There’s no doubt that the board game Battleship is one of the best ever made. Unfortunately, Battleship the video game, which is based on the new movie, is actually a strategy game that’s like the board game – but not nearly as much fun.
Activision for Wii
Replay Value: 6.5
Overall Score: 4.7
Pros: Duel Mode. Missions get harder as you go along.
Cons: Too small to be a console game. Awful music. Seems like a 1990s game.
The game starts with only a few seconds of setup. The movie’s stars don’t play their roles in the game. In fact, there’s no animated, talking human being present at all. There’s a cartoon graphic of Captain Noland, your leader, and lines of text you have to read.
I’m not against reading in a game. In fact, I love the Nintendo role-playing games on the DS (especially the Zelda games) that engage me with a wondrous story. But during Battleship, the lines are really cliché. You just get orders and an occasional pat on the back. Your character, Danny Hunter, isn’t animated, either. And Danny’s first words on the screen have a punctuation error.
At that time, you see a ship in the water. The ship isn’t even moving in the water. It’s just sitting there. Ugh.
Mission 1 is your tutorial mission, but if you make an error like moving to the wrong place, no one tries to correct you. You’re told to place your various ships along squares on a grid. Once near a foe, you can either attack their boat or defend your position. The attack is seen from above in a kind of birds-eye view. Even when you attack properly, sinking the boat gives you no thrills because what you see is so far away.
A BRIGHT MOMENT
Things become a little more adventurous for you as a gamer when a big jumping metal orca of an alien ship arrives. You’ve probably seen it on TV. It’s ginormous, an awesome sight. There’s a scene of the giant thing shooting missiles at you. Here, the animation is quite good.
Finally, the game is allowing you to do something cool. You get to duel it out with the alien ship. Your goal is to target various weak points on the vessel and shoot at them. Where are the weak points? Just move your Wiimote over the big boat. When you find the place to attack, a red circle becomes a green circle. Shoot!
There aren’t nearly enough moments like this one, however.
Battleship seems like it would have been better as a game for the DS or iPad than as a full-fledged Wii game. It’s just not big enough, bad enough, exciting enough to make it as a console game. In fact, the developers who made the game have worked only on handheld games prior to this one. They’re not used to making big games, and it shows.
The technology used in Battleship often looks like something from before you were born. Most of the Wii games released today try to work within the limits of the system to achieve great things as far as graphics and gameplay go. But not Battleship.
Overall, this is the most lackluster offering I’ve ever reviewed for Boys’ Life. It’s a shame because even a board game turned into a movie deserves an excellent video game to go with it.