Developer: Double Helix Games / Publisher: Electronic Arts / ESRB: Teen (Fantasy Violence) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $29.99
On Pay, Rent, or Pass we are checking out the latest movie to game adaptation, G.I. Joe Rise of the Cobra for the Xbox 360. Yes, you heard me right. We are reviewing this game today. Any self respecting nerd can attest to the fact that they owned and played with many GI Joes as a child, and yes even enjoyed the phenomenal cartoon as well. You remember the PSA’s… Well tone down allll of that 80’s childhood nostalgia I just drummed up, because this game is nothing like those memories…at all. Not even close.
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In the game you play as teams of two in each mission if you are playing in single player you have the ability to switch between characters on the fly, and obviously in multi-player you and a friend control each of the Joes. And talking about multi-player its really the only way this game is any fun at all. Your computer controlled counterpart just stands around have the time firing at half the rate they are actually able to. Ugh! The game offers up 12 playable GI Joes and 4 Cobra characters to play as in the game, unfortunately you have to unlock the characters as you go by finding hidden dog tags in certain levels. It’s not hard to find these locations, it’s just a shame I couldn’t have started with the ability to play as all of the characters from the start, because by the time I finished this game I really didn’t want to go back and play again trying out the new characters. Sure you can switch characters between mission and even in the middle of missions, but I found early on that if you take Gung-Ho who knocks enemies down with his attack and a Commando like Snake Eyes who get in close with high damage melee attacks, you are pretty much unstoppable. All of the characters have their own special moves that you can utilize and offer up a lot of variety to keep the action fresh. Trying out different combinations of characters can really be fun at times. On top of the unique special attacks the game takes a cue from the movie and includes the accelerator suits, once you have killed enough enemies and blown up enough of the environment, you are able to active the suit and become invincible. The problem I have with these suits is that all of the characters all look the same in them and have the exact same attack. It would have been nice to see each of the characters have some sort of special super attack that’s available to them once inside the suit… oh well. The best way I can describe the way GI Joe Rise of the Cobra plays… is kinda like if Contra, and SmashTV were the same game but not fun and pretty much broken. Literally the entire time you play this game you run around holding the fire button and blow up anything that gets in your way. There were times when I was able to play with one hand because the AI was so poorly designed that it was unable to target me and would shoot over my head. Hell, there were times when I could shoot through walls and kill enemies that weren’t even aware I was there. There are a lot of things that are wrong with the way this game plays and is designed, so many in fact that I don’t really have time to go into all of them… But…if you enjoy mindless action romps where you blow up everything and everyone, then this game may be up your alley.
I had high hopes for this game when it came to the graphics department; I looked at some of the concept art and thought to myself… wow this game could look phenomenal! Then I started playing and felt like I had been warped back to the days of original Xbox. This game looks like it was developed for the last generation systems. Some of the explosions look ok I guess, but lots of the same textures in each of the levels, the insides of bases all look the same, and characters all look bland and boring, its hard to distinguish whose who at certain points. I am Gung-ho? Or is that Duke? I can’t remember. Generic is really the key word to remember when it comes to the graphics in this game, hell look at the levels you play in…Desert, Jungle, Tundra, Volcano, and Cobra bases that all look the same inside… could we be any less imaginative here? So as far as graphics go… not so hot.
One of the few things in this game that I actually enjoyed was the soundtrack. The game pulls music right from the movie, and it’s actually not that bad. Unfortunately once you get about 4 hours into the game you want to hear something else. Every time you put on the accelerator suit the same music kicks in, it gets REALLY repetitive. The character voices in this game get extremely annoying as well, with enemies yelling out the same bland one liners over and over again while they attack you. Sound effects in the game aren’t that bad and a lot of the gunfire reminds me of the cartoon series which is nice, a shinning ray of hope in a very dark place actually.
One of the most annoying things about GI Joe rise of the Cobra would be the controls. Some extremely poor layout choices and no option to change them… The thing that bugs me is that you have to targeting controls in this game, the left bumper is supposed to act as target lock and the right stick is supposed to cycle your targets. The wiser choice would have been to have the left bumper cycle through your targets with each click and the right stick should have been used to control the locked in place camera. There are no camera controls in this game and it causes MAJOR headaches at times, when you run back at the camera you cant see anything you are running towards! Extremely annoying. The game lets you drive vehicles in the game, lots of which you probably had as toys as a kid, but don’t get too excited because the controls really hamper the experience. You only use the left stick to drive, instead of being able to use the left and right sticks. It just cause problems and really defeats any fun you may have had trying to drive in the game.
Here’s the thing about GI Joe Rise of the Cobra… I mean did we really expect it to be an amazing mind blowing ground breaking game? No. I mean it has a Wayans brother in for god sake and it’s based off of the movie… not the cartoon series. It’s poorly designed, and extremely repetitive, and I know the development cycle was probably rushed to have the game released with the movie, but even still I expect a little more out games these days. If you are a super fan of GI Joe and enjoy blowing up endless bad guys and structures this one could be a rent… Now, if you’re like me, you are not going to want to pick this one up at all… it’s a pass… in fact I feel kind of dirty having played my way all the way through this title… I need a shower.