|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: GRIN||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: CAPCOM||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 18, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Way back in the 80s, big hair and power ballads were not the only things that were cool. The Nintendo Entertainment System populated homes everywhere, and with the aide of several quality titles its following would only grow. One such title was the original Bionic Commando. Released in 1988 it is still regarded as one of the greatest games around. Now twenty years later Capcom is bringing him back. Will this new age commando stack up to the lofty expectations or is the old hero destined for the scrap heap?
Set ten years after the original, the famed fighter of injustice, Nathan Spencer or Inspector Gadget on steroids, now finds himself on the other side of the law. Betrayed by the government, Spencer sits in prison awaiting his execution. With his fate all but sealed and the last days of his life slowly fading away, it would take nothing short of a miracle to save him, that or a nuclear terrorist attack. Conveniently for Spencer, that is exactly what happened. With the city in ruins and the terrorists firmly in control, the government had no choice but to send in, dramatic pause, the Bionic Commando. If I were Spencer, I think a little pay raise would be in order for the whole execution thing, or at least a gift card.
As history has shown, the transition from 2D to 3D has been a blessing for some but a cruel mistress for others. For every Super Mario 64, there are also Earthworm Jim 3Ds. With that in mind, Capcom wants to keep the elements that made the first game so great in tact. Sure there will be updates, for example the Bionic super soldier can now jump, but a lot of the gameplay will still incorporate the swinging element. By directing the arm players will be able to pinpoint where they wish to swing, as well as latch onto objects and hurl them at unsuspecting foes. The slinging of objects across wide areas seems to be a main way to combat the terrorists in non-conventional ways. For example, players can choose to hurl massive boxes Randy Johnson style or pull down mangled train tracks onto unsuspecting foes. There will most certainly be a little gunplay as well, but thus far there have not been many other weapons shown. One thing is for sure Spencer's unique abilities really give a new meaning to the expression, "The Long Arm of the Law." From what the developers have released to this point, the swinging function seems to work well, and navigating the huge city should come with relative ease. The exploration is strikingly similar to the open gameplay provided in Spider-man II or III. Players will be able to navigate Spencer across sprawling cities. Lets just hope they mix in a little more destroy with all this search.
Visually the sequel also seems to be stacking up quite nicely. The huge barren city is crumpled and destroyed from the attack. Smashed bridges, broken glass, and tons of rubble create an intense atmosphere. The picture on display evokes the feel that a massive strike has just occurred, as you find yourself in an area devoid of any life aside from the gunmen taking aim at you. Although the area in the demo was not exactly bustling with enemies, what we have seen looks good. Most impressive is the Bionic Commando himself; his movements and arm effects flow nicely, and at this stage in development the overall polish is staggering.
Can this incarnation of the Bionic Commando live up to its predecessor? Well, that remains to be seen. It is hard to judge whether the character remains relevant. With the first game being released roughly twenty years ago, Capcom may have waited a little too long to reinvent the series. With a remake of the original heading to Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network, maybe Capcom can generate some interest from those who never played the storied title. For those big time fans out there, I guess all there is left to say is, "Its about time."
CCC Freelance Writer