Xbox 360/PS3 Review: Watchmen – The End is Nigh (Parts 1 and 2)

The makers of this game will look up and shout “Save us” and I’ll whisper “No”.

Oh I love Watchmen. I’ve read the comic, seen the film 5 times and love it each time I watch it. So, where has it all gone wrong on the videogame front? Are the critics correct for pummelling The End Is Nigh or has it been misjudged? Well sadly it seems they were right for the most part, and Ozymandias would say that not even Dr Manhattan can save us (from this game).

Parts 1 and 2 come on a single disc for those not willing to shed out a fortune in Microsoft Points for the incredibly short games. Part 1 starts out well with some impressive visuals and the combat is decent, but it soon becomes clear that this is all there is to the game, the never-ending pattern of waves of identical enemies coming to kill you and perhaps the odd solo section where you have to go and hit a switch so you meet up again.
I personally prefer playing as Rorschach since he’s my favourite character. Nite Owl II is equally as good and has a few surprises up his sleeve, but Rorschach’s fighting style is brutal and brilliant at the same time, it’s such a pity there isn’t any depth to it. Essentially you pick up extra moves in the way of “hidden” collectables littered around each Act, but these collectables are hardly hidden and most are in plain sight.

The End is Nigh is definitely a game that needs more than one person to play for it to be fun, but alas there is no online co-op mode, resulting in the only co-op being split-screen…which isn’t that great since you pretty much need the whole screen to concentrate on your opponents.

Fighting seems to be more a case of luck than skill. If an enemy is behind you during a fight, they will repeatedly beat the living crap out of you and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. But if you manage to build up your second meter by absorbing damage, you can be more or less invincible for that particular group of enemies. There are also some great finishing moves that made me smile, unfortunately though it seems to be the only way of tackling some crowds…so you tend to rely on them far too much…or at least, I did.
Each Part is only a few hours long, but on one disc it seems justified. I can’t help thinking that WB have missed a huge opportunity with The End is Nigh, it could have been so brilliant but it’s 100% focused on the same pattern of gameplay and becomes repetitive quickly. By the end of the game, I was pretty much relieved to be done with it. Oh sure there are some loose ends to tie up with achievements/trophies, but I definitely wont be bothering. I’ve seen all the great comic-book style cutscenes and that’s all I needed to see.

It seems they just didn’t really understand the Watchmen license that well, nor know what to do with it. They could have mixed things up a little and added in some Rorschach-style detective work or take Archie for a spin around the city, but alas you are grounded to brawling on the streets…which isn’t always what the Watchmen did. If I have anything good to say about The End is Nigh, it has to be the superb voice acting from Jackie Earle Haley and Patrick Wilson and the comic-book cutscenes which I already mentioned.

The Verdict

It saddens me to put these harsh words down when it comes to anything associated with Watchmen. I’m a huge fan as you’ve probably established and it just seems like they missed the point with these games, it’s a wasted opportunity and one they won’t get another shot at. It’s a real shame. If I was Rorschach, I’d be squeezing people to know how it went so wrong.