Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 7 Studios
N Amer - 06/15/2007
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer Review
It's a tough world we write in when my headline for this story seems so negative. But that is why I am a professional, calling it like I see it. Fantastic Four (FF): Rise of the Silver Surfer is a movie tie-in game. And aside from the title and some really loose interpretation of the movie, the game could have been released a year ago under another FF title. In fact, the game even starts out with the team going after the Skrull (long-time villains of the FF) in order to get a better understanding of why there are massive holes being punched into the Earth. None of which has anything to do with the plot of the movie (except the holes). Yes, this title has got me scratching my head as to why the events of the game are so far out of whack of the movie.
Be prepared for a workout playing FF, the game does take advantage of the Wii's ability for motion-fused action. Each member of the FF has a simple attack and a heavy attack, and the movements of the nunchuk and Wii-mote affect these movements. Now if you inspect the game's manual, one would think that there are several different actions for the heroes as they pummel and unleash justice on the hordes of bad guys you will encounter. But in the end, you pretty much just punch towards the screen in a shoulder-aching tedium as you complete the very well-used formula of turning on switches, opening doors, destroying things and generally repeating the process throughout the entire game. The game offers nothing new in terms of innovation or plot devices. In fact, the game's cutscene dialogue is so thin that it helps to have seen the movie to help fill in the very big holes. But if you have seen the movie, you wonder why they are deviating so far from the game's general plot. It really left me confused, I mean, literally every movie turned into a game has been a stinker, but here, we are reaching new lows with the very liberal interpretation of the license.
"Sear both sides and then turn to low heat for 20 minutes."
If you have ever played "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" then you will see where the basic game setup came from. You can switch on the fly between the four members of the Fantastic Four: Mr. Fantastic and his stretching ability as well as the quick spinning action of a man made of rubber. The Invisible Woman, who uses force fields and concussive blasts. The Human Torch, with his fire shots and burning melee attacks and the Thing, who uses his mighty strength to beat down pretty much anything. Now, I make it seem like there are four effective combatants here, in reality you will spend most of your time as the Torch or the Thing. Actually, that's not true, in reality you will tire of this game long before you reach the point of being able to determine which hero is the most effective. So take my advice when I say the Thing and the Torch are the best.
For a platform action title, the game does not show much snap in the graphics. Repeated location designs, bajillions of the same style baddie and a general poor design of our four heroes do not do the game any favors with the bland shading and details that I was expecting the game to have. There is the occasional ray of hope that comes when the Torch lights something up big and the effects come clean, but the tradeoff is the instant slowdown the game experiences when this happens. Otherwise, the game is a muddled, bland-looking experience. And to further that action, the game does not manage to get any of the original cast to do the voiceover work. Rather several sound alike voice actors step up to the plate and manage to completely run the voice work into the ground. Normally you can get the original cast to do voice over work, but somebody must have known something was wrong in 2K because, the movie's actors wisely are no where to be found except on the cover of the game. In fact, in my research, the lovely Miss Alba doesn't even allow her likeness to be present on the game character of Sue Storm.
"Double Dutch anyone?"
The game does allow for four players to jump into the mix at the same time, but does provide it's own set of problems. The camera angle for one (and this occurs in the single-player mode) makes its own mind up as to where you are going to look. It is a sort of dynamic overhead view that tilts around the screen. Sometimes it puts you in the perfect position to fight, other times, enemies are hitting you from off screen and you can't do anything about it. But the biggest problem with playing four people, is you need to be really aware that there are three other people punching in the air constantly and the chances of you getting hit are very good.
Review Scoring Details for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
You pretty much spend the time doing button mashing in the form of punching. You can't control the camera and only two of the four characters are suited to successfully beat this game.
The lag kicks in quite often, the backgrounds are rehashed visuals from other levels and the character design is poorly designed. At least the lighting effects look cool for a split second.
They didn't get the actors from the movie, they got people to recite some of the lamest dialogue in gaming history. Was there background music?
Aside from the very formulaic approach to the game of opening doors and deactivating switches, there are parts where baddies swarm the room instantly. If you die, then you are instantly transported back to the FF building, healed and returned within 30 seconds. If you are playing the single-player game, that means the AI teammates will continue to do the fighting without you.
You can only save at the end of the level, that means you can conceivably play 25 minutes, die before the end and then have to start over, really far back.
A video game based on a movie based on a comic book? Where do I sign?
Playing with your friends doesn't add any depth game to the game; if anything it could get you a black eye.
This is an abysmal experience. If by some chance you are a obsessed Fantastic Four fan, then maybe, just maybe, you will find some enjoyment in this title. But I just can't in good conscience say anything redeeming about this one.
Fans of the movie or of the comic should probably stay away
Reviewer: Mike David
Review Date: 07/16/2007