If you've been following the series at all, you're profoundly aware of its decade-centric jokes that target people and trends of varying periods. The first game was all '50s, the second was '60s, so it logically follows that Unleashed takes place in the '70s, complete with polyester pants and tiny-shorts-wearing roller girls. The roller girls here tend to carry bombs and work for a chicken frying madman, but we don't remember the '70s too well so that might be canon.
Anyway, yeah there's these roller girls that are trying to explode you. Seems your alien commander has started a chain of restaurants (Big Willy's) and is serving humans as cheap food. You're supposed to be harvesting DNA and meat for burgers (like we could tell the difference), but Col. Kluckin, a fast-food rival, has discovered the alien's plans. Naturally, instead of alerting the military or the UN or whatever, he decides to compete by killing Crypto, destroying Big Willy's and making his own chain king of the country-fried hill.
Missions we saw ranged from protecting a Big Willy's restaurant from roller girls, invading a Vietnam-esque stranglehold and recovering Crypto's Big Willy mech from the army. Each level is packed with objects that either burn down or blow apart, so when you send a sonic boom blast down onto the feeble American landscape, tons of cars, trees and constructs soar through the air. It sure would look nice on next-gen hardware, but there's still a satisfying sense of destruction.
With 23 missions, loads of alien tech and plenty of pop-culture references (including Lost's hatch and Others), Big Willy Unleashed should continue to entertain fans of the series when it arrives late February. It's a breath of last-gen gameplay for sure, but if Wii has proven anything, it's that millions of people are necessarily picky about HD graphics or drastically changed ideas. Expect a full review on or around February 25.
Feb 1 2008