Also On: PS3
Developer: Double Helix
Battleship is based off this year’s summer action film which in turn is based off of the popular Hasbro kid’s game, wherein two players take turns calling out spots on a grid in order to sink the opposing player’s battleship. How anyone thought that this could ever translate into a film is beyond me, much less a film involving an alien invasion, but whatever, here it is.
The game is developed by Double Helix and published by Activision. Double Helix has a track record with movie-licensed titles, but was also the studio behind Silent Hill: Homecoming, which I actually enjoyed. However, Battleship is pretty much devoid of any real creativity, and offers up an extremely short, linear first person shooter experience that seems to crib its design from the basest elements of the Call of Duty franchise.
The gunplay is pretty basic; you’ll run around a number of locations in the Hawaii islands, gunning down about three different aliens across a 6 mission campaign. Shooting is handled with the right trigger, along with optional grenades, and only a handful of weapons to select from. Seriously, the arsenal in this game is severely lacking, offering only an assault rifle, shotgun, pistol, an alien mini-gun, and an alien rail gun. That’s it, with no variations, alternative firing modes, or any upgrades to speak of.
In an effort to break up the monotony of the gun fights, which feel like little more than enhanced shooting galleries thanks to the dumb as hell A.I. accompanying your foes, there’s a fleet control mechanic you can enable at various times. Certain mission requirements will involve this mechanic, which has you bringing up a small grid menu that allows you to select a few ships and direct them to different spots on the grid. Occasionally you’ll encounter alien ships to fight, which will be played out automatically, and enhanced with pick-ups found by defeating the aliens in the first person shooter portion of the game.
The ship to ship battles are largely unexciting, and generally easy to figure out. Occasionally you’ll get a pick-up that lets you take direct control of a ship in combat, but this “combat” really just involves mashing on your trigger buttons until the other ship is destroyed. There’s no real direct control for movement, strategy, or skill involved in these fights.
Moving your fleet to different spots on the map will also unlock certain perks that can be used when fighting on foot. You’ll be able to call in the occasional strike or two, raining down gunfire from nearby ships to take out a large number of aliens all at once. This is actually a pretty neat idea, but is hardly ever necessary as the enemy never really puts up much of a fight that can’t already be handled by just shooting them.
And once Battleship’s short, uneventful campaign is finished, so is your time with the game. There’s literally nothing else to keep you coming back for more, outside of hidden pegs for collectible item enthusiasts. There are no additional modes, online play, or anything that would give you a reason to replay the game, outside of achievement hunting on the harder difficulties. The fact that the game retails for full price is actually pretty shocking considering the absolute lack of content featured here.
So yeah, avoid this one. It’s a short, unremarkable romp through a movie universe that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to begin with. The actual combat isn’t particularly awful or broken; it’s just bland and not that fun, with no real redeeming qualities. Even at a discounted price, which it should have been at right out of the gate, you’d be better off passing on this one.