Battleship: The Video Game Review
Battleship: The Video Game has pleasantly surprised me. I was expecting a dull first-person shooter, but the addition of real-time control of a naval fleet at your disposal adds a lot to this game. Double Helix Games has crafted a perfectly respectable videogame adaptation to compliment the film’s upcoming release.
The story for Battleship: The Video Game, like most movie-to-game adaptations, takes place alongside the main movie’s timeline, in a faceless soldier named Cole Mathis’ shoes. Cole is an EOD expert, which makes it a bit strange that he is remotely controlling the U.S.S. Missouri and the like, but if you can forget about such inconsistencies you’ll have a good amount of fun. The plot to the movie appears bone-thin at best, with aliens attacking us U.S. Naval fleet in Hawaii, as the aliens have put some kind of dome over the fleet so they can’t call for help. The game’s plot mirrors this, but features none of the highly-paid talent of the film, like Liam Neeson and Rihanna.
The first thing that striked me when I booted up Battleship: The Video Game was how truly beautiful the graphics are. The team at Double Helix has created some gorgeous scenery worthy of Hawaii, with great lighting effects, sun rays, lush colors, and nicely rendered ocean effects. You can even see your fleet moving and battling on the shore in real-time after you give them commands. It’s certainly prettier than most movie-to-game fare, and Double Helix also created last year’s Green Lantern: Rise Of The Manhunters, which was also a much better than average looking game.
The gameplay in Battleship: The Video Game is really not bad, either. The aforementioned naval battles may sound like a bit of a gimmick, but they actually help break up the pace of the gameplay well. As you defeat alien foes on the battlefield, they’ll routinely drop cards, which you can then attribute to your naval fleet. Cards just like from the board game, which give your ships bonus armor, attack power, etc. – and one very important card, Ship Control. This card is vital, as for some reason it appears the only person who can control a naval ship properly is our EOD expert Cole Mathis- go figure. If you don’t check up on your fleet often and imbue them with the card bonuses, the fleet will sink and it’s game over. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, and blowing the hell out of alien ships with the Mighty Mo is quite satisfying. Of course, the main gameplay in Battleship: The Video Game is your standard FPS fare, and the controls are relatively tight. If you’re used to playing Call Of Duty, you’ll want to immediately up the sensitivity on the control options, or you’ll be hitting air more than aliens. The weapons are also pretty standard- pistol, assault rifle, grenades – aside from the dropped alien tech, which you’ll actually want to stay far away from if possible. It’s incredibly unwieldy, and any time the game forces your hand to use them, the game suffers a bit. The alien gatling gun in particular is so inaccurate and weak you might want to resort to your fists, but unfortunately the game has no melee. There’s only a handful of different opponents. You’ll mainly be dealing with a really annoying alien that has a charge up rail gun that can almost instantly kill you at a very long range, a huge beast that loves to run up and punch you in the face (break out the shotgun here) and your standard rifle-toting alien gunmen. There’s no multiplayer in Battleship: The Video Game, which is a bit strange since the game and movie are based off of a multiplayer board game. I think it would have made for some interesting battles, having to balance fighting ground troops and keeping your opponent from blowing up your ships.
In short, Battleship: The Video Game is an interesting spin on the FPS genre. If Double Helix had more time to work on it, it could have done with a bit more polish and variety, but as-is, it’s still better than most movie-to-game adaptations, and even manages to throw in some cool touches from the board game.