Over the past few years a new trend of movies based on comic-book characters, and games to accompany them, has emerged. So when the quartet of super heroes known as the Fantastic Four hit screens this summer, the game was almost inevitable.
The game takes you from the space-station malfunction that started it all to the climatic showdown with the nemesis, which the movie’s plot revolves around, with some unrelated adventures thrown in between. All four heroes can be controlled, though not at all times. Certain levels will only have one or two playable characters while others will have all of them. You can actively switch between characters with ease if you want to. For those who’d rather stick to one Fantastic, only on occasion will you need to be a certain character to advance the game, and when you do the game will make it very obvious.
The controls are the same for each character in that the power attack, jump, and grab buttons are constant. However, each character has a different set of moves, with the Thing’s heavy attacks differing from Mr. Fantastic’s. Each character does have their strengths and weaknesses. The Thing is strong, and can take more damage than those not sheltered by rocks, but lacks the range of Mr. Fantastic or the Human Torch.
Gameplay is typical to this type of 3rd person adventure game. For those who care to learn them, there are a fair amount of moves that can be performed, but you can survive on button mashing. The formula is pretty simple: take control of the Fantastic Four in a limited area, than destroy every enemy or complete another objective to advance to the next area. These other objectives barely qualify as puzzles or mini-games; the game takes any mystery out of the game by marking the area where the objective lies. You don’t even need to find out which character is needed, since the color of the marker indicates the required person. When you guide your character over to the marker and press B the game assigns you with some mundane task, like rotating the left thumbstick rapidly or moving an object from point A to point B.
Fantastic Four is certainly not a pretty game. The characters, environments, battles, all look worse than they should. Even the cut scenes at the beginning of a level are lame, with no texture or detail. 7 Studio’s disregard for its game presentation is never more obvious than when, during transactional cut scenes, a character’s mouth will continue to move perpetually after their lines are delivered.
To the game’s credit, not many movie-games get so many people from the film to contribute their voices to the game. Anyone you’d want to hear in the game you do. Unfortunately, the poor and unexciting dialogue nullifies any sense of professionalism you might experience from such a cast.
As with most games, playing with a friend in co-op can be fun but that’s really the only aspect of the game’s replay value; if you can make a case to put it under that category. In each level goals and tokens can be met and found but the typical unlockables for movie games are hardly worth it. Only an exceptional few will deem the behind-the-scenes features worth going back and replaying the game for.
Obviously hardcore Fantastic Four fans will have to settle for this, being it is the only Fantastic Four game for the more-than-foreseeable future. For every other type of gamer, however, Fantastic Four is a very mediocre game, offering nothing you can’t find in some other adventure game. Finding a game much more enjoyable is not hard.
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