So, if you read my pre-release thoughts on this game, you already know I had a problem with alot of the reviews that came out. Now, having played and beaten the game, I can stand by those opinions more solidly. While Bionic Commando has its fair share of problems, the central gameplay mechanic is so much fun and so well implemented that it makes up for most of them, thus making the overall experience an enjoyable one.
Below I’ve listed what issues seemed significant enough to mention in the form of an easy-to-read bulleted list (because everyone hates sequeys).
- Whoever thought the "blue fog"–a vindictive mist that will kill any wayward commando who mistakenly swings into it within seconds–was a good way to keep players on the intended gameplay path should be fired…and then shot…or, possibly, both, which may be redundant, but that bastard deserves it. Certainly, there must be a less punitive method of keeping swingers on the straight and narrow (and away from those invisible walls that reviewers love to bitch about so much).
- Two words: sniper level. Fairly early on in the game, Rad is tasked with traversing a series of buildings that are positively infected with some of the most accurate baddies I’ve come across in my gaming adventures. In this level, just a poorly executed swing is enough to kill you–experience the thrill of oncoming death as you hang in the air at the apex of your momentum and watch three lasers line up with your body before being lethally perforated. After a goodly number of such occurrences (and a similar number of profanity-laced tantrums), I decided to simply hunt the snipers down one by one so I could proceed. Certainly, this approach was a fair bit less rad than swinging through the level, but it was a whole lot less annoying.
- Dying in a few feet of water not only sucks, but is also emasculating. If my character’s feet can touch the ground, he should be able to walk, water or no water. Really, is there anything less "rad", less "bionic" than a hero who can’t put his feet down and walk out of the puddle that’s about to claim his life?
- Next time, don’t save the best for last. While there’s nothing really wrong with the gun combat, its a whole lot less fun than kicking rocks and flinging cars to take out your enemies. The fun factor of this game increases dramatically when you have your full complement of bionic moves–would it have been so bad to let us have those from the start?
- Oftentimes, just as you really get into (forgive me) the swing of things, you find yourself loading into a new area, thus dissolving your groove. Personally, I would have been happy to be forced onto more circuitous paths if it meant longer bouts of swinging around like Tarzan–after all, that is the most enjoyable part of the game.
- Swinging is awesome (tell your parents!). Really, the sheer joy of careening through the air like the long-lost son of a fictional archeologist goes a long way towards making up for this game’s shortcomings–assuming, of course, that you don’t suck at it. Even now, having beaten the game twice, I could still go back (and probably will). I can only imagine the technical hurdles that had to be overcome to make the swinging mechanic so spot-on, but Grin deserves heaps upon heaps of praise for having pulled it off with such aplomb.