DS Review: GI Joe – The Rise of Cobra

GI No….

I don’t know much about GI Joe other than the references from TV shows like Family Guy having a few jokes at its expense, so my knowledge is somewhat limited. I have yet to see the film, but from what I hear…it’s actually pretty good. It’s a shame the same cannot be said for the DS tie-in which offers nothing new and seems another pointless title for the handheld.
GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra manages to make use of both screens, but only uses the bottom screen as a map and menu options. Beyond that, there is no touch-screen support of any kind. You simply move your character around the level with the d-pad and use the buttons to fire weapons and attack. That’s about all there is to the gameplay, it seems ok at first but it soon becomes far too familiar…like I’ve done this kind of game a million times, and each one was better than this.

To top it off, the game is ugly as hell and I mean that. You play the game from a perspective as if you are looking down on your player, which just doesn’t seem the best use of the license or the system it’s on. It’s yet another wasted opportunity, will the curse of the bad movie videogame ever cease? It’s 2009 and there still seems to be no end to it. Is it because developers are forced to reach a deadline or do they just get lazy and make a half-baked game? Or maybe both? Well, it’s hard to pinpoint where it all went wrong for GI Joe…but it’s even harder to pinpoint where anything went right.
The presentation is also a mess. There’s no voice-acting or cutscenes, it’s all done via textboxes and bad pictures of characters. Luckily you can skip all the chat and focus on just the game, but it’s terrible to want to skip a story element of a videogame, but it’s done so poorly that you will definitely do so. I don’t know how they can keep making games of this “quality”. These days more than most, the consumer demands better games that tie in with the things they enjoy. Yet, the industry keeps failing them when it comes to games based on films.

Beyond the single player, there is a local multiplayer component which contains 3 modes. Team Battle which is essentially Team Deathmatch. Warhead is where you grab the nuke and plant it in the enemy base. Defend the Base is pretty much explanatory. These modes are fairly good but it’s not much fun against just a few friends. It would have gone a long way if they just included WFC support and given the game a bit more of a lifespan.

The Verdict

The curse of the movie videogame strikes again. GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra falls into the trap of thinking that just because it’s based on a movie; it’s going to be good. Somewhere along the line, the game managed to dip into the pits of mediocrity with ugly visuals to boot. Oh, when will they learn?