When you first start the game you will probably be a tad confused as to how to actually play it, as Battlestations: Midway does something a lot of games have tried to do in the past but failed. That is, build an action game which has strong RTS elements allowing you to take control of any unit on the battlefield. This is no doubt the first game that will succeed with this formula if preview builds are anything to go by.
In both Single Player and Multiplayer you take control of an army, either the US or Japanese, and the units associated with that. The best way to explain this is to talk about how a game begins. For instance, you start off with control of a shipyard which can then launch destroyers or aircraft carriers and they in turn can launch aircraft of various types such as bombers and fighters. Battlestations: Midway gives you an unprecedented amount of control over your units and, the thing is, it actually works. This is because the AI and map screens seem to work well in tandem.
The unbelievable thing is that this translates to multiplayer as well. This is not a 'drop in and drop out' type of game, as you do take control of an entire enemy army or section of army when playing in multiplayer. So just like in single player, you have to move all units, give orders and play like an RTS when taking on opponents via Live. This is the feature that the developers hope will sell the game, and after some play time with a preview, they have definitely done this section of the game right. The engines for both flying and naval combat seem realistic and it remains a pick up and play game despite having some very serious and realistic overtones to the gameplay.
One thing we have to point out at this stage is the graphics are really not all that great. We are giving Eidos the benefit of the doubt right now but this could end up being one of the worst looking 360 games in 2007. However with such a unique and innovative style of play, it may not be as big a problem as expected. Gameplay over graphics - always.
Battelstations: Midway is starting to gain a bit of hype and may turn out to be a big game for Eidos and its team. It has a unique game mode, interesting setting and strong online play; all the elements needed for a successful game. Time will tell whether the game is too unique and innovative for its own good, but this is a game that action fans should definitely keep an eye out for.