King of the Monsters
Godzilla, the giant green lizard protector of Earth, is a name that is known everywhere. It would be probably be hard not to have had some experience with the mutant lizard. The epic battles of Godzilla against other giant monsters should naturally translate to gaming, especially considering the potential for destruction and carnage. Godzilla Unleashed for the Wii is a decent attempt to capture the essence of the Godzilla films, but while the game mainly succeeds as an action title, it falls short as a fighting game.
Godzilla Unleashed tells the story of an uprising of the various giant mutant monsters on the Earth, caused by the mysterious crystals which cause differing effects in the mutants. The monsters are somehow drawn to these crystals, seeking to harness the power for themselves, and humans are also seeking to retrieve the crystals for self-preservation, since the crystals seem to cause the monsters to gain strength and act out in unpredictable ways. There are different factions opposing one another in pursuit of the crystals, including the Earth’s defenders, the human-created robotic monsters, and mutants. Your choice of which faction you represent and what monster you choose changes the story slightly and increases replayability, but for the most part the story is largely forgettable and should be ignored. The narrative is conveyed through still illustrations with badly acted voiceovers. For example, an Australian calling for help sounds like an American badly affecting an Australian accent with the occasional ‘mate’ thrown in for good measure. The voice acting and storyline are definitely not the best part of Godzilla Unleashed.
The vast majority of the game revolves around the combat, which is feels flawed from the beginning. Each monster has a limited repertoire of moves, which includes a punch, a hard punch, a kick, a hard kick, a throw, and an energy attack. Some of the monsters have character specific moves such as the ability to fly. The basic attacks are performed with the press of a button, and the hard attacks are performed with the button press combined with a movement. During my gametime, I found it difficult to consistently perform some of the power attacks, so it seemed sometimes like a crapshoot as to what move I would use when attacking. The energy attacks, which seem to be some of the more effective moves in the game, require aiming that is difficult to focus, so whenever you use it you’ll waste some of your time and limited energy simply aiming at your intended target. Finally the throw, which requires a downward motion with the Wii-mote and the Nunchuk, is also unresponsive at times, leaving the character open to all sorts of attacks while flailing to complete the throw animation.
As you progress through the game, you’ll have to complete different objectives which usually include either defeating your opponent or destroying the power crystals on the stage you’re currently occupying. However, the destruction of crystals probably should have been a secondary objective, as it is far easier than defeating your opponents and decidedly less fun. Sometimes there are more monsters occupying a stage than your opponent, so the target enemy finds themselves distracted by the A.I. while you stroll around the stage, destroying crystals at your leisure, which lacks both challenge and fun. Even more frustrating is the fact that the game lacks a map system or anything pointing you towards your objective, so you’ll be forced to wander the stage in search of your crystals or guess which monster (out of a possible three) you’ve been charged to defeat.
As I stated before, the controls can feel unresponsive at times. Most of the characters move sluggishly, although that is likely intentional since we are dealing with monsters that are a few stories tall. However, sluggish controls do not translate well for a game based around fighting. If you approach this game expecting fighting, you will be very disappointed. If you approach this game looking for an action title though, you will likely find yourself enjoying a good number of the brawls, especially is you are a fan of Godzilla.
Fans of Godzilla will find a lot to enjoy with this game. The game has been crammed full of different monsters from different Godzilla films, bringing the total available monsters to a whopping 23, including some monsters created specifically for this game. The only problem is that you have to jump through quite a few hoops before you’ve unlocked the entire gallery of playable monsters. For most, you have to find the monster in the game, which then only unlocks your ability to purchase that specific monster…if you’ve already unlocked that monster’s faction. Add the fact that most of the monster cost a ridiculous amount of credits, which ensures that you have to play through the game’s stages a few times to earn enough, and completionists will find themselves playing Godzilla Unleashed for a long time to come…although that may have been the developer’s intentions.
The visuals in Godzilla Unleashed are decent considering the Wii’s power. There isn’t anything in the game that is particularly awe-inspiring, and the monsters all look fairly like their movie counterparts and animated just as clumsily. The camera doesn’t do a great job of giving the best view of the action, as it seems to arbitrarily move between a view behind your back or to the side.
The Wii version of the game is notably better than the PlayStation 2 version of the game, however. If you’ve played the PS2 version and have been turned off, you might want to check out the Wii version before writing the game off completely. The Wii version boasts superior visuals, better (if unresponsive at times) controls, a few more monsters, and a better variety in the objectives.
Overall, Godzilla Unleashed is a decent monster bashing experience on the Wii. If you’re a fan of Godzilla, you’ll find a lot to enjoy with this game once you get beyond the flawed and unresponsive controls. Just be certain to approach the game like a brawler in the vein of a gigantic Final Fight with monsters instead of a Tekken or Virtua Fighter game, and you’ll be able to enjoy the game.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.0 Graphics
Visuals are decent if not extraordinary. 2.8 Control
The controls are imprecise at best, unresponsive at worst. 2.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Largely forgettable soundtrack and voiceovers are bad. 3.8
Tons of replayability, and unlocking all of the monsters is a long process.
3.1 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.