Developer: Live Action Studios
When a studio does its utmost to hide its movie tie-in from media scrutiny, alarm bells are bound to start ringing. Konami only confirmed that they were publishing Battle: Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago after eagle-eyed IP hunters spotted it on the Australian ratings board website. The project has finally hit Xbox Live Arcade with little or no warning (and a minimum of publicity), which is enough to make you wonder whether Live Action Studios are actually ashamed of their project rather than proud of a job well done.
Thing is, you'd be absolutely right.
Battle: Los Angeles is as unimaginative as you could possibly expect from an FPS with a movie licence. Playing as a US marine, you'll shoot a few aliens, throw a few grenades, hop in a turret or two and trudge through some drab environments in an effort to clear the city of angels of its extraterrestrial scourge.
The FPS mechanics are actually fairly solid for a CoD clone (even though you'll need to change the bizarre control scheme to make it resemble most other shooters), but movement speed is extremely clunky and cumbersome. Aiming down your gunsights is especially slow, with a marked delay between holding the trigger and actually changing the view. Still, some impressive destructible scenery should have provided for fun cover-based shootouts... but sadly this was not to be.
These average mechanics are completely wasted on one of the worst singleplayer campaigns I've ever endured. Throughout your pointless slog through the gutted L.A. streets, you'll only encounter a single variety of enemy - the brown alien cyborgs, natch - who either stand motionless on rooftops or amble around aimlessly whilst firing their sidearms gangsta-style. Regenerating health makes the identical encounters laughably simplistic. A couple of hilariously easy turret sections and some escort segments (which can be truly aggravating on the highest difficulty level) unsuccessfully attempt to shake up the formula, but the whole thing is utterly boring and instantly forgettable. You'll occasionally grab a rocket launcher (one of only three weapons) and shoot down a hovering gunship or two, but even these events are simply too basic to be any fun.
The story is told through rotoscoped comic-style cutscenes that are awful without exception. The dialog is limp and cliched, and the speech bubbles are full of misprints and move too fast for the voice acting. Unfortunately this mirrors the presentation of the gameplay itself: which is bland, drab and full of jerky animations. The textures aren't too bad, and I've certainly seen worse, but the dull art design stops it from impressing in any way.
Unfortunately the worst is yet to come. Battle: Los Angeles only has three missions that can be completed in less than two hours on the hardest difficulty. FPS fans will blow through it in just over sixty minutes! A small selection of unlockables and unstackable achievements require die-hard completionists to play through each difficulty level separately... but to be blunt, this is absolutely unacceptable for 800 Microsoft Points.
Oh, and there's no multiplayer of any kind, though it's arguably a blessing considering the shoddy quality of the rest of the experience. If you haven't already gotten the message: there is nothing for you here.
- Impressive destructible cover
- Relatively solid - if stolid - FPS mechanics
- Unlockable promotional material
- Truly appalling value
- Hopeless campaign against a single enemy unit
- Terrible, rushed, awful presentation
The Short Version: Battle: Los Angeles is insultingly short, completely pointless and plain bad. Do not buy it. Fans of the film might consider picking it up during a sale or price reduction, but otherwise, this simply isn't worth the meagre two hours you'll spend playing it.