As Nathan battles his way through the game, he'll be rewarded with explosive new weapons and state-of-the-art bionic upgrades. These new powers allow our hero to travel back to the early stages and uncover more upgrades, 1-ups and hidden items. This adds a layer of replay I wasn't expecting. I found myself replaying some of the levels a half dozen time, combing every inch in hopes of picking up every 1-up and ability. It's worth your while to locate each of the power-ups, but it's not required in order to complete this lengthy side-scroller.
Beyond the weapons, players have the opportunity to equip additional powers to their suit. Players worried about getting shot can equip a special pack that slowly increases your health over time. Another power-up allows you to summon two flying ships, which you can send to do your dirty work. You can also equip grenades, a hacking tool and much, much more. None of these power-ups drastically change the gameplay, but it did add some variety to the combat. Unfortunately players have to go into the pause menu to change their equipment. It would have been nice to be able to do this on the fly, especially given how often you'll likely need to swap them out.
There's a beauty to the Bionic Commando world that you don't see in most modern games. Although the graphics are simple, the backgrounds are constantly busy with action, explosions and other fun details. There's also a blurry foreground that will occasionally obscure Nathan and his enemies. This is the type of game that excels in the little things. Just seeing the grass obscure the camera makes me grin with delight, especially given how realistic it looks. The fact that I can gush about blurry grass is a testament to how good the rest of the game looks.
Even better than the graphics is the music, which brings the original composer back for a second helping of the most exciting video game music of all time. Even with the big production value, there's something about the way the music sounds that is undeniably from a video game. Best of all, you know it's from Bionic Commando the moment you hear it. There's nothing else that sounds like it. I'm partially convinced that Capcom decided to greenlight this project just so they could release another album of Bionic Commando music.
On top of the game's story mode, players can take part in another two dozen challenge levels. These stages take place in a VR-style grid, forcing players to navigate their way through some of the most difficult level designs imaginable. In order to beat these stages you'll need to have mastered the controls, something that can be a little tricky at the start.
The game also features a two-player co-op mode. While I love the idea of multiplayer swinging, this is one of those ideas that works better on paper. It's hard enough controlling the action with one person, let alone adding a second player who needs to mimic almost every move in order to keep up. Worse yet, this game can only be played locally, so don't expect to beat the game with an online buddy.
It turns out that I really enjoy the Bionic Commando fiction. Even though the storytelling is a little goofy and the level designs aren't ambitious enough, I found myself loving almost every minute of Bionic Commando Rearmed 2. There's a surprising amount of depth to each of the game's 28 stages, plus some great graphics and at least two or three outstanding boss battles. It's not perfect, but fans of the original game will had definitely find something to love in Nathan Spencer's latest adventure.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Don't be fooled by the similar look, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 has a lot to offer fans of the series. The story is admittedly goofy and the gameplay takes some getting used to, but there are enough new ideas here to warrant a sequel. With its lush visuals and outstanding soundtrack, recommending Capcom's newest downloadable game is a no-brainer!
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