We’ll hand it to Disney Interactive – after decades of publishing mediocre-at-best movie/game tie-ins, it might have cracked the formula for creating a fairly good movie-based game. Here’s the secret: instead of trying to make your game resemble the movie, try to make your movie more closely resemble a video game. Like the kinda-okay Bolt before it, G-Force makes its transition to the world of video games with ease. That doesn’t mean it’s worth playing, however.
The plot of the game and movie are nearly identical – you take control of Darwin, a (sigh) guinea pig trained as an FBI special agent, as he tries to take down the Saberlink Corporation, which is responsible for making household appliances come alive and attack their owners. Along the way, you’ll be assisted by his team, including such lovable favorites as The Useless Fat One, The Nerdy One Who’s A Mole, The Tough Girl and The One Voiced by Tracy Morgan. If you don’t figure out the plot’s sole twist within the first half hour, you might want to check your brain for blood clots. (Here’s a hint: one of them is a mole.)
The game is completely linear, but it keeps itself in our good graces by administering an I.V. of new guns and toys to play with as the plot progresses. The control setup for shooting is tight and works well, and the lock-on system for targeting enemies a la Zelda is sufficiently satisfying. Still, the environments aren’t varied (basically a collection of semi-industrial office buildings) and the unlockable guns are surprisingly expensive to purchase using just the currency you find along the way. Ammo is scarce, too, and having no real method to take down a flying enemy when out of ammo simply means you’ll be taking unneeded hits and possibly restarting.
There are a few fun moments, such as when you’re trapped on a mechanical assembly line trying not to be crushed by pieces of a washing machine, and there some surprisingly entertaining driving sections. But ultimately, you’re likely to get bored with Darwin and company before their adventure is over.
On the different platforms, you’ll get slightly different experiences even if the main story is the same. The Wii version enables you to aim your gun by pointing the remote, which we like, even though it gets wonky at times. Still, there’s no mindless waggle at any time during the game (even when swinging your electro-sword), which we have to applaud. The PS3 and 360 versions of the game feature a more traditional control system, but visually aren’t that different to the Wii version – that is, until you go into the options menu and turn on “3D mode.” We’ve written about this feature in the past, and we have to reiterate that having the first true 3D display mode on a current-gen console is a pretty bold step, especially for a game that otherwise is so lacking in true innovation. But 3D isn’t available on the Wii. Sorry.
G-Force is a well-executed game with a few neat touches, but it ultimately becomes repetitive and bland. We can understand that, since a game adaptation of a movie has a price point of about five times a movie ticket, and one should reasonably expect about five times the content. But when your source material is a bunch of guinea pigs running around in spy gear, do we really need to experience 10-plus hours of this? If you’re thinking of buying the G-Force game, try this experiment: go to the movie theater and sit through the G-Force movie. Don’t leave the theater after the movie is done; instead, watch it five times in a row. If you have any love for the little rodents left once you’re done, go ahead and buy G-Force for your home console. Otherwise, wait until the game inevitably finds its way into the bargain bin, and then pick it up if you’re curious.
Jul 28, 2009