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Review: Battleship

by onAugust 16, 2016
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It’s seems like it’s a summer full of interactive board games thanks to Ubisoft and Hasbro. Following the release of Risk: Urban Assault (which we reviewed a short while ago), Ubisoft gives us Battleship, the iconic hit-and-miss naval warfare strategy game. Before we start, especially for those that don’t know the board game, you should know that this is definitely Double Helix Games’ Battleship (which was based on one hell of bad movie).

So let’s start by explaining the basis of Battleship, for the rare of you that probably don’t know this board game. This board game is played with two players, one against the other, on a grid where 5 ships (from the tiny Patrol boat that is made of two coordinates or the largest Aircraft Carrier with 5 hits) are placed by the players in the initial deployment phase of the game. The goal is to sink all ships of the opponent, by guessing the coordinates as you will not see their board (basically a puzzle and a game of luck at the same time).

Battleship-Ubisoft-VGProfessional Review (11)

When setting up your ships, you’ll want to complicate to the maximum their positions, so that it’s won’t be easy for your opponent to spot multiple ships at the same time. Once all the boats are set, the game can start and one by one in turns, the two players call firing coordinates to destroy the ships. If a player hits an enemy ship, the damage is reported by a red peg will be placed on the correctly damaged coordinate on both side. If it’s a miss, then a white peg is placed instead on the board. As you might have guessed, the white and red pegs are used to respectively remember the misfires (white) and the correct hits (red). And that’s about it, at least for the classic rules.

You see, instead of just giving us yet another Battleship interactive game, Ubisoft and Hasbro propose two game rules built to spice things up: Classic and Clash at Sea. While the classic rules is obviously the one we explained above, the Clash at Sea rule is heavily influenced by the Super Weapon mode that was introduced in the EA Windows Phone version of Battleship released back in 2012. Quite interesting, Clash at Sea changes the concept of Battleship by introducing a ressource split in rockets and flares (which stocks at a count of 3 per turn), instead of just firing one shot per turn. In this mode, flares are basically a way to call a coordinate and “check” if it’s a location to attack (marked with a yellow peg) instead of wasting a perfect shot on luck.

To make things even more interesting, each one of your 5 ships has its own “signature” flare and offensive ability, and I’m not disappointed by the variety. For example your Aircraft Carrier can send a squadron of ships that can fire upon 12 different coordinates at the cost of 7 offensive points, or event launch a sonar pulse with your Submarine to detect 10 random coordinates at the cost of 6 flare points. (flare and offensive points are marked as red and white cubes). That’s 10 new abilities to try out and which you will eventually learn to master thanks to a smart tutorial mode in the game.

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In terms of mode, Battleship has both online and offline capabilities, so you can play against your friends via Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, or even in the same room with a pass-and-play system. For those that are more of a solo player, the game offers you a campaign with a “story” which are split into 30 missions that have interesting challenges. While by base it’s all the same, and the story is rather cliche, the objectives are quite varied, forcing you to destroy your opponent’s ships in less than 10 turns, or even try to win with two of your ships already sunk.

My only problem with the game will not be the graphics, which are the bear minimum to pass for a console game, filled with quirky simple animations and special effects to break the routine. No, my problem with this game is the soundtrack and the slow gameplay. You see, when you are playing alone, each flare and shots executed launches a bunch of really long animations, which I wish could be skipped, especially when you are waiting for the AI opponent (or friend) to finish his own turn. Topped with the most boring “warfare” music loop, and trust me you’ll think twice before attempting to go through the entire campaign mode, unless you are a trophy or achievement junkie. Hell, it’s not even that hard to finish the thirty levels of the game, it’s just difficult to fight the boredom, especially when you playing missions that force the ressource to be refilled by one point per turn (that devilish mission took more than 90 minutes to finish).

Battleship was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code provided by Ubisoft Middle East.This game is also available on PlayStation 4 via digital release. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.

What we liked

• It’s Battleship on your console
• Clash at Sea mode adds new strategy.
• Easy to pick up and play.
• A great deal of replay value.
• A bargain when it comes to price tag
• Online and Offline versus modes
• Perfect for Achievement/Trophy collectors

What is not fun

• Graphically isn’t amazing.
• Slowest gameplay pace ever.
• That soundtrack which is the most boring 2 music loop ever
• Really unfair AI/Luck sometimes.
• Lack of online players.
• Rare bug where your turn would not end (required rebooting the game)

Editor Rating
 
Concept
8.2

 
Graphics
6.5

 
Sound
4.5

 
Playability
8.6

 
Entertainment
7.2

 
Replay Value
9.0

Final Score
7.3


Our final verdict
 

Hasbro and Ubisoft's Battleship is as one would expect: beautiful enough to ask for $15 and at the same time adding an innovative new rule to mix things up.

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