What do you get when you take Sam Fisher and morph him with a talking, gun-totin’ guinea pig? G-Force from Disney, of course. The latest animated adventure is hitting the big screen all across the country, and fans of the movie can now extend the experience at home on Wii.
If you’re picking up this game in hopes of squeezing it for more story elements, you may be a tad disappointed. The characters have a lot of charm and charisma, but there isn’t much to go on in terms of plot. A power-mongering billionaire by the name of Saber has secretly sold the American public dangerous robotic creatures under the guise of typical household appliances. When D-day hits, the country is overtaken by these ravenous machines. It’s up to Darwin – a rodent with human intelligence – to save the day.
If there’s one thing you usually don’t expect from a game based on a movie, it’s innovation in gameplay. To be sure, you won’t get that here, either. G-Force on Wii takes inspiration from a handful of other notable gaming series, but to our surprise, it does a solid job of bringing its component parts together to make for a fun and compelling companion to Disney’s theatrical offering.
You take control of Darwin, and the game begins with a sort of Splinter Cell-esque crash course on the basics. You’ll move the rodent around with the analog stick on the Nunchuk, jump with the A button, and move the camera by holding the C button and aiming the Wii Remote. Darwin’s equipped with a jetpack that will allow him to reach higher ground, as well as zip across the landscape in order to make a quick escape or remain hidden from patrolling enemies.
Your furry hero has two basic types of attacks – a laser whip, which he can perform simple combos with, and a variety of guns. In order to execute long-ranged attacks, you’ll hold the Z button and aim with the Wii Remote. You can toggle weapons with the D-pad, and you’ll acquire various upgrades and extras via vending machines located throughout levels (an obvious cue taken from the Ratchet & Clank series).
Combat most times feels really satisfying, though the camera can be disorienting in the heat of battle. The C button allows you to lock onto nearby enemies, but the camera often becomes confused, either causing you to lock onto an enemy before even entering the room they’re in, or not allowing you to lock onto an enemy who’s right in front of you. Using a combination of the C and Z buttons to go into an almost first-person shooter mode is also about the only control over the camera you’re afforded. You can center the camera behind Darwin’s back by tapping on C, but for the most part you’ll want to hold the button for constant control of the view. It’s a shame you can’t simply toggle control of the camera, as having to hold the C button becomes tiresome and impractical when executing other commands.
The levels in G-Force have a distinct Mission Impossible feel, and you’ll be working your way past security cameras and other devices in order to progress. In order to navigate portions of a level, you’ll often take control of a robot fly named Mooch. This little guy can access small openings and other hard-to-reach areas, and you’ll need to make use of his ability to slow down time in order to get past fans and other dangerous obstacles. It’s a fairly neat mechanic that, thankfully, isn’t overused. It’s also nice that (in normal mode at least) the game doesn’t constantly hold your hand, telling you when and where you should make use of Mooch or your other tools. After instructing you on the fundamentals, the game will give you room to figure certain things out on your own.
The game also comes complete with quite a large variety of enemies, and you’ll approach each in different ways. In a nod to the Metroid Prime series, Darwin has the ability to scan enemies or elements of an environment, which in turn offer clues about how best to proceed. Many of the baddies in the very early parts of the game can be defeated with a simple whack from your laser whip, while latter enemies require you to either watch for a weak spot or implement other, more interesting strategies.
As you make your way through levels, you’ll acquire computer chips and other electronic components that can heal you, refill your ammo, or be used as currency at vending machines. There are new weapons unlocked as you progress, as well as upgrades that expand the capacity of your ammo. Maps can also be purchased, though you’ll first be required to scour for secret discs hidden throughout the level. The collection aspect in the game is a nice touch that will likely fill most players with a desire to fully scavenge a given area before moving on.
In addition to action-adventure missions, there’s a little bit of on-rails shooting as well. You’ll lead Darwin in his rolling-ball-ship thing through a series of tunnels, blasting enemies and avoiding mines and other hazards along the way. It’s a nice change of pace that works well with the rest of what the game has to offer, and the controls are straightforward and fun. As a matter of fact, you’ll never really be asked to use the Wii Remote in ways that feel tacked on or gimmicky, and it’s an omission that’s greatly appreciated.
The presentation for G-Force is also fairly impressive, in spite of the somewhat stilted storyline. Environments are detailed, and everything has a nice, clean look to it. There’s a bit of shimmer here and there, but the overall visual presentation is quite commendable, especially for a movie-licensed product. The rodent-character models are particularly notable, exhibiting some fine fur texturing and smooth animation.
You also might be surprised to hear the familiar voices of the stars from the movie, and let me tell you, it adds a lot of personality to the game. The voice acting is tight and well-delivered, and the sound effects are a major star, too, especially during combat. In spite of issues with the camera, combat was a lot of fun due in major part to the crunchy, visceral effects that come with smacking baddies and popping off rounds. The music is decent and sits well in the background, though there’s nothing much there that makes a great impression.
On the whole, we had a good time with G-Force. It doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, but it’s a solid gaming experience fans of the movie can consider with confidence. Whether or not it’s worth a purchase will depend upon your appreciation of Darwin and friends, as the game is relatively short and offers little incentive to make repeat visits. However, if you really had fun watching the adventure unfold in theaters and want to keep the good times rolling, we definitely think it’s worth a rent. Rodents with guns and a sharp sense of humor – it’s hard to beat.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
G-Force is an impressive-looking game on Wii. The only real criticism worth noting is that the atmosphere sees little change from beginning to end. 3.8 Control
There is a lot of very entertaining usage of the IR functionality, especially later on in the game. Both controllers are used to almost frugal perfection. However, you’ll often struggle with the camera, and some of the button-mapping choices are disappointing. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Really strong voice work and absolutely excellent sound effects. The music works well, but there’s nothing here you’ll be humming after the game is over. 4.0
The adventure has a respectable length, but once it’s over you’ll be hard-pressed to find incentive to return. That said, there has been some real love injected into this game, and fans of the movie, as well as action-adventure-loving Wii owners, probably shouldn’t miss it.
3.9 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.