|System: PS2, Wii, DS, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Voltage Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: D3 Publisher||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 30, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
If you have even turned over to Cartoon Network over the last month for even a minute, then you probably know all about Ben 10. With a live action movie set to air November 21st, the debut of the new season, and the hours of repeats of season two, Ben 10 is everywhere. It should come as no surprise to see that there was a video game for the scrappy young hero sitting amidst games for me to review. After all, the story is sound enough.
Ben 10 is about a young boy named Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen, and Grandpa Max at the beginning of their summer long camping trip. It gets into the meat of what the show is about when Ben is nearly hit by a space pod falling from the sky. Inside the pod is a watch called the Omnitrix. Ben, like any other curious child, investigates and the watch attaches itself to Ben. Much like the DC comic Dial H for Hero, with a turn of the dial head on the watch, Ben can transform into different alien species to combat evil. Oddly enough, the number of alien heroes he can transform into is ten. Thus instigating the shows lengthy subplots and usual villain of the week approach.
Ben 10: Protector of Earth picks up somewhere during the camping trip of the trio and has Ben losing many of the different transformation abilities to an unknown foe. Your quest to help Ben retrieve the power of the Omnitrix and restore himself to his hero status begins there. Along the way, you will encounter some villains from the show. The villains have, in sorts, combined to take over the Earth and destroy Ben in the process. Some of the villains you will face are Vilgax, Ghostfreak, Hex, and my personal favorite, Kevin 11, which is a basic combination of all of the heroes Ben can transform into. Having an assortment of villains to face off against is a great thing for a boy who can transform into ten heroes at any given time.
Unfortunately, this is my biggest problem with the game. The title on the box says Ben 10. The name of the show is Ben 10. Therefore, I don't really understand why you can only transform into five of the ten. Yes, I understand that you have to find or unlock the heroes as you go, but still you should have been able to unlock all ten of the heroes eventually. To further increase my anger with this cut in half Ben, or Ben 5, is they claim that you can transform into the favorites of the show. While I'll admit that maybe Fourarms, Heatblast, and XLR8 are among fans' top choices for their favorite hero Ben to transform into, I need to know who decided that Cannonbolt and Wildvine were on that same list. Where's Upgrade, Diamondhead, Wildmutt, Ripjaws, Grey Matter, heck even Stinkfly? I mean, to some Diamondhead is the most popular character next to Heatblast. Even though I have nothing against Wildvine or Cannonbolt, these forms of Ben were not introduced until later in the series and are considered more like additional transformations than reliable alien forms.
Being a purist aside, I still can't get over the fact it is Ben 5 and not Ben 10, the transformations do work well. In the show, there is a time limit that Ben can be in these transformed states. It is the same here. However, it feels different for each character, mainlybecause using the abilities of the hero drains the time you can be them immensely. Unlike the show, the Omnitrix recharges at an accelerated rate. This was extremely helpful considering that if you are in the middle of a fight with nearly any group of villains, Ben has maybe two hits before it is game over. Moreover, it was very easy to judge which alien you were changing into by the picture on the dial on your display. If you made a mistake, you could switch back to Ben and wait a few seconds before changing into the desired hero. With the 14 levels you move through, it comes in handy to have them at your disposal as you retrieve them. However, there were several instances where you specifically needed someone more than the other. While this is nothing new to video games, it seemed extremely forced. For example, later in the game when you obtain Wildvine, you will have to use his "swinging" action to make it through certain areas. Since Heatblast is a flyer, this shouldn't have been a specific thing to do, since Ben would have obviously used Heatblast to navigate instead of relying on Wildvine's swinging ability.