|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Edge of Reality||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
With the amount of lackluster Hulk games in the past, many fans felt Marvel had finally done the big guy justice with 2005's Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. PS2, Xbox, and GameCube owners got to hold the power of The Hulk in their hands, while free-roaming an entire city and playing along in a fun and imaginative storyline. While the new Incredible Hulk game, loosely based on the new film, expands on the same open-world concepts, the storyline is far removed from the movie and the game lacks the same visual appeal that made Ultimate Destruction great.
There are perhaps a couple of estimations as to why this game lacks the same kind of charm. Development team Edge of Reality has taken over duties for Radical Entertainment, who worked on Ultimate Destruction and built the original Hulk-meets-open-world concept. Secondly, while Ultimate Destruction was designed for second-generation consoles, this was obviously designed to run on the PS3 and 360. Therefore, it looks visually horrendous when played on the PS2, as images become blurred and pixelated, and animations become choppy and awkward.
When you load up the game, everything looks fairly decent. The Story Mode begins with Bruce Banner on his knees in icy tundra holding a revolver. As he points it to his own face about to pull the trigger, he then turns into the likeness of The Hulk from the new film. The game then jumps to another cutscene where Bruce, designed to look like Edward Norton, is being chased by Army forces. The chase leads into a building where part of the ceiling falls on top of Bruce. This is when you begin playing the game, as you have to rapidly tap Triangle and Hulk busts through the rubble. It's in this room where you get to toy around with Hulk's power, as you walk around and smash various objects at your disposal. Square is your light punch, Triangle is heavy punch, and Circle is grab. You can either smash any object with a punch or grab it to throw it with Square or smash it with Triangle. X makes Hulk jump and holding it for a period of time allows him to build up his power and perform a massive leap into the air. Landing on destructible objects will damage them, and anytime you land on the ground, the foundation around Hulk's feet cracks under the weight.
Playing as Hulk, you have to make your way out of the building by defeating enemies blasting off rounds at you as well as a few larger robots that are a bit tougher to defeat. After making your way through all the rooms and completing the first mission, you are then free to roam the city of New York. Where Ultimate Destruction took place in a fictional city, this is a replica of NYC, complete with the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, Times Square, and Central Park. While the game has a strong GTA-like feel in its environment, there is no comparison as to the amount of detail in the city. From the buildings to vehicles and pedestrians, The Incredible Hulk is pretty stale. When you first get a feel for the city, you begin to realize this game was obviously designed for current-generation consoles, giving PS2 owners the shaft.
Though you are working with a massive playing field, visually the PS2 version looks incredibly dated. Things look jagged and pixelated, and vehicles look angular. Text along the sides of buildings and billboards look blurred. Pedestrians lack animation and detail. Though you have the ability to free-roam the whole of New York City, something about this game feels very stale. Hulk has the ability to jump along and scale buildings, but when you reach the top there is a foggy haze that seems to blur the skyline, making it impossible to get a clear view of the city. It would be nice to stand on the peak of the Chrysler Building from the view of The Hulk and look over the entire city. Unfortunately, the game allows you to look no further than the few buildings next to it. Even with the amount of freedom you have in the city, at times The Incredible Hulk feels very limiting as to what you can actually see and do while roaming.