I Feel Alan Moore’s Pain
It’s no secret I like comic books. Several of my recent reviews have been for comic book franchises. With Watchmen, it was always something more than affection I had for those characters. I knew them, inside and out. I didn’t need the movie to make the characters move for me, nor did I need the first part of the The End is Nigh back in March. But these things just sort of added to the mythos as far as I was concerned. Now that the second part has finally arrived on every intended platform, I have to ask the question: Is Alan Moore right about Hollywood and their treatment of his creations?
I used to think it was more a question of creative liberties being taken, but with this last installment, I have to admit, I understand exactly where Alan Moore is coming from Watchmen: The End is Nigh Part 2 does exactly what its predecessor fell into – repetitive combat, simplistic combos, random enemies that all are the same. In fact, nothing about the combat system has changed.
As such, if you’ve played the first part, you’ll be able to hop right in and deliver effective combos. If not, you can just button mash your way around until you get the timing down. While simple button combos are decidedly mundane, they become great once it comes to the takedowns by either of the two lead characters, Rorschach and Nite Owl. They are the same as before but they do still give the brutal satisfaction of criminals bloody and bruised. However, there’s a problem that I had with the takedowns, near the end of the game you’ll be taking on a different set of foes – females. And the brutality towards them as opposed to some of the males seems to be a little bit much, especially from Rorschach. While I understand his back-story perfectly, it doesn’t excuse the difference in combo style when facing the female villains and the male villains.
Maybe the story has something to do with the extra brutality. Set on July 30, 1977, the second day of the fabled police strike that set things in motion for the heroes to retire, Rorschach is looking for a missing girl. The girl’s name is Violet Greene. She appears to be the victim of pornography, and as far as Rorschach and eventually Nite Owl know, she is underage. So the two set out to find the girl and bring down the criminal pornography ring. Arriving at The Money Pit, the two heroes square off against random thugs in the strip club. These enemies are the traditional stereotype of the swanky night club scene in the 70s, even down to the vernacular they use mixed with profanity.
Near the end of the siege on the pornography ring, the two heroes discover that an old acquaintance of Nite Owl’s is behind everything. I’m not going to give away the ending of the game for those wanting to experience it for themselves, but I have to say that it was unexpected and a bit annoying. Fans of the graphic novel will know what I am talking about once they reach the end. All in all, the story is really the main draw of this entry. Without it there’s not much else to the game. Thankfully, the return of Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earl Haley as Nite Owl and Rorschach, respectively, adds to the characters. Their performances don’t feel stale and it really captures the dynamic these two had in the first entry and the film.
One of the major problems I had with The End is Nigh Part 1 was the repetitive nature of the environments. This is partially fixed. Instead of constant retread of the same corridors or alleyways, things have been streamlined. You don’t find yourself asking if you have been through this area already quite as often, nor do you find yourself questioning why you are doing the same repetitive lever pulling as you did in the first. These things make the game a little more tolerable, but they also make the game feel incredibly short. Weighing in at a mere three chapters, you should trounce through this game in around two hours. The problem with that though is the first two chapters will most likely only take you about thirty minutes. Maybe a few more if you are looking for the few random cards to increase your Rage Meter. These are cleverly hidden up ladders, various nooks and crannies, or behind the occasional cage you have to lock pick to gain access to.
The Lock Pick mechanic is a little more refined than the first, giving you prompts that are a little easier to recognize when you are supposed to catch the locking mechanism. It gets a bit cumbersome, but it does break up the combat if you are getting bored with the onslaught of thugs and villainy. There is one thing about the villains that I found humorous though. Boob physics have been in video game fighters for a long time. While those are still present in this title, The End is Nigh Part 2 has Belly Physics. The male villains you square off against in the last chapter are all overweight, bondage, leather wearing fellows and when you take them out, their bellies will shake just as much as the female characters’ “assets.”
Visually, this entry is just as polished as the first, maybe even a little more. The character models, even though they’re so repetitive, all look impressive. Rorschach and Nite Owl still have the same look and excel in their own combat style. The only problem, just like the first, is a few framerate issues and the occasional screen tearing, especially near the end. The first entry, Watchmen: The End is Nigh, was impressive, and that stills holds true for the second part. However, just like the first, when you go for the co-op experience, you’ll be missing out on most of the visuals due to the still questionable split-screen display.
Watchmen: The End is Nigh Part 2 is not a horrible game; it’s not a great game either. It is more of a game that is just there. It gives respect to the traditional street brawler and leaves the rest on the cutting room floor, along with Alan Moore’s vision of compelling characters and story.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
Graphics hold together like the first, though there’s a little more screen tearing this time around. 2.5 Control
Same as first – simple and bothersome all at once. 3.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Hearing more of the witty dialogue of Rorschach and Nite Owl by the original actors adds to the authenticity of the game. 2.6 Play Value
Just like the first entry, this one doesn’t try to escape from the simple button mashing, combo street brawler. 2.6 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.