A few choice words come to mind when I think about the Nintendo DS. Those words are, in no particular order: Imaginative, innovative, and children. The DS has made a name for itself with its unique brand of gaming that cannot be found on other systems thanks to its touch screen and penchant for new ideas.
Having never really considered myself an actual adult, it’s easy for me to relate to DS games to find the good and bad in them from an open minded “manchild” like perspective.
The movie tie-in G.I.Joe: The Rise Of Cobra game is definitely geared towards a much younger crowd, but contains enough simple carnage to satisfy anyone looking to blow things up.
In direct correlation with this past summer’s blockbuster movie of the same name (I haven’t seen it), Cobra is bent on evil and world conquest and it’s up to the “Joe’s” to foil their dubious intentions. Simple as that the, story has to be the absolute worst part of the game. Boring as all hell dialog plagues the flow of the game and really detracts from the destruction. Due to the turtle like pacing of the dialog, you can’t help but grind your teeth as you try and hurry up the scrolling text as fast as you can so you can get on with the game. I can’t imagine even anyone younger finding the story presentation one bit compelling. Anyway enough about that. On to the better stuff.
I know I just said “on to the better stuff” but the graphics, unfortunately, are not that. Pixeled-out to the point of chunky, the top down view, while mildly effective in the gameplay department, is not at all flattering. Some of the effects are cool, but the graphics are just plain ugly. Let me try and find something nice to say about the graphics. They compliment the storyline? Nope. Okay, the gameplay is not totally marred by the graphical limitations. That’s positive right?
Average at best. Gunfire and explosions are the stars of the show with little to no supporting cast. Background music is your stock action adventure fare with some mixed in dialog bleeps to let you know you should be looking at the bottom screen. The guns and explosions are not all that varied between characters but it the midst of battle it is often hard to gripe on that anyway.
Playing G.I.Joe is a mixed bag. The controls are accurate and it’s easy to figure out what you’re doing, but you often get hung up on objects that surround the battlefield. From enemy cover to barbed wire fences and rock formations, getting stuck on these things is a regular occurrence. Not that it hampers gameplay entirely, but you might end up losing some lives because of it.
The leveling up of characters adds a nice bit of depth and the weapons are fun to use. As you level up you unlock different colored uniforms and upgraded weapons. I ended up using my stronger characters more often because the game got harder as it progressed and therefore making the weaker characters obsolete. Vehicles and fixed weapons are also a great feature that brings some immersion to the game and some of the vehicles are throwbacks from from the early days of G.I.Joe toys.
What could have added to the immersion level would have been the use of the touch screen. It goes largely under utilized and is only used to display the map and dialog boxes. Bomb setting and defusing, inventory management, weapon load outs, and dialog options are all easy ideas that would have made the game differ from say a GameBoy Advance game. It also makes no use of the DSi camera which could have also added some innovative ideas.
Offering a local only multiplayer scenario, I didn’t get the chance to play. Simply guessing I would think that this could be a fun way to play this game because you could negate the story entirely and skip straight to the core gameplay. It would have been nice if there was WiFi connectivity so you don’t have to actually know anyone else with the same game.
The game itself is very point-A to point-B with each level requiring the same basic linear objectives, but you could play through it a couple times by leveling up different characters to mix it up a bit. If you can find someone to play multiplayer with I’m positive it would add some quality replay value to this game as well.
Despite all the shortcomings I mentioned above, G.I.Joe: The Rise Of Cobra is actually a fun game. A mildly lengthy single player campaign coupled with some visceral action makes for some appealing gaming. The game would have received higher marks if it weren’t for the constant dialog interruptions and weak graphics.
In the end, The Rise Of Cobra is a game for those of you who like top-down shooters in the vein of the retro Ikari Warriors with some modern twists thrown in. Give it a shot if you are looking for some simple, destructive fun.
- Intuitive control scheme makes it easy to play
- Mild depth
- Decent replay value if you care about playing with different characters
- Dated and uninspired graphics
- Dialog and story poorly implemented
- No use of touch screen or DSi camera
Buy it here for $28!