Battleship Review

Bland presentation and sloppy mechanics sink Battleship more effectively than a torpedo ever could.

Battleship has the unique distinction of being a video game based on a movie based on a board game, but that's probably the most interesting thing the game has going for it. Developed by Double Helix Games, the studio perhaps best known for Silent Hill: Homecoming and (more relevantly) for turning Square's beloved Front Mission strategy franchise into a shooter, Battleship is a disappointing first-person shooter/strategy hybrid destined for a watery grave.

Word on the street is that aliens are weak against belly button shots.

You play as EOD 1st Class Cole Mathis, and your job as the game opens is to dispose of explosives. That role evolves in the very first level when a strange object falls from the sky and interrupts a training exercise. In an instant, the Hawaiian archipelago finds itself cut off from the outside world and facing off against aliens who are launching an invasion from the sea. Your new task is to run around on land, shooting humanoid aliens and periodically ducking behind cover to give coordinates to ships that would be lost without your guidance.

Despite the mostly welcome and entirely appropriate presence of some strategy sequences, much of Battleship is devoted to clunky segments that play out on land. An onscreen indicator points you in the general direction you're supposed to move and lets you know how many yards you are away from that destination. You are left to fumble through dull landscapes that do a horrible job of making Hawaii look like a place worth saving. Generally, you head to one military compound or another, disable an alien barrier that is scrambling radio signals, and then repeat the process in the next level.

Besides being thoroughly uninventive (unless you count crates stacked in grassy fields and along ravines as creative), the game's environments are also designed inconsistently. Sometimes you can drop from ledges and scavenge for ammo along grassy slopes, but other times you smack into an invisible barrier that prevents you from descending toward shelter as gunmen pelt you with shots. There's a main path you need to follow through each stage, and you shouldn't stray from it…except when you are actually supposed to wander to find one of four useless peg collectibles hidden in each stage.

One of the game's more persistent issues is its awkward combat. While the controls feel like they were lifted directly from the Call of Duty series, something went wrong with the copy-paste job. Your weapons rarely hit their apparent target unless you get up close and personal, which is difficult when your enemies are so good at moving around and firing at you from unlikely vantage points. When you fire automatic weapons, your target reticle starts with a wide spread that only grows narrow enough to be helpful about the time you finally run out of bullets. Then you have to wait through some ridiculously long reload animations and hope that no enemies decide to rush you while you're defenseless (switching to a secondary weapon doesn't work nearly fast enough to be helpful in such cases, unfortunately).

This is as beautiful as the island gets.

Besides the issues that you encounter on land, you often must worry about unknown disasters waiting at sea--and this is where the overhead strategy sections come into play. Whenever you like, you can press a bumper button on the controller to pause the action and ever so slowly call up a grid that represents the current landmass, as well as the surrounding ocean water where your ships are positioned. As a stage progresses, alien seacraft advance and come within radar view. Your ships fire automatically at any targets that move within range, but you have to babysit your fleet's movements: the extraterrestrial boats are good at sneaking around your stronger ships and then picking off your weaker ones in rapid succession if you are distracted for too long by the FPS segments. By the time you get an explicit alert that things have gone south, they might have become bad enough that there's no hope of recovery.

You might suppose that a winning technique would be to simply focus on the naval scenes first, especially since there are a finite number of enemy ships, but the game's strategy and FPS modes are linked in such a manner as to prevent that particular tactic from working. In later stages, your fleet is doomed unless you supply it with a fairly steady stream of power-ups that you can obtain only by killing enemies on land. There's no getting around the constant back and forth.

While the unique combination of land-based segments and strategic sea battles could have proven interesting with careful implementation, Battleship's execution is flawed almost across the board. The strategic segments--though frequent--are much too brief, and you don't even get to watch confrontations unfold in an interesting manner. Unless you take direct control of a vessel by using a power-up (which only lets you press shoulder buttons for up to 20 seconds to fire a bunch of missiles and torpedoes), or you happen to be in a good position on land to look out over the waves where the important stuff is happening, the most you see from water battles are tiny silhouettes on a digital screen that turn gray when the ships they represent sink.

Using a pistol to take out four aliens armed with automatic weapons? Yeah, that’ll end well…

As disappointing as the maritime presentation is, the game's biggest problem is that the much more prevalent land segments are either tedious or annoying. In several instances, you have to defend points from alien swarms over the course of a few minutes (often while fighting poor visibility), and then you are almost always rushed by a group of brutes just as your bullet clip empties. If that leads to a failed mission objective, you have to wait 20 or 30 seconds before you can return to the previous checkpoint. Then you will likely need to reposition all of your ships on the grid and gun down a number of weak foes before you can return to the point where you previously died while trying to defend a structure or armaments. There simply aren't enough checkpoints placed throughout the stages, not when being forced to replay even small segments of the game is so thoroughly annoying.

In the event that you are immune to the game's primary flaws, Battleship still stands to disappoint you because there are only seven redundant missions and no alternate modes available to keep you busy when you're done with the campaign. The next time you're in the mood to sink ships, try the board game instead.

The Good
Interesting blend of strategy and FPS shooting
The Bad
Clumsy shooting mechanics
Boring sea battles
Missions lack variety
Nondescript environments
3.5
Bad
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181 comments
Banyek
Banyek

I played it, just finished it, and all I can say is, that the review is correct.. And when the game started showing the credits, I was like: Whaaaaaat?! already??? -Its a really short game and its an adventage, becouse people shouldnt torture themselves for long with this one... To be honest, I almost started to enjoy the mixture at the end, upgrading the ships, making the right moves, but before the learning curve got to a point where you actually start getting it... its over... 

jordan119
jordan119

with the exception of very drunk people and drugged up people ,  with about 20 other 1st person shooting games on the market why would anyone buy this ???

