August 18, 2009

GI Joe Rise of Cobra the Game and Movie Review


I'm sorry, but every time I talk about this game, or the movie, there's just no other way to start.

I saw GI Joe: Rise of Cobra this weekend, and it was almost 2 full hours of action. Cars flying through the air, the polar ice caps collapsing on underwater lairs... (which I totally don't understand, because ice floats... but there was steel mixed in the ice, so maybe that's it), the Eifel Tower falls down (take that France!) all kinds of awesome.

I didn't go into the movie expecting Citizen Kane, or Stop Loss, or War & Peace. I went in expecting a fun, exciting explosion filled summer blockbuster, and I got it. The movie is worth seeing - no question. There were even several twists which surprised me - not something you'd expect from an action movie based on a toy. (One of the funniest things for me was seeing "Hasbro" up on the big screen like you'd see MGM, TriStar, or Paramount....) Fans of the 80s cartoon show will appreciate it more than others - but really anyone can see this movie and have fun.

Now, on to the game. It, too, is fun for anyone who is looking for fun. I say that because you can ruin this game, this movie, or anything else, really, if you approach it with a negative attitude anyway. If you go into the movie theater expecting a thought provoking treatise on the military-industrial complex and the nature of war in a globalized geo-political culture... You're going to be disappointed. If you put the game in your system expecting to discover a new and innovative game play dynamic with ground breaking physics and AI - you too will be displeased.

But - you put the game in expecting to kill a few hours with the brain cleansing fun of blowing crap up, with the added bonus of a bit of childhood nostagila in there for the over 25 crowd - you're in luck. This is the game you are looking for.

The game play is pretty linear, and won't take forever to complete the main story. But there are side missions to explore, and 3 difficulty settings to master. There are characters to unlock, each with his or her own special attack, strengths and weaknesses. There are a ton of hidden items to find, if you are into collecting things... er, um, gathering Intel. And there is concept art, character bios, and other locked away gems to discover as you gain more and more completion of the story. Getting 100% completion and unlocking everything will take a while. Especially on the 2 higher difficult settings, which carry HEAVY penalties for dying.

You play as 2 Joes. As you progress through the story, you gain more and more Joes to pick from. You control one Joe while the computer controls the other.

I need to stop here and lodge my 2 major complaints. The first, just for context purposes, is the AI. Your "other Joe" - whichever one you are not controlling - is not very bright. It seems to me the enemy AI is several steps higher than your co-Joe's. Many times I've caught my co-Joe shooting into his (or her) own destructable cover instead of the enemy.

The second major complaint - and this by far outweighs anything else... A COMPLETE LACK OF CAMERA CONTROL!!!

This is the year 2009. It's not even the early part of 2009 - it's more than half finished. We are a few months away from entering the double digits of the 21st century. HOW HARD IS IT to understand WE NEED CAMERA CONTROL!!!?!? The first 3D third person game I ever played was Super Mario 64. This game had what has become the standard controls for almost all good 3D 3rd person games that have ever been put on a console. That control scheme is one analog stick to control the movement of your character - up for move foward, down for move backwards, left to turn to the left, right to turn to the right / the other analog stick for camera controls.... This has been the accepted - and might I add EXPECTED - control scheme for all 3D 3rd person console games that have followed it.... WHY OH WHY can't we always have that? Why can't we ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have control of the D************ camera? I hate it - hate hate HATE HATE it - when I can't control the camera in a 3D game. HATE.

H A T E.

EA - I am talking directly to you.


Okay.... moving on....

The game is beautiful and features excellent voice acting from the actors from the film - along with other actors for other characters not featured in the feature. Although the Metal Gear esque talking head in your ear bit is a tad over done. I've never really longed for a cut scene before. But when your characters are locked down to "Why are they even letting me try to walk" speed while some off-camera voice tells you the next phase of your mission, I'd much rather have prefered to see General Hawk back in the Pit talking to the camera or something. But, eh, not a big deal I guess.

Lots of stuff to destroy. Lots of invisible walls - and sometimes I got confused on where to go because what looked like it would have been an invisible wall turned out to be just somewhere the camera would change angles on you and lead you down a completely invisible path.

You get some vehicle time, which is fun. Wouldn't be GI Joe without accessories, now would it. And you can charge up your Accelerator Suit, which basically means you get "star power" for a little while - not exactly invisible, but close enough for military work.

One thing I really appreciated was this game, for the first time I can remember in a game, actually explains why defeated enemies disappear. The nano bots eat them. :D I love it. Doesn't explain the disappearing debris for exploded buildings, though.

Overall - a fun game. Definitely worth a rent - or if you are a big GI Joe fan - a buy. You can get several hours of good old fashion BOOM BANG PISHOOOUL PHIIIISH BAAM! GI Joe fun out of it.

7 Kung Fu Grips out of 10.

And now you know... and knowing is half the battle.


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Replic Jewelry said...

It is said that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is better than Transformer, one and two add up.
Exactly, not that I am saying Transformer suck, I like the film anyway, while G.I Joe just exceeds that. I didn’t expect so much for the movie, but what present to me now is a movie of precise temple, smart suspense and of cause, all kinds of thrilling visual stimulation.

BenSpark said...

Nice review Chad. I saw G.I. JOE at a charity premiere and it was incredible. I even got to shake hands with Stephen Sommers and chatter up Lorenzo di Bonaventurea in the Men's room. And Rachel Nichols was at the premiere too and we had a little exchange while she was sign autographs of other people. IT was very cool. I'm wondering about getting the game, might pick it up when it gets discounted.