|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Double Helix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Just Got a Whole Lot More Real
by Pete Richards
April 23, 2009 - As with any film intent on becoming a blockbuster release, accompanying merchandise, toys, and video games are inevitable for the upcoming live-action rebirth of the G.I. JOE franchise. Though time will tell how the general public will respond to the upcoming release of The Rise of the Cobra in August, publisher Electronic Arts ensures fans and gamers that its video game adaptation of the film definitely won't disappoint when it hits the market in July.
Expectedly, G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra is linked to the movie's storylines, imagery, and new character designs (love them or hate them). As developers attempt to turn a 90-minute motion picture into a game that offers several hours of gameplay in its solo campaign, as new storylines are created and characters are introduced to make the experience a much longer and more involved one. In the case of The Rise of the Cobra, the developers have crafted a storyline completely unique to the game, meant to take place the occurrences of the film. Working with the G.I. JOE franchise, developers at Double Helix have drawn influences from its 45-year history, including the so-vintage-it's-cool cartoon series and comic books from the '80s. Due to its relation to the film, EA is keeping a tight lip about the plot of the game to avoid spoiling any information.
What the public is allowed to know is that players will take control of their favorite characters from both the film and the franchise in this third-person shooter, with a total of twelve playable troopers. It's safe to presume that Cobra's shenanigans have not yet been fully resolved by the end of the film, and the game will continue the quest of the Joes to find more about his connection to the M.A.R.S. Corporation. As confirmed by EA, players will be taking their troops through a number of different environments throughout the game, including military bases, deserts, arctic tundra, and deserts in true Joe fashion. An undisclosed number of non-playable characters will also join the cast of The Rise of the Cobra game from the world of G.I. JOE, sure to bring joy to the hearts of fans perhaps disappointed by their absence in the film. Double Helix has introduced characters including Dataframe, Dialtone, Breaker, Stalker, and Tunnel Rat to the game, though only time will tell which of these (if any) will be playable.
With the twelve characters you'll be controlling, each will be categorized into one of three classes: Commando, Heavy, and Combat. As anyone familiar with third-person shooters would expect, Commando characters are ideal for short-ranged action and melee attacks; the Heavy class is intended for medium-ranged combat with some heavy gunnery; and Combat characters are skilled at battling enemy troops from either close or long distances. What makes the class system unique in The Rise of the Cobra is that each will be assigned unique moves and have different capabilities that make each G.I. JOE character so much fun to play as. Shipwreck, for example, will be able to send his parrot to drop bombs on enemies. Carrying lighter equipment and trained in close-ranged battle, the Commando class of characters will be much quicker and more agile than a Heavy gunner strapped with the big guns, and players will definitely have a wide selection of characters with individual movements and capabilities to play around with and grow comfortable with using in hairy situations. There will also be a few different control systems which players may adjust to their likings, with more simplistic settings to appeal to more casual gamers as well as children being introduced to this reborn franchise.
There are a total of twelve confirmed vehicles that will be included in the game, most of which are modeled after those featured in the film including two different versions of the H.I.S.S. Tank. But like the inclusion of new characters, a few new vehicles not included in the film have been designed and added for use in The Rise of the Cobra game.
The past several years have seen a resurgence in the popularity of '80s cartoons and science fiction, with recent reinventions including Transformers and the long-running rumors of a Masters of the Universe feature film. EA and Double Helix have ensured all the vintage campiness of the '80s cartoon series has not been lost in this game, as environments, character and vehicle designs, and dialogue are all said to capture the traditional G.I. JOE spirit. Humorously archetypal public service announcements are included in the game in the form of Easter eggs, and the game is said to have a fast-paced, arcade style of action to separate itself from more realistic third-person war games currently flooding the market. The game, however, isn't without its precision and tactical elements for the more involved gamer. It is also being designed for two-player capabilities in its story mode, promising to add a more cooperative experience to playing through the game and unlocking its goodies.
Recently released screenshots as well as the trailer offer a good indication of the type of cartoonish aesthetic found in The Rise of the Cobra video game. Bright coloring and rounded character models are blended with more visually realistic explosion, wind, and dust effects that look to put full next-gen capabilities to use. But when game mechanics and control setups ultimately determine how well a video game functions, only time will tell if the video game adaptation The Rise of the Cobra is a hit or miss.
CCC Freelance Writer