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Published on April 12th, 2012 | by Bags Hooper


Battleship: Hands-on Preview (Xbox 360, PS3)

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Battleship the game may not feature celebrity voices like True Blood star Alexander Skarsgård or Grammy Award winner Rihanna, but the game more than makes up for it with style.

Battleship, based on the upcoming film of the same name, is a combination of first-person shooter action with some elements of real time strategy. From the moment you pick up your Battle Comm to take remote control of one of your Cruisers (or one of the other ships in your fleet), you’ll realize that this FPS is in a different category from games like Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3.

We had a chance to get some hands-on time with the game and take down a few of its aquatic alien invaders.

Like most movie-adapted games of late, Battleship the Game doesn’t hinge on the movie story line but rather the events surrounding the movie. This gives the game designers a chance to be creative without the restrictions of following a 2-hour story arc.

The core gameplay remains largely the same as your typical first-person shooter. You play as Cole Mathis, fighting your way through numerous aliens on ground, while taking down their defenses. However, with your Battle Comm, you can tap into the action going on in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. At the beginning of each mission, you can direct your ships to take control of key areas around the archipelago. The map on the Battle Comm looks similar to a Battleship board, which is broken down into square regions. Using these key squares, you can position your ships to give you cover fire while you conduct land-based attacks.

Mathis has a standard set up military weapons. However, the military assault rifles are generally weak against aliens (and, as always, sniper rifles aren’t available until later in the game). Your best bet is to pick up the KRAW pulse rifle from downed enemies. This heavy gun works opposite to what you’d expect from a heavy gun. Typically, when you hold down the trigger too long your targeting accuracy drops significantly. In most games, you’ll either see your gun shift up or you’ll see the targeting reticle expand. With the KRAW pulse rifle, the targeting reticle actually gets smaller and more focused the longer you shoot. It’s an interesting change to an old mechanic that works out in your favor.

As Mathis moves through the islands, he will have to tap back into the Battle Comm in order to reposition ships for cover fire. Each ship under your command is marked in the lower-right corner of the HUD. Using the D-Pad, you can select which of your four ships you want to call in for backup. Once you do, a red targeting system will appear in front of you so that you can paint your target. It’s a great way to take down swarms of aliens or to get out of a tricky situation. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Aliens don’t stop and wait for you to paint them so you’ll have to select your target quickly or preempt the aliens’ next position. By the way, they don’t stop shooting either.

The action in Battleship doesn’t take place solely on land. While Mathis makes his way through the archipelago, enemy ships will simultaneously attack the navy’s fleet. Players will receive warning messages in the top-right corner of their screen whenever a ship is taking damage. But if you want another way to check on your ships, you can just look out to sea. Players can see most of the water-based action going on in real-time while they’re engaging in first-person combat.

Through the Battle Comm, you can reposition your ships so that they can better attack alien ships, such as the Striker and Skimmer. Players can also take control of ships by picking up power-ups dropped by enemies. When Mathis kills an alien, he may be rewarded with items such as Armor, Missiles, Torpedoes, Salvage, Repair, Leadership, Radar and Ship Control. When you enter your Battle Comm screen, you can equip ships with Missiles and Torpedoes for more firepower, or boost their defenses with Armor. Repair restores the HP of your ship, while Salvage revives a lost ship. Once you’ve outfitted your ships with a weapons boost, you can use Ship Control to take control of a ship. This power-up helps you to make short work of the enemy fleet. The game cuts over to a First-person view of alien ship and you can launch attacks using the trigger buttons on your control pad. As long as you upgraded your ship’s weapons, you should be able to win the fight. If you don’t, at least the enemy will be weakened significantly so that your AI ships can finish the job.

View the trailer:

Battleship hits the Xbox 360, PS3 and 3DS on May 15, 2012. Note: The 3DS game functions as a turn-based strategy game and is not an FPS.

Battleship on Xbox 360

Battleship on PS3

Battleship on 3DS

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