Even with the seemingly dumb premise that’s told in the film there was still the chance that Battleship: The Game could be something fun for gamers to experience. Aside from constantly snickering and finding myself in awe from all the wrong reasons, my journey with Battleship: The Game was simply repetitive, boring, and simply made me question the motives of big companies and what they deem suitable for the video game market. The game doesn’t have any major good merits as it’s simply akin to cardboard box, it’s exists and can be messed around with but there’s not much there to begin with.
+ Trophies/Achievements are easy to acquire.
+ Seeing the battles at sea while I was on the ground was a nice element.
- Game is simply as ugly as a barnacle.
- FPS combat is weak and the battles at sea lack any skill aside from button mashing.
- No multiplayer, bonus modes, or co-op makes the game a one and done experience.
- Story is told in such a careless way, even by the standards of dumb Hollywood action movies
Not since Street Fighter: The Movie – The Game has something so ridiculous potentially caused the fabric of space and time itself to rip as people ponder about something as endlessly as what the number 42 means. The perplexing question at hand now is why we have a video game adaptation of Battleship: The Movie – which as you may know is a major film adaptation of a classic board game one would never expect to receive a $200 million budget. Figuring out why there’s a game adaption of Battleship: The Movie may be tough to figure out but one would assume that Activision signed a deal with Hasbro that encompasses all of their properties thus we have the downright terrible and completely pointless experience that is Battleship: The Game.
I’ll be open in saying that I decided to review Battleship: The Game, which makes me feel silly as I type it, because I occasionally enjoy playing games that are abundantly bad. I don’t think anyone will be fooled by thinking Battleship will be an underrated gem or a potential goldmine since even Activision, the publisher and developer of the game, has literally sent the game to sea with no life rafts, no flares, and a barebones staff- basically giving it no chance to stay afloat or to be rescued.
Going into the game version of Battleship I decided it would be best to see the actual film it’s based on. Despite the mixed reactions Battleship: The Movie has had and the seemingly dumb nature of it, I did enjoy the film for what it was: a silly action movie. Sure, I felt a bit bad that I paid full price to see that dude from “Friday Night Lights” and Rihanna battle aliens on the high seas, but I didn’t walk away from the movie feeling dirty or like I should be punched for contributing to a “terrible” cause. While I won’t go into a mini-review of Battleship: The Movie I just wanted my thoughts to be known since the game adaptation of Battleship is as bad as a HD game can be at this point; basically it’s the bottom of the barrel stuck in a cellar 1000ft below ground.
Battleship: The Game is indeed based on the movie but its story is simply inconsequential to its proceedings. The loose narrative of Battleship isn’t because the premise is silly, but because the game in a way knows that those playing it couldn’t care less about the narrative since I was seeing a giant Press Start To Skip notification at the bottom of the screen during every cutscene. When any game opts to feature a skip function then you know that things aren’t great and in Battleship they’re dreadful. Following the film, Battleship puts gamers in the role of a naval officer as they unwillingly enter a battle with an alien force who of course is intent on doing bad things to our planet since that’s all aliens ever care about doing, at least post 1980s E.T.
The so called important plot elements or mission objectives in Battleship are dished out through stylistically dull cutscenes which basically show CoD style graphical overlays and other things that are pointless to the mission itself. Any actual cutscenes involving characters in the game are virtually absent save for a few which happen early on in the game but even those, which try to mimic the Half-Life approach, simply highlight how ugly Battleship is and how the game was seemingly made on such a shoestring budget that even students would laugh at it.
In some ways Battleship should be looked at as a piece of evidence or key example of why Activision does certain things. We all know Activision for giving us games like CoD or Prototype 2, two franchises that have mega budgets, full promotional backing, and can be classified as a high-tier games without anyone rolling their eyes. Battleship on the other hand is just an oddity since it seems odd for Activision to even bother with. Seriously, were they simply saddled with the franchise that they had to make a game otherwise fear the repercussions of the toy giant that is Hasbro? The reason I bring up such a point is because Battleship is as ugly and technically low as a HD game can be without being widely looked at as a mid-tier PS2/Xbox game.
