This slick-looking space shooter certainly packs snazzier visuals than the creaky old TV series (although, in a nice retro touch, it does zap out the same toy ray-gun sound effects). And once the game reminded me what the show was actually about (it has been a while), I dug diving back into the Galactica universe. Until the cruel mission design started blasting my buzz. One early turret level is plain ol’ busted, forcing you to defend the Galactica battleship from a torpedo barrage that seemingly can’t be shot down. Survive that (by pure luck), and you move on to a mission that demands 10 minutes of ho-hum formation flight in a stolen enemy ship, only to have you repeat the tedious process over and over when you flub the tricky follow-up objectives. In fact, many mission goals are just not clear and require a lot of trial and error to figure out. A lack of targeting options (despite otherwise excellent control) turns one escort stage into a total nightmare. Outside of a few nifty levels, the game just feels like it was launched before all systems were go.
Battlestar looks sharp, although just seeing all the old ships and hearing the trademark laser sounds (“pee-ear, pee-ear”) would've been enough to make this old-timer happy. Controls are responsive and surprisingly deep, with maneuvers that let you match a target’s speed, issue orders to wingmen, and execute barrel rolls. Problem is the game is about as friendly as a Cylon; there’s no tutorial to ease you into all those moves or the different mission types, and the difficulty spikes at odd moments, making some levels painfully tedious.
Battlestar Galactica is frustrating both in the gameplaying and reviewing sense. I like the general story line, I love the production values, and I totally dig the nostalgia of blasting old-school Cylons. Yet the missions are just so brutally hard (especially ones that involve protecting someone) that all fun gets seriously dampened, making it a chore to make it to the later levels. Ultimately, I think it's a worthy flight, but only if you have a high tolerance.