|System: DS, X360, PS3, Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Backbone Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 4, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (1-4 wireless multiplayer)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Caleb Newby
G.I. Joe maintains a soft spot in the hearts of millions. From the original toy line marketed to Baby Boomers in the 60s to the popular cartoon of the 80s, G.I. Joe has managed to become a piece of Americana. Its no surprise then that such a cultural phenomenon would make its way to the big screen sooner than later, raking in a hefty sum along the way.
Look no farther than Transformers for proof. And as anyone even passingly familiar with the video game industry could tell you, accompanying any summer action blockbuster are the inevitable video game tie-ins. Unfortunately, what they could also tell you is these games rarely manage to be good. With such promising source material, will G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra manage to buck the trend? Lets find out.
Gameplay is captured through an overhead perspective and a run-and-gun style, putting you in control of a team of Joes looking to stop some nefarious Cobra schemes. Each character has a standard range attack, special attack, dodge maneuver, and melee attack. Combat is straightforward, borrowing heavily from the Gauntlet series. Cobra grunts spawn from generators strewn throughout the game. Before each stage you can select from six G.I. Joes: Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Heavy Duty, Ripcord, and Shipwreck. Each character has different stats that are leveled up as you exterminate enemy soldiers and best the occasional boss battle. The lack of depth and variety to an already simple premise quickly makes the game feel redundant. Five of the six Joes play enough alike that they are only small steps away from the same character re-skinned. Only Snake Eyes with his sword attacks makes him a more unique play experience.
Graphics are adequate, if uninspired. While characters have alternate appearances, it is essentially no more than a different color to the same attire. Terrain and landmarks are passable but dont add much to the experience. Cutscenes take place from time to time using larger avatars for each character and the likeness of the actors from the movie. Still, these are few and far between, leaving in-game characters looking rather bland.
While its accepted that graphics on the DS will never be as impressive as other modern-day systems, the DS is designed for innovative games utilizing both screens and the touchpad. Surprisingly, G.I. Joe fails to utilize the stylus, keeping the lower screen regulated to the map and dialogue. During missions other members of the team frequently jump in to discuss the events. These common interruptions tend to err more on the side of inconvenient annoyances than helpful story expansion. For a game being touted as built especially for the DS, there is a complete lack of utilization of the systems strengths.