Score: 6.5 / 10
Look! Itís a bird! Itís a plane! Itís another rather abysmal Superman game!
Yes, along with the major motion picture last year, the Man of Steel has returned to gaming, but like previous games through the years, Superman Returns once again brings the Superman persona down to earth faster than a Kryptonite cruise missile.
a large, expansive gaming world to fly around, a
sort-of-based-on-the-movie story with other non-movie-related
appearances from plenty of characters from the world of Superman to
entertain Clark Kent
fans, this should be considered the best Superman gaming adventure
ever. But thatís not saying much at all, particularly taking into
account that Superman starred in the worst video game ever made, the
infamously appalling Superman 64 for the Nintendo 64.
The most alluring aspect of Superman Returns is the open-world environment, which covers 80 miles of Metropolis. Flying around at supersonic speeds that
come with accompanying visual and sound effects are the most gratifying adventuring Superman Returns provides. Alas, these thrills wonít last long, because the people of Metropolis are the neediest folks of any big city, always crying for Superman to solve some problem or the other. Like they canít take care of the mutated monsters and robotic rampagers themselves. Jeez,
I mean, here you are, the Man of Steel, enjoying soaring around the skies of Metropolis, and you canít take in the scenery for long before youíre dragged into some sort of emergency situation (which also includes the ďthrillingĒ adventure of using your super breath to put out fires all around town).
Superman has all his superpowers, including heat vision and his
above-mentioned freeze breath, which make him indestructible to
everything except crippling kryptonite. To balance out that
indestructibility, Metropolis itself also has a life meter. If you let
enough villains run loose and inflict a high level of wanton
devastation in the streets of the city, you will be defeated. You can
build up, in a role-playing game style, your superpowers to even
stronger levels, and borrowing from fighting games, there are all
kinds of combo moves to unleash on your enemies (with a satisfying
result of swift enemy defeat).
Those enemies include many from various stages of the over-60-year history of the Superman comic, with Bizarro and Metallo playing prominent roles, as well as Lex Luthor as portrayed in Superman Returns. Despite the fact that actors from the movie, including Brandon Roth and Kevin Spacey, reprise their roles in the game, the voice acting is rather insipid throughout. And the inclusion of the sort-of movie tie-in storyline is rather clumsily injected into the gameplay, fitting rather awkwardly with the rest of the gameís developing stories.
not all thatís dull in the game, however, because the repetitiveness
of the gameplay, that has you fighting generic wave after generic wave
of robots, mutants and dragons with an occasional boss battle thrown
in becomes less than super. Making matters worse is the atrocious
controls and even more horrendous camera, which prove to be somewhat
unresponsive and debilitating to the gameplay, especially when trying
to fight while airborne. When youíre battling in the skies, it can
become many times disorienting, due to an out-of-control camera and
some satisfying leap-tall-buildings-in-a-single-bound moments above
the skies of Metropolis and providing the best Superman adventure yet
(again, not saying too much, if you examine the history of Superman
games) with some moments of solid adventuring before getting too
repetitively stale, Superman Returns just isnít that super. Superman
as part of a better video game with his fellow Justice League members
in Justice League Heroes? Nearly splendid. Flying solo in Superman
Returns? Not so much.
(January 23, 2007)
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