Battlezone puts you behind the controls of a super-powered tank, fully equipped with a range of weapons and even shields… But will this non-VR edition live up to the hype from the VR edition launch or even the original coin-operated version from the 80’s?

Battlezone is a game developed and published by Rebellion Games and is available for the PS4, Xbox One, PC, and even the Nintendo Switch. The copy I have based this review on is the Xbox One edition.

When you first start up the game you are met with a beautiful retro look and feel screen, with music to compliment,. You then get to select the game mode you wish to crack on with. The mode I thought best to get a real feel of the game was the randomly generated campaign, as I thought this sounded amazing Where the game gets a thumbs up from me is that you are able to set campaign length dependant on the time you have available. Everything from Short, that you can complete in no time at all, through to Long, which will take quite some time to work through. Worth a mention is that you can choose the style of tank you want. There are three types:

Heavy – Slow and not very mobile but heavily armored.

Medium – A well-balanced tank that has an equal distribution of weight agility and armor.

Light – Well, you can probably guess this from the other two, but this is a tank purely built around speed and agility. You will be darting around the map but beware of the harder difficulties: the enemy units will two-shot you!

So you find yourself sitting there with a few hours to burn. You set off on the long campaign. The first thing you are met with is a map screen with multiple nodes. You can select your starting point on the left side of the map (do the training!!!) and work your way through each encounter with the long-term objective of destroying the oppressive A.I. that is trying to have you killed (not very nice at all!).

Once you have loaded into the encounter, this is where the fun begins. You are given your primary objective but it is also worth listening to the audio clues that make you aware of secondary tasks that can be completed for even more in-game currency (more on this later).

The default weaponry you will have when you start the game will be a cannon, an auto-lock missile, and a laser blaster. The first two will have limited ammo. You can recuperate this by destroying enemies and objectives. The laser blaster has unlimited ammo so you will never be stuck ramming enemy units.

Now, the first few nodes were really fun, with tasks such as destroy all enemies, hack the enemy towers, and protect your fellow tank and get it to the object to allow the friendly unit to shut down a shield generator. It is with this format I enjoyed it but with longer sessions, it gets really repetitive… Go here, shoot this… Go here, hack this, etc… (Destiny 1 campaign flashbacks inbound!!!)

One element I do really enjoy in Battlezone is the progressive A.I. system in the game. It learns the way you play, the weapons you use, and a few other bits, and will slowly adjust how the encounters play out as you move through the map. In addition to the all-knowing A.I., once it has learned to a certain level, it will drop a nemesis tank on to your map table. Now the game warns you to avoid these sections of the map, but if you are anything like me you will roll in full steam ahead and try to take the big mean tank down. This guy Tanks all your shots(see what I did?) and you will most likely fail the mission, so I strongly suggest moving around them at least until you have a feel for the game and upgrade your arsenal.

I mentioned earlier about an in-game currency system. Now, this where you can put some time into the game, as you don’t get loads of cash for completing a level or tasks. But there is too much to spend your hard-earned coin on. Upgrades range from your base stats, e.g. shields, mobility, weapon damage, all the way through to buying yourself some new toys in the weaponry and abilities sections. Do you want an auto-tracking rocket? Get one. Do you want an ability that allows you to set off a short-range EMP to incapacitate nearby units? You can! This essentially makes the game quite fun as you can set a target of your ideal weaponry and loadout, and earn your way to your perfect set up… and there are loads of possibilities.

In my personal opinion, I think this title should have remained a VR title. The whole feel of the game, the way it handles, is screaming VR. Without it, Battlezone just feels like something is missing. The plus side to this, of course, is now anyone can play it, VR or not.

Tanks for reading and catch you in the next one.

I’m so funny… I will get my coat.