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BATTLESHIP - Preview

posted 14 May 2012, 06:48 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 14 Jun 2012, 13:22 ]
BATTLESHIP will be arriving in stores later this week, and as an adaptation of the storyline present in the upcoming film as well as the turn-based principles of the original board game, it can be said that the development team has multiple targets to reach out to. But what is BATTLESHIP trying to do, exactly? Serve as a faithful re-creation or a slightly different take on the familiar mechanics? Last week I had a chance to check out a demonstration of the game in action, and based on what I've seen, I'd say it's wedging itself between those two ideas. While the gameplay seems decent, I'm still interested in seeing where and how far the developers go with it as it runs its course.

Each armed with their own set of units, battles will have naval allies face off against the aliens to take command of control points at sea. Out on the battlefield, each team will alternate turns, using any of the vessels in play to move into place for a defensive maneuver or go on the attack against a nearby foe. Each ship has its own range of units it can travel to, and whether you or an enemy is the one responsible for the triggering of an attack, quick cutscenes will take place fairly often to show the attack being executed. If you attack from behind, you can do more damage than you would if you were to direct your blows to the side or the front of a ship. Additionally, special moves can be performed for even greater damage, but at this point, I have little familiarity with the extent to which they can be applied. It could be that this is true across the board, but in the map that was chosen for the demonstration, there existed a landmark that allows you to deploy two different vehicles if you make your way over there, but you can only send out one per visit.

Speaking of the Nintendo versions specifically, the developers did not deem it necessary to retain that core change attribute of having first-person segments. These have instead been sort of replaced by a shooting mini-game of sorts where you aim at oncoming missiles emerging from the main vessel at close-range and fire using the B Button. This vessel -- the Stinger Orca -- can be seen as the main threat that you have to take down, but because of the impact defeated enemies will have on its attack power, it makes sense to eliminate the minions first before taking down the leader. The game is arguably more family-friendly this way, but could the game potentially be seen as having refrained from taking any notable risks because of it? Perhaps. But now's not the time to be making any rash judgments.

It is my understanding that the mechanics will develop as you go along, with elements such as invisible off-the-radar ships that must be considered in your strategy, but beyond that I have little to think in terms of how BATTLESHIP could grow as a game. How will other maps and even the other officers influence the game design? And besides the interest in seeing where the turn-based system could go, I'm also curious to find out how this will trickle down to the environment of a multiplayer experience.

When all is said and done, does BATTLESHIP have the power to make waves? Well, I first wouldn't say there's a lot riding on this. After all, I'm sure some are already counting it out just as a licensed property. But with roots to draw from -- the film and the original board game -- perhaps BATTLESHIP will shape up to be a fun bout for those who have enjoyed what Hasbro has done outside of the game space. We'll have to wait and see if Activision's attempts here towards a full-fledged project will result in anything worthwhile.

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