Nice try Battleship, nice try indeed. You almost had me convinced that you could be something more. That you could stand out amongst the waves of poorly produced movie tie-ins. You blew it. If I had to sum up this game in two words I would use: generic and rushed. Battleship relies far too heavily on the one interesting idea that it has, and ultimately makes the whole experience feel flat and very predictable.
At its core Battleship is a first-person shooter but it also has a trick up its sleeve. As well as dealing with enemies on land you also have to keep an eye on how your ships are doing in their battle at sea. This is the idea that I found most fascinating and during the first few missions. I was completely taken in by it. Where it fell flat for me was that it never evolved during the course of the game, which is a huge shame as I feel the idea had great potential.
You activate this mode by going into “Bat Cam”. Doing this takes you out of the first-person part of the game and presents you with a grid. On here are the positions of your Battleships and the positions of enemy ships. I like this presentation as it is a nice nod to the board game. Your aim here is to eliminate enemy ships and to acquire support positions which are highlighted on the grid. Capturing support positions at sea allows your ships to support you on land with air strikes. However if an enemy ship is in the support area then they can make your life miserable.
Killing enemies on the land will lead to them occasionally dropping ‘Wild Cards’. These are upgrades you can apply to your ships to enhance attributes such as armour, fire power and leadership. There is also one that allows you to take control of a ship for 20 seconds. This is pretty cool the first few times you do it, but all it really amounts to is placing the reticule over the enemy and firing until it blows up or the timer runs out.
Like I said before I really like this idea, however, what it lacks is execution and evolution. It’s something that can be said about Battleship in general. In terms of gameplay you see everything it has to offer within a few missions and the rest is just more of the same.
Now onto the first-person side, and believe me I have been looking forward to getting this out of my system.
Where to start? Where to start? hmmm… Let’s go with mission objectives. There aren’t many (a phrase you better be prepared for a lot in the coming paragraphs). The objectives you are tasked with are blowing up enemy terminals with C4, something you will be doing a lot, so much so that I imagine my character is some kind of anti-Santa with a huge sack of explosives slung over his shoulder. You also have to defend your own terminals from enemy ‘waves’, however I use the the term ‘waves’ very loosely as during one of the many times this objective cropped up only three enemies made an effort to sabotage my terminal within a one minute countdown. In between all of this you have to clear out enemies. It’s a game of terminal defence.
Now onto the enemies and guns – yes I’m letting them share a paragraph on account of their combined numbers not even getting into double digits.
There are three types of enemy in the whole game and two of them are essentially the same but with a different colour suit and weapon. The third enemy is a thug, these guys are heavily armoured and like to get up close and personal to slap you silly, so have a shotgun handy. Battleship gives you a whole five weapons to play with, six if you include grenades. Out of these only two are worth using: the assault rifle and the shotgun. Enemies will often shrug off an entire clip from the pistol. The alien weapon is essentially a machine gun that sounds like complete crap. Seriously I’ve heard more convincing gun sounds from a kid’s toy. One good thing is that the aiming does feel nice, however, when you shoot at the enemy I just don’t feel like the shots are going through them, it’s like there’s hardly any impact.
Overall Battleship deserves to sink to the bottom of the bargain bin. It just screams rush job. Had some of its ideas been implemented into a title with more development time then I feel they could have got the care and polish they deserve. There’s a lack of variety in all areas – and I haven’t mentioned yet that I managed to get stuck in the scenery in mission one! – and there’s no multiplayer at all. The campaign will take you five hours and kudos to you if you get that far. To top it off there’s no Achievement/Trophy called “I Sunk Your Battleship”. Well I’ve got news for you Activision, I just sunk yours!
MLG Rating: 4/10 Platform: Xbox 360/ PS3Release Date: 20/04/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Battleship by the promoter for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks on an Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.