G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA REVIEW
Movie tie-in games are traditionally pretty poor- but EA has been hyping up GI Joe for some time now. They hired respected developer Double Helix, and chose a good license- but does it pay off?
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Oct 5, 2009 11:02 (Oct 5, 2009 11:02)
Written by: Ian
Yo Joe or No Joe?
Movie licensed games are often poor because of the short development time- but it seems like EA has been hyping "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" for months- I certainly heard about it before I even knew that a new film was in the making. However, it does suffer from not being directly linked to the movie’s plot- and will this hurt it in the long run?
The story acts as some kind of prequel to the newly revamped G.I. Joe franchise, showing the rise of COBRA commander and his henchman. Thankfully, all the main protagonists have been captured from the movie, and also recorded their own voice, so you get to see the likes of Sienna Miller strutting her stuff in her black wig and catsuit.
Like with many games, the story is an excuse to trek all over the world in search of the new, mysterious COBRA outlaws, see what they are up to, and what their M.A.S.S. device is all about.
The game tries to throw as many environments and characters from the film at you as it can its 8-10 hour campaign, and whilst it can feel pretty overblown, it does so in a way that’s no worse than the movie. There’s a mix of cutscenes and in-game communications giving you the lowdown, and they all work pretty well to be honest.
Whilst I personally feel that it would be better to play through cool scenes from the film, I accept that a prequel/ side-story is fine if it makes the overall game better, and the story here is epic and well-thought out enough to work on it’s own or as an aside to the film, without ever really excelling in it’s own right.
G.I. Joe is a pretty straight up action game, that seems to take most of it’s cues (bizarrely) from 'Lego Star Wars' and 'Gears of War'. Obviously, GoW is the action game de jour, so that is obvious, but this game is more aimed at slightly younger people (despite the bizarre 16+ recommended age), so that’s where the LSW focus comes from.
So, like GoW you get a behind-the-shoulder view, a cover system, and respawning health. And like Lego, you get a fixed camera, drop-in, drop-out co-op, the ability to switch characters mid-level, secret areas, and automatic targeting.
Unfortunately, when 'Double Helix' have put these two elements together, the results haven’t been great. The camera is by far and away the worst I’ve seen in many years, and this is only compounded when driving a vehicle, to the point where simple tasks become almost impossible. These sections would be far more fun if it wasn’t for the fact you are always in a situation where you either can’t see where you’re going, what you’re firing at, or both.
Loading times are diabolical, so it’s not worth switching characters, especially as there’s few differences between them.
There are some neat touches- on easy, you can’t die- losing all your health just temporarily downs you and you lose a chunk of your score. There’s also plenty to unlock, and also the game is pretty long by today’s standards, taking around 8-10 hours to complete first time around.
The achievements are also pretty good, with plenty on offer for a casual play-through, but also requiring a little invention for those that do really enjoy playing.