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Battle: Los Angeles


I'm somewhat surprised that 70 million dollar, sci-fi action film that was marketed extremely heavily the weeks preceding the release only got an arcade title tie-in to hit the gaming market.  However, I absolutely commend Saber and Konami for not attempting to stretch out the length and package this game as a $60 release.  There are too many poor quality movie titles that take advantage of the gaming public.  Battle: Los Angeles is priced at $10 for the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace and is targeted at fans of the movie.  The events in the game closely follow the larger set pieces in the movie, so you are going to see spoilers if you haven't watched the movie. 


battle los angeles fight

This is a typically FPS game with the enemies being the large gray aliens with some heavy duty weaponry. The default settings on the controls feel extremely sluggish, but Saber included a sensitivity adjustment to help with that.  However, it never seemed as if they struck an even balance between weapons.  Movement also feels like the main character is plodding along rather than in the fight of his life.  You only have three weapons to choose from: a sniper rifle, M16 and the rocket launcher.  It would have been cool if the humans eventually got access to the alien weapons, but I'm guessing that wasn't in the film.  The damage notification system is similar to Gears, but the screen has a gray tint and everything slows down dramatically. 

There is no multiplayer mode in the game, likely due to the short development cycle to release the arcade title with the movie.  It really feel missing from the release and doesn't help the replay value.  However, the developer does want you to play through the game on all the difficulties to knock out the achievements (Difficulty achievements don't stack).  The 12 achievements are also directed at completing levels, killing enemies with the various weaponry and unlocking all the achievements for the final 50 points.  There's nothing particularly creative about the set, but requires a fair chunk of time to complete all of them. 

battle los angeles giant ship

Graphics:

The in-game visual engine is definitely the best thing that this game has going for it.  It's probably on par with early Xbox 360 shooters like Battlefield 2 or Call of Duty 3.  It's interesting to see this level of graphical detail in an arcade title, likely the cause of it's hefty 1GB download size.  Character models don't have the most fluid animation, but the details on their uniforms look great.  Much of the environment is destructible, something typically not seen in an arcade title.  Unfortunately, I occasionally got stuck in the environment objects and had to restart at the last checkpoint.  The color scheme is just as washed out at the movie though as a layer of filth covers the city.  The engine for the cutscenes, however, is hideous. 

Audio:

Not surprising, the voice acting is terrible.  I'm not sure if the voice actors lined up to record material for the arcade release, but I think I heard Aaron Eckhart in the game.  Either way, the quality is sub par and often times too ridiculous to be taken seriously.  Gunplay sounds great at times, but the balance is way off.  There were times when I couldn't hear my own gunfire or teammates speak over the alien gunfire.   I found it to be extremely annoying over my sound system. 

battle los angeles explosion

Conclusion: 

The length of the game is completely dependent on your difficulty.  If you play on Easy, you can breeze through the entire campaign in 30 to 45 minutes.  If you crank it up a bit, you are likely looking at a couple hours of playtime.  Unfortunately, the lack of multiplayer extremely hamstrings the replay value.  You really have to be into achievements to play the game again.  If you loved the movie (certainly none of the Rotten Tomatoes critics qualify) and you adore first person shooters, you may get some very brief enjoyment out of Battle: Los Angeles.  For everyone else, I'd probably skip this in favor of an arcade FPS with multiplayer like Breach.