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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer review

Troubled

Comics and games are a combo right on par with popcorn at the movies, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is no exception. The game takes plot elements from the movie it's based on and the comic series to weave a story chucked full of Fantastic Four nemeses. Everyone from the Skrull to Terrax to, dum, dum, dummmm: the Silver Surfer makes an appearance. But instead of feeling like a universe encompassing rumble, it just feels like more enemies for The Thing to smash.

You'll begin the game in an underground Skrull stronghold, and after playing for about 15 minutes you'll have a full understanding of Skrull architectural theory: build a hallway, line it with various boxes, make sure to use plenty of guards, lock all the impermeable doors with nearby computer consoles and repeat. This would be okay, except the Skrull caves stretch on into hours of monotonous gameplay. Once you escape the caves, strangely, everyone from the military to ancient Tibetan monks happen to use the same principles of base design.



Marvel fans will notice the gameplay is similar to the X-Men Legends series, which was itself reminiscent of Diablo and pretty much every arcade game in which up to four players bash the heads off everything in sight. You control one hero at a time and switch  with the d-pad, while the AI or your friends control the others.

But it's not all just fists shoved into faces. To start with, each hero has a regular attack, a cosmic attack and a cosmic ability (the difference between a cosmic attack and a cosmic ability that is used to attack, we just don't know), and as they get kills and gain experience, additional attacks and more powerful cosmic things will be added to their skill sets.

To increase the Four's power as the game progresses, you can spend coins found throughout the levels on stat increases, but nothing changes on the screen. A level five fireball from the Human Torch isn't any more on-fire than a level one fireball. The beat-'em up combat is fun for awhile, but with only about three or four types of enemies per area, and having each of those enemies fight about the same as the enemies from the last area, you'll start wishing for some more creative super villains.

Perhaps to add a little challenge to the combat, the camera angles occasionally create "why can't I see my character?" moments (not just with Invisible Woman), but it's mostly not very noticeable unless you're playing multiplayer, where entire giant-spider robots are easily obscured if one member of the team is astray. What you can see on the screen looks good, which goes a long way to fulfilling our dream of controlling the Fantastic Four, but even looking so good the game can't hold our interest for long.

For all it does half-heartedly, part of us still wants to like Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer because of what it is: a game about the Fantastic Four. Fortunately, the more reasoning part of us thinks that this game just adds to the list of games that publishers know they don't have to try hard to sell a lot of copies (Spider-Man 3 anyone?) because, like we said, it's the Fantastic Four OMG! We know that plenty of people will look past the monotonous gameplay, poor voice acting, unimaginative level design, lack of online play, etc., but our advice is to hold out for the next movie.

More Info

Release date: Jun 15 2007 - DS (US)
Jun 15 2007 - DS, PS2, PS3, PSP
Jun 29 2007 - Wii
Jun 15 2007 - Xbox 360, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: 2K Games, Take2 Interactive
Developed by: 7 Studios, Visual Concepts
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Fantasy Violence

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