G.I.JOE The Rise Of COBRA (DS) Review
Friday, August 21, 2009 2:25 PM
GI JOE fails to hit the mark on the Nintendo DS.
As a child I was a fan of the G.I.JOE franchise, many a Saturday afternoon was spent lolling about and around my bedroom floor. Someone had to beat those nasty COBRA's and that somebody was me and my JOE's.
Playing this game on DS brought back similar childhood memories. Not the good ones, however; the ones my therapist taught me to block out.
Now I am not about to wallow in bad humour and hand out cheap shots; this game by its very definition was never going to be the new Half-Life. I am very aware of this fact and as a young adult, this game was not aimed at me, it was designed to be shot into the jugular of parents busy trying to keep their screaming 'miracles' happy and sated until the summer blockbuster fever is over.
G.I.JOE Rise Of COBRA is cheap, dirty and a tiny bit addictive I must admit. Essentially the game is a blast-em-up, playing somewhere between Smash TV and Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars.
When muddling your way through the game you'll go through very mixed emotions. First, you'll shudder in horror at the horrible visuals; then you'll simply dismiss it as a poor money grabbing port from more powerful hardware; finally you'll realise that you've been playing for two hours and that you must beat that dastardly Destro.
So where to start? This game simply isn't a looker. Even Sega Megadrive games would simply smirk at its attempt at graphical enhancement. The best way to describe the look of this game is to get a copy of Smash TV, close your eyes slightly until your vision is obscured and then swab acid into them. I want to say that this game is 3D, but it quite clearly is the work of a mad man who was trying for a fourth or fifth dimension with an orange. To put it bluntly; the visuals are horrible, terrible and really rather ugly.
There's some resemblance of a storyline within this game, with more abbreviated organisations than a '60s spy thriller, anyone who has not seen the movie will feel a little confused and out in the cold. Not to worry, however, since the storyline is nothing more than overlong dialogue sequences that only seem to serve the purpose of breaking up the pacing of the game. It's fine for the developer to actually add some sort of plot for the player to follow, but I find myself yearning for the action to simply commence without interruption. Furthermore, the story is no more than "Joe's yay, Cobra's you gits!"
The truth about this game is that at heart, it's an OK run-and-gun top down style shooter. It's actually good and simple fun. It never really challenges you, but when the gun fights are going off it is entertaining. Choosing one of six JOE's, enemies swarm towards your position looking to tear you limb from limb (or fire small blue orbs at you, which ever works) and when the numbers get increasingly high, the feeling of the game turns towards the arcade, which is actually addictive and fun. If the developers would have simply focused on this element of gameplay, G.I.JOE would be a worthy addition to any DS enthusiast collection.
JOE suffers from trying too much at once and failing really to make any single outstanding feature. In this game we have a level system, numerous playable characters, a cover system, a supposedly engaging storyline, vehicle combat, destructible environments, the list goes on. Every single item listed fails to impress or to show its purpose - this is the major problem for the game. Different characters do not really give much variation, destructible environments just exist to cause annoyance when trying to navigate around them and vehicle combat is terrible beyond words. I could go on about how this game fails but I will save you, for now.
The game is not stable either, it came as quite a surprise as the game crashed on numerous occasions: I looked at my DS screens in disbelieve; what kind of monster would create an unstable DS game? There's also not even the slightest nod to touch screen capabilities.
To put it simply, if the developers would have concentrated on one aspect of gameplay intensely, this game would have succeeded in being simple mindless fun. As it stands, JOE is four hours of annoyance from start to finish.