PS2 REVIEW: CONSTANTINE

Constantine the movie wages a one man war against Hell. Constantine on the PS2 wages a one player war against mediocre game design.

Everything you will encounter in this movie tie in is as generic as the Constantine T-shirts, action figures and beach towels that no doubt would have been taking up an aisle in Wal-Mart had the Hellblazer series been more popular.

Third person shooters dealing with demons and Hell has been done before and better than this. Even Devil May Cry 2 comes off as the winner in a side by side comparison and DMC2 tanked. Had Constantine been a budget priced $19.99 it would have been much easier to recommend. As it stands, there are just too many flaws apparent in the final product to overlook the $39.99 price tag.

Those of you who literally know nothing of Hellblazer, John Constantine or the movie will be hard pressed to figure out why you're shooting all of these demons and how it's possible the lead character can stand in a puddle of water, say a magic latin incantation and go immediately to Hell without passing Go. Think of Constantine as a companion to the movie which sets up the entire backstory and provides the character with impetus to carry out his fate, because the game just throws you right into the thick of things with nary a morsel of motivation aside from "I have a gun. I have ammo and there are demons coming at me." Deep.

The gameplay isn't half bad if you're looking for a mindless shooter that throws in some relatively easy puzzles to figure out. Most of the puzzles require you to move from one plane of existence to the next and/or move boxes around. Generally when you reach a dead end, look for the puddle of water and you'll be on your way. Not too taxing overall. Like most repetitive games that rely more on the "Wow, I'm playing as 'insert character here' " eventually the whole game collapses under the weight of not being able to sustain the excitement past the 6th level. The game is lengthy I'll give it that much, but it's too much of a not great thing. The formulaic design pits Constantine against hordes of demons and then mixes it up with a boss battle, where you're only a cerebral synapse away from figuring out the weakspot and pattern so you can get back to shooting the hordes again. I'm certain some of these game designers learned their craft from the back of a shampoo bottle. You know "Lather. Rinse. Repeat."

Casting spells to defeat enemies adds some variety to the genre but the interface is a tad clunky. You will need to select your spell with the D-Pad, open the casting screen to see what buttons to press to actually execute it and then enter those buttons. It's not something you'll want to be doing when you're surrounded, but if you have some space to work with, the spells can be a lifesaver.

Visually the game looks decent at times. Hell is represented well and some of the bosses are kind of cool, but the framerate bogs down so much on the PS2 version that it renders the game unplayable in certain spots. The Xbox version handled the onscreen graphic multitasking much more competently.

Within a matter of weeks Constantine the game will be reduced in price to where it should have been retailed at originally. For $19.99 I can see fans of the original source material or the movie losing themselves in that reality for awhile. Until then you're ordered to either rent it or ignore it altogether. Your call.

Preview By Chris

Constantine is the newest adventure game from Bits and THQ. It will be based on the huge Warner Brother's Movie coming out in early 2005 starring Keanu Reeves who will play the main character, John Constantine. For those who know their comic books, yes, this is based on the DC comic series written by Alan Moore. Fans will know the series as Hellblazer. The story is about a guy who is not your typical comic hero. In fact he is part thief, mage and con artist. Let's just hope that Keanu does not have one of those cheesy lines where he looks at the camera and goes "Whoa Dude". The role should fit Mr.Reeves very well since he has the look of the character already.

The game will be in a third-person view where gamers will control John on his way to solving some bizarre paranormal events. The graphics will feature stunning CGI and will showcase some fantastic visual effects. After all, John Constantine is a paranormal investigator who just happens to possess some unique hidden talents. He can enter the same realm he is assigned to investigate. He has charm, he can con and he can kick some demon ass when need be. Players will need to use his talents to reach the next objective. Of course, the game will tie in very closely to the Movie and stay true to the comic series. The twist in the game is the fact you will play in LA and the evil plane that exists but can only be seen through the eyes of John Constantine.

Hellblazer fans will be happy to know there will be extras added for fans of the series. Visuals look great. We will have more on this truly different adventure game when the date gets closer. For now take a look at the great screen shots of the early demo and stay tuned for more on this one!

Features:

  • The videogame inspired by the highly anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures film.
  • Play as John Constantine in an intense third-person action horror game.
  • Encounter terrifying enemies in haunting locations throughout Hell and Earth.
  • Use an array of powerful incantations and an arsenal of spectacular holy artefacts including the Crucifier, Holy Shotgun and Dragon's Breath Flamethrower.
  • Use the unique "True Sight" ability to identify deadly half-breeds and other unearthly demonic secrets.
Click For Media
System: PS2, Xbox
Dev: Bits Studio
Pub: THQ
Release: Feb 2005
Players: 1
Review By Vaughn
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.75
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
2.0