions are a little too much "destroy everything." There isn't much room for nuance or strategy. Fortunately, destroying everything is usually pretty fulfilling on its own in this game. Another sore spot I have with this game is that certain ships are not as useful as others. Aircraft carriers especially are not much fun. There is an exciting variety of planes you can equip your carriers with, but the planes do very little damage to your enemies. After getting tired of waiting for my mosquito-like planes to do miniscule amounts of damage to my enemies, I decided to focus on battleships and never looked back.

In any case, I heartily recommend Warship Gunner 2 to you. If you like this sort of game, or are in the mood for something different, it may be what you are looking for. In any case, prepare for a lot of sleepless nights.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/30/06

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