Battle Los Angeles

The main point of this review will not be to establish if Battle: Los Angeles is a bad game. It is. Instead, I'm going to try and figure out if this can fall into the "so-bad-it's good" genre. The storyline defiantly offers up hope.


Aliens invade Los Angeles. Why? We’re not sure. Saber Interactive make an online shooter based on the film. Why? We’re not sure.


You are a U.S marine trying to rescue a bunch of civilians from a police station (because if cops can’t protect them, the army will) in a city that’s swarmed by invading aliens. Anyone who’s ever watched a classic B grade film knows that such simplistic plots can lead to great fun. Independence Day is an example. Sadly, the potential for cheesy lines, cheap scares, and fun in-jokes never develops. You’ll be finished after about an hour. Not the level, the game. But “that’s what Marines do.” HUA.


If you saw Battle: Los Angeles at the movies, and were desperate for the action not to end, then this should do the trick. Playing this is remarkably similar to watching the film: You pay too much, wonder half way through if you've been ripped off, then it ends and you feel slightly wrong.


The graphics are respectable but flat and ironically lack the visual oomph that a story like this usually relies on. Also, the frame rate appears to slow in some of the bigger scenes. Considering how little modern systems are being pushed, I'm still trying to figure out how that's possible. Of course LA is a great city for this type of action, and there is something appealing about throwing a frag grenade at a car - but this has been done much better in other shooters. I’m sure none of the aliens designers had played Mass Effect, in- spite of Geth-like features. It’s not like the Mass Effect 3 trailer... moving on.



Cut scenes come in the form of comic book style panels that maintain the same consistent level of not-very-goodness. While strangely improving the narrative, it’s the lack of quality comic art that almost sums up the half-hearted attempt the designers have made.


Again, with the sound, it's a matter of generic filler mostly. Voice acting is solid, but unremarkable. The sound effects do the trick but nothing more, and the script is about as appealing as an episode of Stargate Atlantis.


Sound, Sight, and Script could be all be lacklustre if the game-play came through. Unfortunately the developers appeared to look at all they had made and think “why try now?”. So your marine will meander towards inevitability, emptying clips into aliens, then luckily finding replacement clips. Snipering is only recommended if you absolutely have to, or want to drag out the game and get your money’s worth. Also, experienced shooters will want to ramp up their settings to move faster.



Choosing between Assault Rifle, Sniper, and Rocket Launcher (which are always luckily located near places they're needed), you’ll also occasionally get to mount a turret and let loose on the most badly organised invasion army ever. Tactics? What tactics. The classic “lets-just-stand-around-and-see-what-happens” invasion plan appears to be at work here. Not that your squad are shining examples either but, even on harder levels, the main challenge is to maintain your interest. Like most of the game, the AI appears to be apathetically simple.


What’s the most dissapointing is that Saber Interactive are responsible for the great little Sci-Fi FPS TimeShift. It may be unfair to compare the two, as Battle: Los Angeles is obviously confined by the film it is tied to. However, even with such parameters, there are ways for a developer to make something more engaging and entertaining than this. Saber just comes off lazy here. The meagre rewards unlocked by campaign completion will probably be on the blu-ray extras anyway.


All in all, Battle: Los Angeles is the gaming equivalent of buying a gourmet mince and cheese pie - you’ll be uncertain you’ve got your money’s worth, and pretty sure you could have done a better job.

"The people who brought you TimeShift have taken the money and run..."
- Battle: Los Angeles
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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Comments Comments (7)

Posted by Cocophony
On Thursday 7 Apr 2011 3:33 PM
Nice review. Definitely not going to be getting this. Didn't much like the movie either.
Posted by Xenojay
On Thursday 7 Apr 2011 4:00 PM

Why MW2? Cause the story in that game was MEDIOCRE, so it would've been easy to work an alien premise into it compared to working it in to MW.

Posted by mrblobby666
On Thursday 7 Apr 2011 6:27 PM
I actually quite liked the movie, shame the game isn't up to par.
Posted by Vicx
On Thursday 7 Apr 2011 9:14 PM
how could anyone like the movie?! It was the biggest disappointment ever. I thought this would be the movie to redeem Skyline, but it was the other way round..
Posted by Astarael
On Thursday 7 Apr 2011 10:09 PM
It's sad that alien movies just aren't as good as they used to be.
Is it because we are starting to run out of alien permutations? After Dr. Who, Hollywood isn't exactly left with a lot to work with. So they start pumping out copy after copy after copy of the same stuff. Haven't seen the movie and I don't intend to nor do I intend to play the game. I guess it will go on the Everest sized mountain of failed movie games.
Good review for a bad game.
Is is just me or do other people want another X-Files movie?
Posted by cortez72
On Friday 8 Apr 2011 12:29 PM
They must be making an acceptable profit from misinformed Aunt's and Grandparents buying little Joey the game he went and saw last month with his friends.

Surely anyone who has been playing games, even just for a few years, knows that these titles are awful. I don't even allow myself to pinch the cover in a "picking up motion", just push it out of the way to get at the game sitting nextdoor.

Thanks for the review, sorry you had to play it, at least it only took an hour. I read this to justify what I thought the title would be like.
Posted by abe24
On Tuesday 24 May 2011 2:01 PM
I didn't think it possible to make a game worse than that atrocity of a film but they pulled it off. Well done. It's crap like this that gives video games such a bad stigma.