The Hasbro train has been running at full steam in theaters, first with the Transformers film franchise, and now with some, let's say less traditional properties making the rounds soon. Battleship, based on the classic boardgame, is hitting theaters this summer, and will be getting the videogame treatment as well. Battleship: The Game combines first-person shooting and some strategy elements that give the game a unique feel.
Battleship's story occurs concurrently with the plot of the film, which sees an aquatic alien threat attacking humanity and the navy intervening in the Pacific to take them out. The whole Rim Pack (the area where your naval units are located) is completely cut off from the rest of your fleet, and left with no radar. You won't find yourself interacting with any characters from the upcoming film as you embody the role of Cole Mathis, a fairly nondescript new character who works as both boots on the ground and the eyes of the navy, as you attempt to stave off the alien invasion.
The main component of the game falls into first-person shooting. You land on islands in the set archipelago, and take on alien foes using both standard weaponry and alien technology. During a brief game demo, Cole stormed a beachhead, killing off enemy soldiers and setting explosives at their embankments to protect his naval units. The aliens have more than just standard soldier units at their disposal, including shredders, which are rolling robotic enemies capable of hunting you down and attacking you while in cover. Additionally, the alien weaponry that you can use in the game includes the KRAW, a minigun-type weapon that gains accuracy the more you hold down the trigger. However, much like the game's hero, the FPS action was fairly nondescript stuff.
What Battleship really brings to the table comes from the naval meta-game. In addition to your duties on the ground defeating enemies and capturing points on the map, you'll also have control of some ships. You'll position your ships across the map grid, utilizing special card pick-ups that you get during the FPS sequences. You'll even get control of your ships' gunfire for a few seconds at a time, letting you unleash a barrage of attacks capable of downing opposing ships. All the action unfolds in real-time, and you'll have enemy ships not just firing on your naval units, but also launching attacks at your character's very position.
The game's balancing act of moving between the two elements is the strongest thing going for it. You'll constantly have to switch between the two modes on the fly and in the middle of firefights. As the two modes directly correlate to each other, you'll have to react quickly and keep the plates spinning in tandem.
Unfortunately, due to some licensing issues with Hasbro, the version of Battleship based on the actual board game won't be included in the mix. Still, if the concept of strategic naval battles mixed with FPS gameplay intrigues you, then Battleship might be one worth waiting for.
Steven Hopper is the Executive Editor for IGN's Xbox channels. Check him out on MyIGN and Twitter.