Corelis
Corelis

I am patiently waiting for this game to be in the bargain bin at Walmart.  I have a full collection of crappy games and this would add nicely to it.

CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

That second pic looks like 'Dead Island'...And the first one those two look like they having a GREAT time disco dancing!

ps2fatboy
ps2fatboy

hmm looks rushed and bland ,typical movie tie in

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

Kind of reads like what it is to play a Rockstar game.

jamyskis
jamyskis

It's a pity that games like this encourage the stereotype that movie-based games generically suck. We've had so many decent movie tie-ins and licensed games over the past few years - The Godfather, Quantum of Solace, the Riddick games and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were all extremely solid games.

 

Just goes to show - if you give a studio a decent amount of time, it IS possible to turn out a decent game based on a film. But they don't. The publishers just hound them to turn out trash as quick as possible to make a quick buck.

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

If there going to be making board game movies, why not Clue? Then we get crappy tie in Clue: The Video Game.

Darth_Nater307
Darth_Nater307

Another crappy movie-based video game published by Activision. Why am I not surprised?

twyz
twyz

Battleship isn't really a board game. There's no board involved.

EzcapeTheFate
EzcapeTheFate

I have to disagree, this game is easily and 8 to an 8.5. Solid controls and lengthy game play make this a must have for anybody with a game system of some kind. Even if you dont own a game system you should still buy it just to support the developers and enjoy the awesome cover art.

billlabowski
billlabowski

I was in line at Best Buy and there was a kid with his parents buying this, and two CoD games. That should tell you everything.

RAD_TRBO
RAD_TRBO

Movie based games are always pretty bad, which sucks cause its fun playing something you saw in a movie!

say0cheese
say0cheese

read this just because I saw its 3.5 score.. it's about the score I would give the movie too lol

SPLINT_STAR
SPLINT_STAR

bring Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure 2 ........plzzzzzzzzzzzz.......awesome game......

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

It's amazing that 30 years onward from the disastrous  Atari 2600,  E.T. game, developers are STILL churning out crappy movie licensed games  all the freaking time.   

DeadrisingX1
DeadrisingX1

Why am I not suprised? This is about as good as the Battle: Los Angeles game! And look at how that pile of crap turned out!

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

Damn.....I've played it and ....um....it's really not that bad. There is some fun to be had but I might add I picked it up for $15

GreySeven
GreySeven

And the movie was TERRIBLE too.

jaijames
jaijames

if someone is stupid enough to buy that game for 60 dollars u deserve what u get

 

lightningman123
lightningman123

Activision is officially one of the greediest publishers out their. It unacceptable how there are charging 60 dollars for a four hour game.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

They should have just made the board game in 3D, then again why the hell did they make a film based on a less than thrilling board game in the first place.

ninn1000
ninn1000

 @jordan119  I have to admit, that'd actually be a really fun game to play drunk making fun of everything lol

DeltaScremer
DeltaScremer

 @vsnake48 the campaign is really only like 5-hours, and even the lame one-on-one ship battles they put you in are just tedious and lacking of strategy. the ships are so easy to beat that you just mash buttons and win. DON'T BUY THIS GAME! TRUST ME, I only wish to help you.

xdrmonkeyfishx
xdrmonkeyfishx

 @RussellGorall Rockstar has turned out some really decent games. While I did not care for the fourth GTA, San Andreas and Vice City were both excellent games not to mention Red Dead Redemption and the Max Payne series.

-Bo0m-
-Bo0m-

 @blaze_boy30 They already made one; it stars Tim Curry. It's a work of art.

toddx77
toddx77

 @Darth_Nater307 Activision make a crappy movie tie in for easy cash instead of a quality movie tie in?  Who would have thought lol?

elmerfud43
elmerfud43

@EzcapeTheFate You have the worst taste in games. I don't know how somebody could possibly enjoy this piece of crap.

elmerfud43
elmerfud43

@EzcapeTheFate You easily have the worst taste in games. I don't know how somebody can possibly enjoy this game.

entereddanny
entereddanny

 @EzcapeTheFate Apart from Rockstar Games, there is no developer I support, and certainly not Activision.

 

What, you're telling us to play horrible games, just to support the developer who made these games in the first place? Get your head out of your ass man, you're going bald.

Katmando4Life
Katmando4Life

 @billlabowski What, that you're yet another person who thinks he's somehow cool and/or elite because he makes fun of the CoD series? Child please.

Dragonborn666
Dragonborn666

 @RAD_TRBO The Amazing Spiderman Game isn't bad Its even great!! But.. apart from that... yeah all movie-based games are crap.

BloodMist
BloodMist

 @suplax The Riddick games would be some of the better FPS's one could play, yes.Technically they're not based on movies though.

BloodMist
BloodMist

 @Katmando4Life There was nothing derogatory mentioned at all.Intereresting that you would jump to conclusions in such a way.

Battleship (2012) More Info

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  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • DS
    • + 4 more
    • PS3
    • Wii
    • Windows Mobile
    • Xbox 360
    Battleship follows elite demolitions specialist Cole Mathis as he clashes against an aquatic-based extraterrestrial peril in the sand and sea of the beautiful Hawaiian archipelago.
    4.9
    Average User RatingOut of 64 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Battleship (2012)
    Developed by:
    Magic Pockets, Double Helix Games, Electronic Arts
    Published by:
    Activision, Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Trivia/Board Game
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    X360 PS3
    Mild Language, Violence
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    DS WII 3DS
    Mild Violence