Posted by Chris Scott Barr on Aug 25, 2009

Review – G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (PS3)

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If you were a kid during the 80’s and early 90’s, you probably watched the G.I. Joe cartoon. It was usually on somewhere around Transformers and Thundercats. Well it has become the trend to remake everything I loved as a kid in the form of movies and video games. Some are good (see X-Men) while others I’m still trying to forget (see X-Men 3). I haven’t gotten around to seeing the new G.I. Joe movie, but I have had the chance to play through the game.

This whole idea that every iconic movie needs a video game tie-in has really got to stop. Do people actually get excited about these? I can’t remember the last time I played one that was worthwhile, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is no exception.

From the very moment I entered the game, I knew it was going to be bad. It opens with a video of the Joe MOBILE PIT crawling through a snowy tundra. For starters, the graphics looked like something I would have seen on the PS2, not a current-gen console. However, that wasn’t so troubling as the fact that the video was noticeably choppy at points. If you can’t get a PS2-quality video to run smoothly on the PS3, then there’s just something wrong.

Alright, so after getting past the movie and dialogue, we get to the meat of the game. You pick your team of two Joes (you only have two to pick from at the beginning) and start blasting away at the enemy. Well, sometimes you’ll be shooting at the enemy. Most of the time you’ll find yourself firing at these little cubes, which do nothing more than give you points. Why would you shoot these? Because there’s no real targeting system in the game, it just sort of picks something random for you to shoot. You can use the left analog stick to change targets, but even that doesn’t work very well.

Seriously, I hate those stupid cubes. If they were something you only ran into once in a while, it might be a different story. However, they’re everywhere. They’ll be in the open, hidden off-screen, inside of barrels and my personal favorite, they’ll come flying across your line of fire from nowhere. Guess what happens then? That’s right, you get to target that damn cube.

What’s sad is that I know exactly what went wrong here. Those cubes are more or less in there to add some competition to the multiplayer game. At each checkpoint, it shows who has the most points. With those cubes, one could gain the necessary points to take the lead. However, when they’re so overabundant, combined with the fact that you have no real control over the targeting system, it just leads to frustration.

Even if the cubes and poor targeting were the only flaws, I might have had some fun with the game. The real deal-breaker is the camera. First, you have no control over the camera whatsoever. That works for some titles, but I know blind people that can operate a camera better than this game. If you round a corner, expect to get shot a a bit before the camera catches up. What’s that, you need to backtrack? Don’t worry, the camera isn’t going to move behind you. Just run toward the camera and shoot blindly, I’m sure you’ll hit something. (Expect to do this quite a bit.)

What G.I. Joe game would be complete without some awesome vehicles? Surely they couldn’t screw that up, right? When you hop into a vehicle, the camera does its very best to ruin the fun by never staying behind you. It does this very well, as unless you’re driving straight away from the camera, it’s nearly impossible to navigate properly. I actually started skipping the vehicles and fighting on foot when I could. It got things done much faster.

I really don’t even want to get into the nit-picky things that I would usually point out in a game. Frankly, the little things (like the fact that you have to go through several checkpoints in each level despite the fact that the game doesn’t actually save until the very end) pale in comparison to the larger issues. If those were fixed, then I might care that the same button that works for taking cover also makes you roll away from your cover. However, I won’t bore you with every little crappy detail.

What’s sad, I think this could have been a fun little co-op shooter, had they not skimped out on the controls and camera. Playing through it I was reminded heavily of Contra. You’re basically running around, balls-to-the-wall and shooting everything that moves. You get some power-ups along the way (the accelerator suit is a bit of fun for the few seconds it lasts) that would have kept things interesting. However, as it stands now, I’d probably get my ass kicked by my friends for suggesting they play with me.

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