G.I. Joe


posted 10/2/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
Speaking to annoying throwbacks to the 1990s, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra doesn't give you any control over the camera. That's right, you have no control whatsoever. That means that the game's camera awkwardly follows you, showing you what it thinks is most important. There's just one problem, what it this is most important and what IS most important are two different things. I spent much of the game literally firing off screen hoping I was shooting something. The bad guys seem to like to hide in areas that the camera doesn't want to show you, no matter where you stand. Also, there are times when you are running into the screen and the camera simply won't follow, making your tiny character even tinier. Even with a large HDTV I had to bring out the magnifying glass for a few sections of the game.

To make this game even more infuriating, The Rise of Cobra gives you mid-level checkpoints that aren't actually mid-level checkpoints. Each level is split up into multiple sections, usually with 2 - 4 sections. Once you hit that checkpoint the game revives any fallen characters and takes all of your points away. What it does not do, however, is save your progress. So, if both characters die you will go back to the start of the level, not the mid-level checkpoint. That's right; you go all the way back to the beginning of the level. Even if you're fighting one of the game's underwhelming bosses, you will still go to the beginning of the level. If that's the way it's going to be, why even bother having a mid-level checkpoint?

The game suffers from a lot of other problems, too. For example, the background levels you'll go to are as generic as they come. One is in the ice, another in a desert, there's a forest level, and so on so forth. You'll also notice that each level is set-up exactly the same. You go into a small enclosed area, kill several waves of bad guys (all with the same voice and lame expressions) and then repeat in another arena-style area. Occasionally you'll have to open doors and cut off force fields, but that involves nothing more than destroying certain transmitters or hacking into specific computer stations. It's all very basic stuff. So are the mini-games, which involves you raining missiles down on enemy tanks. Somehow even that is annoying in The Rise of Cobra.

And did I mention that there's a Gears of War-style cover system? Of course I didn't, because this, like everything else in the game, is completely broken. You'll also notice that I also didn't bring up the vehicle missions, which requires you to put up with the single worst tank controls I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. The vehicle controls change as the camera changes, but seeing as you have no control over the camera you'll find that you have no control over the vehicle either. It's an absolute mess, but it's just one of the many things I got wrong.

The truth is this game fails in such a spectacular way that I have a hard time believing that this is the finished product. The problems with this game are normally associated with 1998 Nintendo 64 games, not an Xbox 360 release. There's simply no excuse for camera, control and gameplay problems of this magnitude. I'm absolutely appalled at this game; G.I. Joe is bad on a level I didn't think was possible in this day and age.

I promised myself going into this review that I would find something nice to say about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. After putting up with an unruly camera and a targeting system that doesn't work, I realized that the only thing good about the game is the multiplayer option. In this game you can bring a second player in at any time, allowing somebody else to endure the suffering with you. Of course, you'll likely find that your friend will get bored with the experience half way through a level. And for good reason, these levels are the video game equivalent of watching grass grow.

Again I wonder if I would be having more fun if this game featured a cel-shaded art style that resembled the 1980s cartoon. Could it be that so much of the nostalgia involves the look? Seeing these real human models feels weird, especially since they don't look any different from the countless other third-person shooters on the market. The world they fight in feels like places we've been before and the story is completely forgettable. I can understand why the movie needed to be live-action, but what is the game's excuse?

There's no reason to buy G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In fact, I would argue that there's no reason for you to even play it. Even if this is your first Xbox 360 experience, you will still be underwhelmed. You don't need to have played a recent shooter to know that most of the problems with this game have been ironed out in better action games. So go and buy one of those games, because you're just throwing your money away when you accept this kind of shoddy product.

G.I. Joe not only bad, but it's completely outdated. The Rise of Cobra doesn't have the problems of a modern day shooter, it has the problems of a shooter from the late 1990s. Camera issues, targeting concerns, ugly graphics, frustrating difficulty, it's all here. Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong in this abysmal game. There's no reason to buy G.I. Joe as long as there is at least one other game on the store shelf.

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