Monday, November 29, 2010

12 Months, Sixty Dollars and a PS2: November

Godzilla Unleashed
From Atari (sadly)

Ok, so not every game has to have a riveting story, at least it’s fun to play, right?  Ok, so not every game can be really, really fun to play, but at least it’s smoothly executed, right?  Ok, so not every game can be smoothly executed, but at least it looks good, right? Well, maybe.
And that’s what I got for five dollars this month, a game that mostly looks good and does little else.  So I’ll start with that.  The monsters in Godzilla Unleashed look really, really cool.  Pretty much exactly what you would want the classic Godzilla monsters to look like!  They’re big, they’re bad, and they look like they could really tear up town!
Too bad they’ll never get the chance, not really.  Because that is where the greatness of Godzilla Unleashed ends.  The game itself is an otherwise clunky mess.  The plot is honestly below mention and after the second “cut scene” I pretty much skipped the remainder of it, so let’s not waste your time and mine and move on to more disappointing fare.  How much story do you want a Godzilla game to have anyway?  The biggest letdown comes from the lackluster game play.  This is a game that should be nothing but all out action.  Filled with lots of things to crush, military vehicles to chomp, and buildings to demolish, this game should be non-stop fun.  And it is not.  What you get instead is something that feels like a Playstation engine dressed up for the PS2.  Don’t believe me? check out the load times.  The “levels” are ridiculously small and there are only a dozen or so cities to battle in, yet it takes several minutes to load each scenario.  And if you think the load times are slow, check out the responsiveness of the controls.  I think Masters of Tera-Kasi was more fluid.  While we are at it, shouldn’t Godzilla have some really kick ass moves with which to combat Mothra and Rodan?  Well, he ain’t got ‘em here.  Instead you get a kick that would make Pele cry, a standard grapple move, a ducking action, a blocking action, a jump, and a tail swipe.  The only move worth doing is the fire breathing attack, and it is cool, but one out of eight don’t cut it.  Oh, the manual says there is a “special attack” using L2 and R2, but it never seemed to work for me.  So I guess you can kick and swipe your way to victory, or you can spew fire repeatedly and throw in the occasional building toss until your foe relents…or not.

You see that is the most baffling part of this game: it doesn’t seem to matter if you win or lose.  As a matter of fact, there doesn’t appear to be any obvious goal to the game at all.  If you beat your enemies or if they beat you, no big deal, you’ll still progress to the next level and fight again.  I guess you are meant to defeat the other monsters in each scenario, but there doesn’t appear to be any real incentive to do so.  Oh sure, you get points for the monsters you defeat, as well as the destruction you cause, but those points are pretty much only there to unlock other monsters.  And since the game is so much fun, I can’t imagine wanting to suffer through it all again, but this time with Gigan.

And speaking of destruction, shouldn’t this game be packed with it?  Sorry, not here.  Oh sure you can topple buildings, but they just fade away and disappear.  And you can pick up buildings, but only the smallest ones, and when you throw them, they also disappear.  There are tanks to squash and helicopters to swat at, but they are tiny, hard to see, and ultimately not worth the effort to seek out and destroy.  Where are the fires, the crumbling ruins, the screaming civilians? Sigh.

So I beat the game in about 45 minutes, I think I had no choice, the game just kept advancing me, so I figured I would see it through.  I’d like Atari to give me those 45 minutes and my five dollars back because Godzilla Unleashed was probably the biggest disappointment I’ve encountered during this project.  What should be an amazing monster smash ‘em up, is a slow, lumbering brute that inspires no awe and should forever rot in the bottom of the bin.

Only one more to go….where did the time go?

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