Friday, July 06, 2007

The Review: Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer

This has been an interesting year for the comic book world. First there was the terrifying news that Robert Downey, Jr. was playing Iron Man (which almost made me pull out all of my hair), then a mediocre Spider-Man movie and video game came out in May and now we have the Fantastic Four – another comics-to-movie feature which leads to yet another video game tie-in.
My pappy always told me, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Of course, he was a computer programmer and not a video game columnist. Trying to find something nice to say about “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” is like trying to compliment Paris Hilton about her film career, “Um, uh…you looked good as a corpse in “House of Wax”?!?” Its not “FF: Silver Surfer’s” fault that it’s a movie based game, which with the exception of the first two Spider-Man games is a kiss of death, but its other weaknesses are ALL its fault. Okay, maybe mostly stick-in-the-mud, boring ass Reed Richards’ fault.
In the game you’ll get to play as all four FF members and in-game Reed is just as fun and exciting as on-screen Reed, which means not at all. Stretching high to reach levers and fuse boxes and diving through laser trip wires is how “Mr. Fantastic” (Did he give himself that nickname?) likes to have a good time. His wife the Invisible Woman is just as dull because all she wants to do is play with cool looking bubbles. I guess we know who the brains of that couple is. Thankfully Johnny Storm and The Thing pick up the slack, as usual. Just “flaming on” (insert your own jokes here) as Johnny looks cool and his flying and flame powers are fun to use. The Thing offers a slightly less subtle approach, using raw strength to take out bad guys. Picking up goons and heaving them off of high places is deviously enjoyable.
Game play will remind most of “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” with a movie following slant, but “FF: Silver Surfer” lacks its Marvel cousin’s charm. Sure you can run around, thumping aliens with a switch-on-the-fly ability that allows you to become different upgradeable characters, but with only two real choices as opposed to “MUA’s” 20+ (sorry Reed and Sue), its not nearly as engrossing. Throw in overly simplistic button mash fighting and mundane puzzle solving that only a pre-schooler would struggle through, and what you end up with is a repetitive game that is not only easy but suffers from a severe superhero deficiency.
The game does stay pretty loyal to the storyline of the film and the Fantastic Four mythos but if the uninteresting game play wasn’t enough of a deterrent for you, maybe the poor graphics, inferior stand-in voice over talent, teammates who get stuck or get in the way and no online multi-player to speak of is enough to scare you off. Sorry FF fanboys but this title is doomed. Doom, get it! Like Dr. Doom, the FF’s nemesis?!? Nevermind.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Cost: $29.99 – $59.99
Players: 1 - 4
Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, Ds
Category: Superhero brawler
Rating: Teen (Teen)
You take the good: Stays true to FF movie, team based action
You take the bad: Repetitive game play, poor graphics, waste of time puzzles, none of the actors from the movie provide voice work
And then you have – The Grade: D+

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