I had this game on the day of release (rented, not purchased) and the plan was to burn through it and have a nice, timely review up within a couple of days. It’s now almost a week later and I’m just getting around to writing it. It’s not because I delayed writing the review, it’s because I delayed playing the game. While that sentence tells you pretty much my exact thoughts on the game, I think you should still click onwards because it’s time for a good ole-fashioned eviscerating.
Before playing the game, I remember saying that “as long as they have GI Joes shooting a bunch of stuff I should be alright.” How wrong I was. See this game has plenty of that. In fact, it only has that. And it is not fun. When a game has one basic gameplay element, and that one element is not done right, you’re f—ked.
I think the game was intended to be some sort of modern Contra or something, and hey I’m all for that, I love Contra. This isn’t Contra. Well o.k it’s maybe one of those terrible PS1 Contras. But it could never hang with the traditional Contra games because Contra wouldn’t allow it. It would make this game stand in the corner and fetch it drinks.
I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that all you do is run around and shoot. You walk forward and hold the fire button, and that’s basically it. Yes you can take cover and dodge too, but it adds nothing. There are a lot of different Joes to play but none of them really play that differently from one another.
In fact, if weren’t for the title, you would be hard-pressed to notice that this is even a GI Joe game at all. I know it’s based more off the movie but come on give us something. How about some classic costumes as unlockables? The game officially gets three things right when it comes to being a GI Joe game:
1) The old theme song plays every time you use your special accelerator suit
2) The phrase “knowing is half the battle” shows up within 10 seconds of starting up the game
3) The classic PSA’s are available as unlockables
That’s about it. Sure the phrase “Yo Joe!” is used frequently, but it’s used so frequently that I grew incredibly sick of it and so I can’t even count that as doing something right.
There is coop in the game but I couldn’t get anyone to play more than a level with me and I’m guessing many others out there will have similar experiences. From what I did play it doesn’t add that much to things other than having someone else along for the very boring ride.
One thing I haven't touched on yet is the vehicles. Yes you do get to occasionally hop inside of a vehicle. These should be fun little diversions that you look forward to. Instead I would almost cry every time I saw a vehicle coming up. The controls are some of the worst I've encountered in any video game and not just for driving, but in general. I'm sure that maybe you could get the handle on it, but it still wouldn't make it fun. You shouldn't have to learn how to conquer bad controls to play a game, especially when it's in order to do something as simple as moving a vehicle forward.
Something else I should address is the “checkpoint” system. There are several of them scattered throughout each level and since this is a video game, you assume that when you die, you go back to the last one that you passed. You know, like every video game released in the last decade. GI Joe is looking to change all that I guess because in this game, checkpoints don’t really mean anything. They add up your score, but they certainly don’t let you start there when you die. No if both of your characters die (you have two on each mission) you will start right back at the beginning of the level. It’s not even fun progressing through the levels, let alone going back and starting one over. No thanks GI Joe.
There has been some surprisingly good movie-to-game transitions this summer but GI Joe does not get to join that group. It’s a boring shooter with flat voice acting, uninteresting locales, terrible TERRIBLE driving controls, and a flawed, nonsensical checkpoint system. Avoid.