By Eric T. Baker

Early last year, Nintendo released a new game console with the unlikely name of Wii. Anyone reading this column has probably heard of it. In fact, anyone reading this column has probably considered buying one, at least for their kids. The thought that might be holding them back, however, could be, “Well, bowling and golf are all well and good, but can I refight many of the important battles of World War II on it?” Well, with the release of Electronic Arts’ Metal of Honor: Vanguard, the answer is an emphatic yes.

Everything that MoHV will do on the Wii, it will also do on the Playstation 2. The difference is the controls. MoHV is a first-person game where the player takes the role of Frank Keegan, a corporal of the 82nd Airborne. As the player wins battles, Frank rises in rank and responsibility, but the start of each battle (and they are the big ones: Market Garden, Husky, Neptune, Varsity, and so on) is the character parachuting (or glidering) in behind enemy lines and setting about making a ruckus. In fact, the player can start nearly anywhere on the battlefield, although green smoke flares indicate spots of particular advantage.

On either game, the player can direct Frank with the controller buttons in ways that are pretty standard now for run and shoot games of this type. On the Wii, players will also be able to direct Frank using simple, intuitive gestures. Flicks of the pointer control will make Frank jump, crouch, aim, reload, and spin about. It’s fun. And while MoHV is not a hardcore simulation of WWII combat, it is an involving game with some very well modeled WWII tropes.

For players who don’t have a Wii, but who picked up a 360 during the recent price drop or who still prefer their trusty PC for gaming, there is Battlestations: Midway from Eidos. Despite its name, the game actually models combat in several Pacific sea battles. This is a hybrid game where the players jump back and forth on the fly between controlling their whole fleet on a strategic screen and piloting individual units on a tactical one. For example, the game lets the player set the formation of the carrier group, pick the armament of the planes, and then jump into the cockpit of a fighter and lead the strike on the enemy before bouncing back to pilot a destroyer against a Japanese sub. It is a very fast-paced simulation where victory comes from properly combining arms.

Set in a World War II where Hitler died almost at the start, War Front: Turning Point from CDV Software is available only for the PC. The two different single-player campaigns use the real war as a frame, but the game’s scifi take on the conflict with players harvesting resources and building bases in classic real-time strategy style as they also buy their way up the technology tree to not just super bombers and jet fighters, but power armored infantry and multiturreted tanks. It is a perfectly entertaining game for players who enjoy the RTS experience and who like alternate history.

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