Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 - Xbox Live Arcade

Did you guys hear they added a jump button to Bionic Commando?! I know right?! What the fuck were they thinking? This could be the single most vile act humanity has ever performed ever in history ever.

Oh sorry wait, I forgot that it doesn’t bother me at all that they added a jump button. If they hadn’t it would have just been more Bionic Commando, which isn’t in itself a bad thing, but don’t you think people would be complaining about that instead? It’s a classic example of damned if you do or don’t.

Contrary to what most of the world seems to think, the ability to jump does not ruin Bionic Commando Rearmed 2. No it has other things to help take care of that.

Nathan “Rad” Spencer is back and this time not only brings with him the ability to jump, but a sweet moustache as well. This newly grown facial hair also seems to be driving people insane. I have read more than once, comments from people saying they refuse to play this game because Spencer has a moustache now. It’s strange to picture the mentality behind getting that upset over some facial hair. It’s the same thinking that made people mad when Dante’s hair colour changed to black, I just don’t get it. In the Halo remake they need to give Master Chief one of them Medal of Honor beards and a handlebar moustache. Then we’ll just sit back and watch the minds of gamers implode.

Rearmed 2 is strange in that it didn’t give the greatest opening impression, then I warmed up to it, then I quickly soured on it once again. When you start out, the jump is definitely strange. In fact “jump” may be too strong of a word to describe the action, if anything it’s a hop. However a couple of levels in, I was completely accustomed to it, as well as the revised swinging controls. The levels are devised in a way that having the jump makes sense, but can also be completed by solely swinging if you are so inclined. There is a very slight learning curve, especially if you played a lot of the first Rearmed, but once you get the hang of it the game actually controls very well. Swinging and shooting feel great and it’s never going to stop being satisfying when you grab a barrel and use it to bowl down a group of enemies. For the first at least 1/3 of the game, I was having a lot of fun. Then slowly but surely, that started to shift.

I think it was right around the time I got to a boss fight that was actually a boss I had already faced. The tactics I needed to use were very slightly tweaked, but it was in essence the exact same fight. It was then that I realized I really didn’t feel like fighting that boss again. Not just because I had already done it once, but because that boss fight wasn’t particularly fun the first time I had done it, let alone a second time.

The boss fights in Rearmed 2 are underwhelming across the board. Each one is an exercise in repetition as once you learn their pattern, you simply perform the same actions a few more times until the fight is over. Usually you dodge a couple of attacks, use your hook to expose a weak spot, fire away until the boss loses a third of their health, and then do it two more times. The bosses will rarely, if ever, switch up their tactics. Once you figure out the pattern, you’re good. With one or two exceptions, the boss fights in Rearmed 2 are largely disappointing.

On top of the weak boss fights, I found that by the end Rearmed 2 had wore out its welcome. I was having fun for a while, but by about mission 20 I was more than ready for it to end. It’s definitely not a good sign when you are actually disappointed each time you discover the level you just beat is not the final one.  The levels themselves are not very interesting and often seem scattershot in terms of their design. Many of the levels are just a random mishmash of platforms and obstacles that do little to take advantage of the unique swinging mechanics. One word summary of the levels – meh.

It doesn’t help that the game isn’t doing much to keep the game play unique and interesting in order to hold your attention. You can find new weapons, upgrades and moves hidden throughout the levels, but I found that I stuck with the pistol and the health generator for 95% of the game. The game gives you a lot of options, but never gives you the incentive to actually use any of them.

It’s too bad I was burnt out on this game because it really is great to see this much content in a downloadable title. On top of the lengthy campaign, you have dozens of challenge rooms, and achievements that will require at least three or four playthroughs in order to acquire all of them.  There is a lot of content, but I am simply not motivated to play this game any further.

I did enjoy Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 for at least a while but the bland level design and boring boss fights killed my interest long before the game was through. You might be better off simply downloading the trial, playing through it a couple of times, and then calling it a day. That way the game doesn’t give you enough time to get sick of it.