REVIEW: The Gold Edition of ‘Battlezone’ Revives an Atari Classic (PS4)

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Battlezone: Gold Edition

We always want to live out our fantasies in film and the recently released Battlezone: Gold Edition does just that. When I was a kid, I really enjoyed the Disney movie, Tron. It was a visual spectacle unlike anything else, and while I wasn’t old enough to understand the various complexities of the movie, I understood that this was a movie about video games. The scene in the arcade showed various games, including the infamous light-cycle game, that has been seen and referenced in various films, including Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Battlezone: Gold Edition was developed by UK-based Rebellion studios and is the latest edition of 2016’s Battlezone, a classic tank combat game. The game made waves when it initially launched for the PlayStation VR by giving players the sensation in being inside a tank and piloting across a dangerous battlefield in search of targets, all in a quest to save the Earth from a malevolent artificial intelligence. The game would go onto to receive updates and improvements, but over the summer, Rebellion games released the Gold Edition patch which included new content, refined mechanics, and allowed players to play without the use of the VR headset. Rebellion also managed to port the entire game to the Nintendo Switch.

Battlezone has an established history within the halls of video game history by being released in 1980 by a trio of designers at Atari. This made it one of the very first games to be placed int he first-person perspective. The game was innovative and revolutionary, from the gameplay mechanics to the visual design. Visually, Battlezone was designed as a wireframe world with vector graphics. There would be neither details nor textures. Instead, the lines would make out shapes and enemies. The environment was fully 3D, allowing the player to take cover behind structures and maneuver around hostiles.

Playing Battlezone: Gold Edition provides a plethora of sensations, providing something that is classic, but familiar, old, but refreshingly new. The game maintains the classic mechanic of being inside a tank and seeking enemies but also introduces modern enhancements, such as new weapons, new enemies, battlefield tactics, and online co-op. It looks and feels like a genuine sci-fi tank simulator, with a visual and audio presentation that feels pulled straight from Tron. Of course, this sensation isn’t without a challenge, and the game features plenty of that.  As it puts players against an entire army, ruled by an alien artificial intelligence. The enemy will send a variety of aircraft and tanks against the player, including the dreaded nemesis tanks. The objective is to destroy the AI core at the base of a volcano, which will shut down the entire army and render it defenseless. In other words, this is the journey to Mount Doom, but with guns and laser fire.

Battlezone; Gold Edition isn’t entirely about shooting enemy vehicles. The game gives a surprising amount of accessibility and tactical options. Battlezone Gold Edition plays out on a titled, hexagon battlefield, where each tile represents a potential battle, supply base, or random encounter. The tiles glowing white are enemy shield installations, which protect the AI core in the final battle. If players can dispatch these units, they will be able to have an easier time in the final battle with the AI core. Ultimately, it is up to players how they want to engage the enemy. Players can either make a beeline to the enemy core or investigate every tile.

The more enemies destroyed, the more credits are obtained, which can be used to purchase additional lives, power units for the tank, or brand new weapons to wield. The new weapons in Battlezone: Gold Edition are fantastic! With each one possessing an interesting trait. Machine guns can rip into an aerial target or light vehicles, but heavy cannons and railgun are best for heavily armed tanks. Additionally, players can either engage alone or with three other pilots in online and local co-op. When there is a squad put together, the game, which is already a solid solo experience, becomes even better, as four different pilots utilize their own tanks and weapons to take the enemy down. From attacking a convoy to defending a base, there is no shortage of entertainment in Battlezone: Gold Edition, especially with friends.

As for the difference between the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, that comes in framerate and load times.  The PlayStation 4 version of Battlezone: Gold Edition will naturally have a higher framerate and quicker load times. The Nintendo Switch has a small framerate, at 30fps, and a slightly longer load times. But, the differences don’t hamper the core experience of Battlezone Gold Edition on the Switch, especially with the ability to take the experience everywhere you go.

Battlezone: Gold Edition is a must-have on the switch and PS4. It’s gameplay mechanics are incredible and the presentation is wildly sharp. It’s a good time if playing alone, but an even better time with friends. Nearly 40 years later, Battlezone proves it’s legendary status with a new iteration that maintains the classic gameplay and brings enhancements

This latest edition is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch.

Battlezone: Gold Edition
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL; DR

Battlezone: Gold Edition is a must-have on the switch and PS4. It’s gameplay mechanics are incredible and the presentation is wildly sharp. It’s a good time if playing alone, but an even better time with friends.

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