Review: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)August 17th, 2009 | Written by Alex Quevedo | Topic: PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360
If you don’t mind, we would like to take the opening of this review to catch our breath a little. You see, we’ve been assaulted. Heavily. We didn’t expect to be smacked with such a mind-numbing force when we popped in our copy of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. All was fine through the first bit of it. We were able to laugh off the melodramatic voice acting and horrific-looking character models. But what we didn’t know was how much of a chore getting through the game would be. And knowing is half the battle, right?
There isn’t one true problem source for GI Joe. Problems pop up everywhere and with noticeable power. You are constantly being dragged down by one thing or another. For starters, the mechanics of the game are horrible. It is very much a linear game, but it seems as though it doesn’t know if it wants to be a fully realized 3D world, or a side scroller. It acts as both far too often.
Making matters worse, the only control you have over the camera is the control you have over your movement. Most of the time it will swing back and forth, and you will be put into a position where you can’t see anything. Hopping into a vehicle proves to you that the developers were able to one-up themselves and make things worse. Though, we must admit, they succeed in inadvertently making the tanks great for making donuts.
And while you curse GI Joe for giving you such a hard time, we’re certain you’ll forget about the point of the game. You can even be briefed about what you are doing and you will still wonder just what is going on. It’s convoluted, yet pointless. Some elements of the film version have been included in the game, but the game tells its own tale. Well, it attempts to, if only not to have completely wasted the time of the voice actors.
As you trudge through the game, everything gets bogged down by repetitiveness. You battle the same enemies through very similar environments. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the jungle, desert or snow; everything blends together when it comes to schematics.
The game gives you a decent selection of GI Joe characters to choose from (Cobra included), and thankfully they are not completely similar. They have their own weapons and special attacks, until you turn on your accelerator suit, which makes everything the same. Most characters seen in the film can be found and used in the game. Initially, you are given Duke and Scarlett, but as you progress you earn points to buy other characters found during missions. They are separated into three classes: Commando, Heavy Weapon, and Combat. Combat soldiers will last you the longest in terms of health. You will have the option to switch out characters mid-mission. For the most part, who you choose will be based on taste. Further on into the game, we excelled with Duke and Storm Shadow. But you will need all three types to access doors that hold intelligence files inside.
You can quickly switch your character with a single button, which is a convenient addition. A second player can also join up in the middle of the missions as well so you can share the dread. But if you’re solo, you will need to switch back and forth a decent amount of times to make sure you survive. On casual, it is fairly easy to get through a mission without dying. But medium and hard are far less forgiving. On medium, a dead character will remain dead until the next checkpoint (there are typically three). In hard, they are done for the mission. If anything, that saves you from any horrible dialogue they may spew periodically. And for the record, checkpoints are merely there for cosmetic reasons. If you quit out, you have to restart the whole mission.
And restarting missions will make you suffer through some more of the lacking art direction. Most movie games do a half decent job of representing the actors. But GI Joe is a complete injustice. The whole graphical element is barely suitable for an Xbox or PlayStation 2 platform. It’s surprising, considering how far developers have been able to come. We weren’t expecting something stellar, just something worthwhile. And as alluded to, the voice acting is horribly stretched out. It’s a good laugh at first, but it quickly drains of any comic relief. And the sounds of blasting and explosions bleed into each other far too much.
The major problem: it is completely uninspired. Surely there was some sort of effort put into it. But the script is awful, the characters hardly look anything like their film counterparts. And the game seems to exist for the sake of existing. It doesn’t extend too far beyond a contractual obligation.
So unless you are an immense GI Joe supporter, we would recommend staying away from the game. There is hardly anything worth writing home about. The most enjoyable part of the game would have to be the unlockable Public Service Announcements from the old cartoon show. But chances are, you could save the cash and look them up online. And, trust us, you would be very well served by saving that cash.