Battleship might very well be the poster child for what we’ve come to expect from your standard movie game. A very solid core is in place that could be found enjoyable by a large group of gamers, but because of a short dev-cycle, the game lacks the polish worthy of a $60 price tag and feels like it belongs more on a system from a generation or two ago with the lack of features it boasts.
One of the most glaring flaws for the game was the overall lack of plot development. You are thrown into the middle of an alien invasion right from the get go with no set-up whatsoever. You then spend only 5-7 hours, depending on your chosen difficulty level, working through some of the most generic corridor game play you’ll find only to receive a bare-bones resolution at the end with some of the worst cut scenes you’ll see on modern consoles. Also, no one from the movie is featured (I want to hear Liam Neeson yell ‘You Sunk My Battleship!’) and the little voice acting that is used is complete and utter garbage making the game play feel even more cheap and cobbled together.
The flaws don’t stop there though. The environments you find yourself in are as generic as they come. I understand most of the movie, and therefore the game, takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands, but these environments and level layouts were so uninspired that you end up re-visiting three levels again and performing nearly the same mission, but with more bad guys and doing it at night. Add in a lack of weapon choice, there being only three types of enemies on the ground, and repetitive mission objectives, and ‘lackluster’ doesn’t even start to scratch the surface for how disappointing much of the world you find yourself in is.
The game does have a single saving grace though and that is its combination RTS and FPS mechanics. Half the game takes place on the ground in your standard FPS world where you play as Cole Mathis, a bomb disposal expert who is charged with rallying the troops to fend back the alien invasion. The other half though is where you take to a satellite image that plays out like the old-school grid-based Milton Bradley board game. From here you can position your ships (up to five depending on the level, just like the board game) and must outmaneuver the alien fleet, laying waste to their various ships and protecting the coastlines along the way. By protecting the coasts, Cole can call in cannon and missile strikes from his nearby fleet to help him on the ground while he moves about sabotaging alien structures so the fleet can move more freely. By working together, and occasionally taking remote control of a respective ship’s guns to blow enemy vessels out of the water (easily the most fun aspect of the game), you should be able to overcome the alien fleet and win the day.
The RTS aspect of the game was thoroughly entertaining and I really wish there was more of it, but it also pointed out to me the game’s most severe fatal flaw: there is no multiplayer. Now, you don’t always need multiplayer for a game to be fun, but considering this is a game based off a movie really based off a board game, there should have been some sort of 2-player online versus mode with the RTS elements of the game. Even if it was just a simple version of the original grid-based game where you were guessing enemy locations and taking turns calling out grid-squares. It needed something like that and the fact there was nothing was disheartening and ultimately the final nail in the coffin for this title.
In the end, although Battleship may be one of the most successful marriages of RTS and FPS elements that I’ve seen, it lacks the depth and polish of a title worthy of a $60 price tag and so I recommend you wait until this hits bargain bin prices or rent a copy if you’re really that curious about it.
SUMMARY: The core of Battleship is fun and entertaining, and it makes you think that if Double Helix had a full-dev cycle, they could have put together a very memorable experience. As is though, Battleship feels half-finished and rushed out the door without any of the polish we’ve come to expect from a game with a $60 price tag.
- THE GOOD: Excellent blending of RTS and FPS game styles
- THE BAD: No multiplayer or plot development
- THE UGLY: Another movie game that suffers from not having a full dev-cycle
Battleship is available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and 3DS. Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.