Going into Battleship, I attempted to be as optimistic as possible. The gameplay, from what I read, sounded as if it was a legitimate attempt at creating a game based on a movie, based on a board game: an FPS with RTS elements. However, from the title screen onward, the game felt like a cheap cash-in that would have been released at $40 on PSOne or at $20 during the last generation of gaming. Somehow it has found a way to be worth $60 in this gen, but Battleship doesn't really have anything to take to the bank.
Starting immediately with a choppy and grainy CG movie, Battleship places players in the shoes of Cole Mathis (no Liam Neeson or Rihanna here), a new recruit who is somehow called "Master Chief" on his first day on the job. The game doesn't really tell you much aside from there being an alien invasion near some islands, and you and your troops are stranded from the rest of the armed forces.
Gameplay consists of modern standard FPS fare, running and gunning through levels, with a two weapon limit, where the player character auto heals. Where the game tries to set itself apart is through the managing of ship in the ocean surrounding levels. Pressing the left button brings up a grid showing Navy ships currently in the area, as well as alien ships around the area. Cole cannot attack these ships directly and must command the Navy's ships to attack and sink them instead. These ships can be upgraded through wild card power-ups dropped by enemies in levels, and they're made pretty powerful. In addition to making ships attack power increase, there are cards that heal ships, revive sunken ships, and allow direct control of ships for 20 seconds. Ships from both sides are also able to take over certain points in the sea that allow either side to call in help from the ships to do things such as drop missiles or jammers that stun opposing soldiers.
While the ability to control ships in Battleship sounds like it would make the game feel different, it’s only a veil to hide extremely linear gameplay. The game is filled with invisible walls, and it just pushes the player forward; eventually the player will start pushing forward just to be through with the game. Enemies take too many shots to die from weapons not named the Shotgun or Railgun, and grenades take too long to explode to be of any real use. The aforementioned support available by taking over certain spots on the map is not useful at all, instead having players hold the trigger, which by the time the attack is actually needed will have the player killed by the enemy they need destroyed. When controlling the ships in your fleet, the game just boils down to slapping the triggers in a frenzy; when I tried to be sensible and strategic with my weapons, I lost.
The graphics and audio in Battleship are not too good for a game released in 2012. Everything looks notably low-res, with textures getting worse as the character moves closer to them. The environments are presented separately, as a completely new level, but the environments shown in different times of day are extremely similar. Sound bites and the ending of levels are defined by very tiny triggers in some places, or they pop up at the wrong time.
Battlefield is a game whose existence in the marketplace is very questionable. With movie-based and licensed games slowly climbing out of the gutter that they were once in, playing it leaves me wondering why the game was even made if it doesn't do anything unique, and why is it sold at retail rather than as a downloadable title? The game feels as if it were released in the event that the movie becomes a major hit. There is really nothing that captures the nature of the battlefield board game here at all, aside from a weak attempt with the injection of some strategy.
GameDynamo's Score for Battleship (PS3)
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