It’s never fun to critique the visuals of a game unless you’re a complete graphics whore, but what is presented to gamers and what I had the misfortune to witness firsthand in Battleship is simply an insult. With the game being set on a tropical island it may be easy for gamers to draw the apparent comparisons to Crysis or even Uncharted as both are the kings of rendering beautiful jungles in a video game. But even pushing any immediate comparisons aside, Battleship is just an ugly game in which it seems like care was thrown out the window in favor of simply getting everything done.
Battleship isn’t a technical dud since I didn’t see trees and rocks that looked like they were ripped out of Minecraft. But encountering soldiers wearing special head gear that just so happens to cover their entire face, thus there’s no need to do “pesky” or “time consuming” things like lip synching or facial animations simply made me sigh and wonder why anyone bothered to make the game to begin with. The whole soldier situation is just the start of the issues found in Battleship as it’s a game that simply exists but has no meaning, significance, or obvious respect to it at all. The Hawaiian setting of the game almost has no bearing on how the game is played as it has no character to it and most of the action takes place at facilities either erected by the humans (standard grey design motifs) or the aliens (standard dark grey motifs with a bit of color splashed in).
There is some action in Battleship that is set on the actual ocean since one would expect a game dubbed Battleship to feature said battleships blowing stuff up. Oddly enough the main source of action in Battleship is as a fps, since you know that makes so much sense for a game with naval roots. As yet another fps game in a market flooded with them and where originality is as rare as finding a white rhino that is actually alive, Battleship manages to plod along from level to level but is hardly enticing in any way.
The fps combat basically follows the genre standard which is to feature a bunch of weapons, easy targets, and no real challenge or unique moments. There is a bit of pizazz in Battleship as I was able to pick up alien weaponry and use it, but even then I was unimpressed with the weak feeling of the weapons and how some weapons needed to spin up or target a specific enemy for a few seconds before finally homing in. What’s interesting about the weapons in Battleship is that none of them feature any kind of recoil so it’s basically open season on any aliens that are roaming around. I guess the human and alien military have devised weaponry that doesn’t recoil as that’s the only logical conclusion I can gleam after playing Battleship. Either that or the developers were simply too lazy to add any unique characteristics in the game which would make gamers use an ounce of skill whilst playing.
The actual naval aspect of Battleship comes in through an element which was the only redeeming or interesting factor the game offered. While I was busy trying to enjoy shooting aliens in a jungle that looked like it was an early pass of a PS2 game, I could flip out some sort of fancy device that could command the ships and submarines roaming around in the sea. You see while I was engaged in battle I could actually see the ships in the sea, both friendly and enemy, and once I whipped out the device, which thankfully doesn’t look like an iPad, I could issue basic commands to my friendly ships in the hopes of defeating the alien menance. Actually issuing commands to ships and having them move position doesn’t make a lot of sense in the context of a faux-military game since the character I portrayed wasn’t a higher up in the Navy, but it does present an ounce of variety even if it isn’t too heavily influenced by RTS games.
The only ounce of strategy in the naval battles of Battleship comes in the form of equipping specific items called Wildcards (represented on the battlefield as giant icons enemies happen to drop once they’re dead) to ships that will result in improved armor, more effective missiles, or in some cases allowed me to directly control the ship. Being able to control a battleship sounded cool in theory, but upon entering a battle I was greeted with the unfortunate sight of a poorly rendered sea that looked like undulating jelly and two ships that were moderately rendered with enough details to make them passable. The only downside to these battles is that the actual gameplay consists of simply pressing the soldier buttons in tandem to launch attacks. Who needs direct ship control when the action is presented in an on-rails experience that typically lasts thirty seconds and ends with a poor excuse of an explosion?
Battleship: The Game is just another example of a game that was fueled by corporate greed as it’s dull, below average, and even manages to take a decent film concept and completely ruin it. The film adaptation of Battleship is pretty silly in itself, but the game still had the promise to be one of those silly yet entertaining games that we as gamers like to play and look at as a guilty pleasure. But no, what we have in the game version of Battleship is a poor excuse of product whose only real purpose it seems is to be yet another shining example of how not to make a video game and to give us an easy game to boost our Trophy/Achievement ranks.