Lackluster gameplay and sub-par storytelling stop Battle: LA from living up to the film.
Movie games have a stigma around them in the video game industry. Everyone just expects them to be a simple cash grabs and have a quality akin to B movies. Well I can say, after playing Battle: Los Angeles The Game, that is pretty much what the game is. Just a fair warning if you haven’t scene the film, I will be talking about major plot points and what some people may deem as spoilers.
When the game first starts you are greeted by these “motion comic” type cut-scenes, which gave me some not-so-fond memories of Dead Space: Ignition. You get the gist of the story and this is my first major complaint with the game. You are going through what the game developers deemed as the major plot points, but some of the time they are totally different from what actually happens in the movie. Example, you are protecting Sgt. Nantz, the protagonist from the film, as he places a radio at the gas station so you can take down the enemy drone. The only problem is that in the film he does this alone, and he uses C4 to blow it up… not some random sniper shot from your character. There are some major plot points from the movie that lose all emotion, like the stand-off on the overpass. This game could have gone in a very interesting direction, if it acted as an epilogue to the film. Spoilers: The good guys win and at the end they go back into the city to clean up the remaining aliens. The developers pretty much could had had free reign with the plot at this point, but instead they decide to rewrite the film so that it would fit better into a linear monster closet game style.
Besides the plot other problem areas are the length and gunplay. First off, this game is shorter than the film. It took me roughly 90mins give or take 10 to beat it on all three difficulties. The quickest being Easy, which I blazed through in about 20 or so minutes. So for about $12 I can go to a movie theater and watch the film which has the proper story, better action and a better effects… or I can pay $10 and get a Madlibs take major plot points, filled in adjectives story, stale action sequences and Photoshop lens flares. With both running about the same time, I think you can see which one I would rather spend my hard earned money on.
The gunplay also is just not very enjoyable. Throughout the game you have two weapons to choose from, the M16 or a rifle. The rifle for the most part, if you can aim, is a one hit kill weapon, but the problem with it is the horrible reload animation. If you watch the video I included at the bottom you will see what I am talking about. Every time you fire the weapon it takes you out of the zoom and you have to see your character reload. It is very frustrating when you have to re-zoom and find the target after a missed shot. The enemies also seem to be bullet sponges and do not follow the fiction of the film. In the film it is mentioned that they have a weak-point where the heart on a human would be, to my knowledge this does not exist in the game. Just take out your rifle and aim for a foot… instant kill.
I still enjoyed some things about Battle: Los Angeles though. Mostly the mods that you unlock by beating the game on different difficulties. It reminded me back to my days in middle school when I would play Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. So there are three different mods to get, Double Physics, Big Head Mode and Enemies already take an insane amount of hits so lets make them take more Mode. Big Head Mode is always a welcomed expansion, but I was sad that only the enemies got big heads, my squadmates were still normal. The only problem there is with having these mods is that I want more. Why not have the trophies, which are very easy to get 100% of, unlock other mods. It probably would have had me playing the game some more. There are also some behind the scenes type videos and photos that you also unlock. These mostly consist of different render tests or raw footage from the film, along with some concept art.
So to wrap this up, this is a short experience that does not leave a good taste in my mouth. The film is better in all aspects and I would rather you just go see that. This could have been something that furthered my enjoyment of the film but instead it just left me asking why.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Chris K's Score:
What I Like:
What I Dislike: