Battlezone: Gold Edition (Xbox One) Review

By Josh Di Falco 26.12.2018

Review for Battlezone: Gold Edition on Xbox One

Due to its initial success in the early days of Atari, Battlezone has seen a slew of different remakes to try and drive a new fan-base into this franchise. With Activision and Atari failing to successfully revive the series, Rebellion has taken it upon themselves to breathe new life into it with the Gold Edition. While it is no longer in the old vector style, Rebellion's reboot does a great job of retaining the original feeling of the legacy title, while also providing a modernistic style to the experience.

Battlezone has a simple premise. An Artificial Intelligence was created by people to serve, before it managed to take over the world, and force humans into hiding underground. The human rebellion must then get back to above-ground with their armoured tanks, to drive back the AI machines that guard the brain of the entire technological race, the AI Core, which lies in the heart of a volcano. The mission is equally simple: destroy the AI Core, and the robotic uprising is over - sounds easy enough, but Rebellion's warzone-shooter is anything but.

The campaign takes place on a "game board" of sorts that is pieced together by a series of "nodes", which are "Battlezones." The AI Core, and the end goal is situated at one end of the board, while the controlled tank starts at the opposite end, with the aim being to fight though each node and complete missions to reach the volcano and destroy it. Moving to a node will initiate a Battlezone, which is an arena tank-shooter segment. Complete the assigned missions, of which there are four different match types, and hack weapons caches to unlock blueprints to equip new weapons on the tank, while getting ever-closer to that dreaded AI Core.

Screenshot for Battlezone: Gold Edition on Xbox One

Having the campaign play out like a board game certainly adds an extra layer of strategy, as levels aren't just about blasting away enemy tanks. Due to the grid-like nature of the gameboard, taking a more direct path to the Core can be either beneficial or detrimental - depending on how the game plays out. After completing a battlezone, the AI Core's power meter will slowly fill up, and once the bar is filled, its power level will increase, and a "Nemesis" will appear on the gameboard. The Nemesis is essentially the hardest enemy unit in the game and it is designed to make the campaign harder. Therefore, the longer it takes to reach the AI Core, the more Nemesis units will get put on the map. There are Shields, which provide optional mini-boss battles that are much tougher than the regular battlezone missions, and knocking out these shields will decrease the AI Core's power level; so, it is always beneficial to make them a priority en route to the volcano.

Tossing up the strategy to either go directly at the AI Core to have less Nemesis units to worry about might sound like the easy solution. However, taking the time to complete all the side-missions on the board can warrant a lot of benefits, such as new and more powerful weapons for the tank, or heavy armour. Sure, there will be more of said units, but the controlled-tank might be more powerful to defeat them soundly, and as such, making the final battle against the AI Core that much easier.

As for the various controlled tanks, these fall into either one of three categories: light, medium and heavy vehicles. Each vehicle contains their own base statistics, each present with their own strengths and weaknesses. While the light ones are the fastest of the fleet, they can easily get ripped to shreds by a barrage of enemy fire. The heavy tank can deal with more damage due to its robust shields, but it moves quite slowly, and can make outrunning enemies quite the task. The medium tank is the typical best-of-both-worlds: not quite as sturdy shields, but nimble enough.

Screenshot for Battlezone: Gold Edition on Xbox One

These stats can be upgraded during the campaign using cogs, which can be purchased using in-game currency that is easily obtainable in large bulk during the battlezones. Tanks can be customised, from the zebra-striped interior panels, to having bobble head characters from Rebellion's 2000 AD comics line, such as Judge Dredd, and Rogue Trooper, as well as customising the sound of the tank's horn, whether it's the steamboat, or the bus horn, or to that infamous "Wah, Wah, Wah" song that plays during a comedic death scene - there is enough here to cosmetically personalise the controlled tank.

But the real fun part is upgrading the statistics of the tanks, to either upgrade the shields to make them withstand more damage, or boost their speed to make them zippier around the battlezone. Of course, there are other variables, such as firing rate and the number of bullets that can be held in the ammunition clips that add further advantages to the tank. Rebellion does make it a joyous task to explore the grid and complete all the optional objectives, just to have the ability to create a monster-tank, there must be a care factor to not let the added Nemesis units and the AI Core's increasing power level be too overwhelming.

Switching weapons on the tank is not as easy as just making the changes in a menu on the main-screen. There are designated Supply Points on the gameboard, and only when occupying these nodes can the tank make weapon changes and adjustments. Thus, making these hard decisions such as detouring from the main volcano to upgrade a weapon need to be made; and they could be pivotal between winning or losing. There are seven weapon slots: five reserved for normal weapons, and two reserved for special weapons.

Screenshot for Battlezone: Gold Edition on Xbox One

As fun as all these sound, the campaign stretches on for quite a long time. On easy mode, with the shortest campaign length, the game still took 45-50 minutes to complete. Making this task that little more difficult is that there is a set amount of lives or respawns. While more can be purchased in between battlezones, should the controlled tank lose all their lives within a battlezone, the entire campaign will go up in flames. This is great for those who enjoy the tough tasks of mastering a campaign and raising the difficulty to medium is a huge difficulty spike. Hard mode is just insane to try and finish - the early battlezones are fine to get through but trying to keep the AI Core's power level down while trying to equally make ground on the volcano can be tough. However, playing the long campaign can literally take days to complete.

As far as the first-person mechanics are concerned, the game controls as expected. Sensitivity can be adjusted to have the right fit for whoever is controlling the tank, and the trigger buttons are used for the main and special weapons, while the left and right sticks control the tanks movements as well as the cannon's up-and-down positions. There really isn't much more to be said about how the tank controls, which is good, as there are no negative points to mention. The colour-coded unit types are simple to grasp: blue are friendlies, and red are enemies, with white spots on the map signalling generic structures.

Battlezone can also be played online with a squad of up to three team mates, to allow for a four-man wrecking crew. Battle out in a series of matches, whether it's controlling the pylons in Conquest, or bringing down the enemy's convoy first, or traversing a minefield to make the arena that much more enjoyable and chaotic. Apart from playing with friends however, there is little else that makes going online worth the hours.

Screenshot for Battlezone: Gold Edition on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Rebellion has done a splendid job with reigniting the Battlezone franchise, and if the Gold Edition is anything to go by, then there is a great foundation upon which to build. The main crux of the game is to complete a lengthy campaign by traversing across the gameboard and completing a series of different battlezones to knock out the AI Core, who is controlling all the robotic enemies. The story just serves as a cheesy context for which Battlezone is set - but the fun gameplay and the added Nemesis difficulty does make this campaign a worthy enough experience to keep replaying for many mixed results.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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