|Watchman: The End Is Nigh
||Waner Bros Interactive Entertainment
| Xbox 360, Reviewed on PS3
Hence we end up with games that have obviously had a great deal of work put into them, but come out feeling unpolished and uninspired or forced. Witness Terminator: Salvation , well Watchman: The End is Nigh out-uninspires even the soulless Terminator offering.
When I received this compilation of the two downloadable W:TEIN parts, I was ready to immerse myself in the Watchman mythos. You know, ready the graphic novel, watch the movie and then relive the universe in-game.
Having not ventured down the fictional path of Watchman, I was looking forward to it, but a few hours in I realised I needed to treat this game as purely a game, and in no way encourage Watchman fans to consider checking this out.
Combined, parts 1 & 2 feature nine chapters of cartoon introduced grime. Taking place 10 years before the recent movies’ timeline, players can choose either to run around with your hands in your pockets as Rorschach the down-on-society brawler or as Nite Owl with his more positive outlook and higher tech approach to battle.
Either way it won’t take long to be bored.
There is a premise of co-op, which the game is built around, but this is so lamely implemented as joint door opening, switch pulling or the occasional - very directed – splitting of directions that you wonder why they bothered.
Playing solo, will see the AI take control of your buddy, and do an okay job, mainly due to the simpleton game-play and enemy AI that you will find yourself up against.
Nothing was funnier than standing next to a riverside dock edge and watch the enemy charge at my heroes only to fall off into the water before reaching them – hilarious.
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The good news is that the seedy environments played through, are – for the most part – nicely rendered, with plenty of rubble, junk and burning wreckage to be negotiated as you battle everything from breaking out prisoners, bikie and organised crime gangs through to the more outlandish fat-fetish-fans and nimble prostitutes.
This is a brawler game, no ranged combat whatsoever, with combo’s of fast or heavy attack being easy to pull off thanks to the on-screen queues. Do enough damage to a foe and a chance for a cinematic finishing move will appear. Hit the correct button and the thug will be rendered unconscious under a flurry of blows, a major splash of blood and a significant dental bill.
Both Nite Owl and Rorschach have their own special combat abilities built up over time, and pick-ups such as wrenches, bottles and crowbars can be employed.
But, and it is a big but, the combat is essentially broken.
Firstly you will realise that one of the most effective means of dispatching foes, is to simply pick them up and throw them over a convenient ledge or cliff. Eventually, however the crime fighting pair will encounter quicker opponents that can avoid the one-button death throw.
So soon you realise it might take an extra button push, but the fool-proof way to victory is simply to spam the counter-attack control (hold down the left bumper and repeatedly press the square button on a PS3). As Rorschach, for example, this will result in disarming the grunt and turning the weapon against him, but more importantly, while hitting this command, your hero will not be attacked.
It might take a little longer, but it means the player never needs to be concerned of a group of enemies – to the games credit, can sometimes be many – overpowering them.
So the story progresses, with endless stream of similarly modelled thugs to dispatch, and only the odd ‘unlock’ mini-game or pithy puzzle to distract from the constant, repetitive and bloody combat. Whist it is certainly cinematic, it is equally brain numbing.
Poor old Deadline Games, I cannot help thinking they were a victim of their own name, not able to fulfil the initial vision of bringing a deep story of flawed super-heroes before being told to package it up.
The best thing about writing this review is that I can move onto something more enjoyable. The end is no longer nigh, it is here.
2 Stupid thugs out of 10