Friday, April 10, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens (PS3/ 360 / NDS / PC / PS2 / WII)

Zombies vs. Robots. Pirates vs. Ninjas. Man vs. Bear. These legendary confrontations have long captured the attention of the public, mainly because they each channel into humanity’s innate desire to see things beat each other up. Monsters vs. Aliens, the video-game adaptation of the hit film, brings another one of these epic conflicts to people’s living rooms as it allows you to take control of three uniquely-powered creatures who are trying to save the Earth from a villainous extra-terrestrial menace.

At its core, Monsters vs. Aliens is a third-person platformer that offers three different gameplay styles, one for each character. You get to play as Ginormica — a 49-foot-tall woman that can barrel through anything in her way, The Missing Link — a fish-ape that can scale any surface and use his tail to swat away attackers, and B.O.B. — a gelatinous pile of goo that can stick to the ceiling, eat things, and drip through porous surfaces. Each of the game’s 25 levels is built for the talents of one of the monsters, as we follow these characters from a secret government base to the innards of a gigantic robot and eventually leading to a confrontation on the alien mothership itself.

All of the monsters have gameplay built around their talents, which makes playing as each of them a separate experience. Ginormica spends all of her time on skates, which are actually two jeeps that she steps on in the first chapter. She must charge through obstructions, grind rails, and wall-ride over hazards during her segments, where she is often being chased by some gargantuan menace. B.O.B.’s levels are mostly made up of platforming, as he must use his wall-sticking ability to climb over obstacles and melt through walls to escape the dangers that surround him. B.O.B. will also get to utilize a turret during a few boss fights, though these sections tend to be pretty short. The Missing Link’s areas play similarly to the Crash Bandicoot games, as he swings, throws, and flattens his way through enemies, boxes, and traps. Each character can also collect a number of DNA strands during their levels that can be used as money to unlock upgrades, extras, and challenge missions, giving you enough of a reason to explore each area carefully. If the action is getting a bit too intense, a second player can join in on the fun at any time with the touch of a button. This player becomes Dr. Cockroach, an off-screen character who can fire missiles using a handy targeting reticule and even pick up and fling baddies to their doom. While not as deep as a full-on Coop mode, this feature is a welcome addition.

While all three of the characters are initially fun to play as, this enjoyment doesn’t last forever. This is mainly due to the fact that nothing really changes over time, as the game offers almost no variety beyond the initial few levels. You will do the same jumps as Ginormica, destroy repeating baddies as The Missing Link, and slide through identical platforms as B.O.B. in each section, and no surprises await you later in the game to break the monotony. To make matters worse, the game also starts duplicating some of the boss battles in the second half, making your constant state of déj� vu even more painful. This is incredibly disheartening, as the core mechanics are very solid, the characters all control well, and the game would have been very enjoyable had more thought been put into switching things up.

Unfortunately, the repetitious nature of Monsters vs. Aliens doesn’t end there, as the environments of each chapter end up looking nearly identical to one another. Ginormica’s levels pack the most visual variety, as she is often being pursued outdoors with plenty going on around her. For B.O.B. and The Missing Link however, their specific talents really limit the design of their areas, resulting in many of their levels looking indistinguishable from the ones that you played fifteen minutes earlier.

While the repetitive nature of the title is frustrating, the playfully crafted world full of cheerful blobs, large-domed aliens, and clueless superbugs is almost pleasant enough to make it worthwhile. While the PlayStation 3 version of the title only looks marginally better than the Wii and PS2 versions, the environments are colorful and well animated nonetheless. Each of the characters has a lot of personality, and their expressive facial animations and cute mannerisms make them all equally endearing. The frequent cut scenes stay entertaining and action-packed throughout, and the kiddies will enjoy the humor exhibited by the cast. Speaking of that, Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, and Seth Rogan all reprise their roles from the film as the three lead monsters, and all do a fantastic job at bringing these creations to life. The rest of the game’s audio fits the action well, with cartoony sound effects and a sweeping orchestral score highlighting the game’s aural experience.

While Monsters vs. Aliens does deliver a terrific first impression, this potential is lost over time with the repetition in gameplay, lazy level design, and tired mechanics. While the kids may stick with it for the lovable characters, older players will grow tired of what is offered here by the mid-way point of its eight hour runtime. With excellent platformers like Ratchet and Clank: Future Tools of Destruction currently available for the PlayStation 3, it is hard to fully recommend what Monsters vs. Aliens has to offer, and I hope that this inter-planetary conflict will one day be given the video-game adaptation that it deserves.

Gameplay: 5.5
Each of the three playable monsters has their own move set and abilities, and they are fun to play as for the first few hours of gameplay. Unfortunately, when things never change, you start to grow tired of what is offered and the game becomes a chore to play.

Graphics: 6.5
Monsters vs. Aliens was clearly built for less graphics-intensive consoles than the PS3, so don’t expect a visual tour-de-force here. What you will find is colorful environments and delightful characters that are expressive and enjoyable to watch.

Sound: 8.0
The voice actors from the film do a terrific job of giving their characters life. Music and sound effects are standard cartoonish faire, but they fit the game nicely.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
While not particularly difficult, the game does require the use of all of your characters abilities to get through a given level. You have unlimited lives, but some unclear sections might lead to a few unplanned deaths.

Concept: 6.5
The idea of having three different characters — each of which have their own unique gameplay — is a good one, but the campaign doesn’t offer enough variety to stay interesting all the way through. There is plenty of stuff to unlock however, and the story should take you about eight hours to chug through.

Multiplayer: 6.0
The game includes an offline drop-in/drop-out coop mode that lets a second player shoot at enemies using an on-screen targeting reticule. While fun to play in short bursts, the mode is limited and an unworthy substitute for an actual coop mode.

Overall: 5.8
Monsters vs. Aliens starts out very strong, but quickly falters due the constant repetition in the gameplay. Fans of the movie might enjoy this one for the first few hours, but those who stick with it longer than that will be eager to see the credits roll

0 comment:

Post a Comment

Free Games Download © 2008. Free Blogspot Templates Sponsored by: Tutorial87 Commentcute
This template is Edited and brought to you by : Blogger Templates