Review: Battleship (Xbox Live)
Seriously, Battleship? A flagship (pun intended) title on Xbox Live, in the three dollar price band? That game where you call out co-ordinates to see if your opponent has a ship there? Well, if they can turn it into a film, they can turn it into an Xbox Live premium title. But is it any good?
Version Reviewed: 22.214.171.124
What you have here is the game of Battleship, on a 10x10 square grid, where two opponents take turns to fire on each other's fleet, and the first to sink the other player's ships (by finding the seventeen squares the ships fill), wins the game. That's it. Electronic Arts (EA) have done their best to spice up the game. You have very quick loading cut scenes that show your ammunition being fired into the sky during the game (but not on every turn), you'll have a birds eye view of the shells as they descend into the opponents grid, and any hits will be shown in some rather ropey CGI. This is all really nice the first time, and thankfully they're not too long after you've been playing for ten minutes.
The cut-scenes can be turned off in the options, as can the vibration which provides some haptic feedback when there is an impact. This is a nice touch, but one I can definitely do without.
There's a bundle of naval sounds, with the bosun's whistle reminding you when it is your turn, the sound of the shells flying through the air, the crump of impact, or the all too frequent disappointment of a splash when you miss. If you can imagine what you would add to a computer game version of Battleship if you've been given the assignment and you are not allowed to change the game itself, EA have done all of that, and nothing else. This really is a numbers game, programmed by the numbers, with no flair or personality.
Does this Xbox Live title add anything to the genre? Only if you've never read the rule book that came with the plastic version you played as a child. The alternative 'salvo' game is included here (you can fire once per ship you still have floating per round), as is 'superweapons' (with space based lasers, different bombs, and the ability to protect your ships, being some of the options on offer).
There is a multiplayer option, and it's not just the easy 'pass and play' option, which is present. You can play a game over Xbox Live with a friend whose gamertag you know. This is going to take some time to play, as you play a single move each and wait for the other to respond - that could happen almost straight away, or it may take a few hours.
Thankfully, I think, you can still play a single game while waiting for your distant opponent to fire.
Battleship is a strong brand name, and it has recognition. I suspect this will drive some nice sales figures in the Windows Marketplace. But it's not a game that has any depth or longevity. It's cute for a short time, but then it gets rather boring. It might label itself as a tactical game, but there's no give and take, there's no balancing offense or defence, it's simply lob your ammunition to find 17 spaces out of the 100 before your opponent does. As a 99 cent title I might have given it some slack, but at $2.99 it's overpriced and under delivers.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at