December 1, 2014
I'm as little a fan of the Facebook throwback shit as anybody, but let's get one thing straight.
It's throwback day!
...albeit a throwback to not really that long ago, only a mere six years back.
Bionic Commando is nothing shy of a bad, awful attempt to remake a classic game, and that's fine. I'm fine with that. Hell, even at face value this game has what I want: robot grappling hook arms, over-the-top weapons, really and truly massive environments, and yes, even mech suits.
You may be saying to yourself: "This game doesn't sound like it was bad at all."
At this point, I have to take a swing at a game I really enjoyed.
The story line was a train wreck, the voice acting was a travesty unto all of mankind, and the characters were vapid, useless 3D renderings that I shame Grin (the company that made this) for ever, ever making. For Godsakes, the main character has dreadlocks with robot stuff in them.
I'm known for playing convoluted games in my circle of friends, and I thoroughly enjoy them for a variety of reasons: the overall goofiness of the story makes me laugh, and I love removing the tone and emotions I'm "supposed to be feeling while playing this game" from the equation and experience the developers initially wanted. Why? Because how dare they tell me how to enjoy a game, then fail miserably at conveying what they wanted to.
More or less, I love bastardizing gameplay.
Bionic Commando has literally nothing to offer for story line. Unless you played the original Bionic Commando that launched over a decade ago, you have no idea who any of these characters are, why you're at war, and....
Well, wait. I'll explain the story first.
You play as Nathan, the bionic soldier who was imprisoned for doing his job. Some big upheaval of terrorism suddenly just... happens, a nuke went off in a Ascension City, and Bioreign (?) is just... doing bad things.
To be frank, I have NO idea what Bioreign's endgame was in this game. I had no idea what I was defending, what I was saving, or what was at stake.
To thicken the plot, Nathan also wants to know where his wife has been all these years, which is a fantastic chunk of story that nobody ever asked for. Thanks, devs at Grin.
You're goal is to investigate (read: slaughter) Bioreign and their activities in the recently leveled Ascension City.
To be completely clear, again: I have beaten this game start to finish over a dozen times and have NO idea what's going on. Also, there is a robot pseudo Hitler, and I don't know why he's there or who he is either.
Gameplay side, this game is absurdly fun. If, by chance, you read my review on Shadow of Mordor, then you know how much I believe great gameplay can make amends for a somewhat lacking story line.
Right down to brass tacks, this game is a blast to play: the acrobatics, the janky and hanky physics, the absurd weaponry and insanely lame insults your character screams out are all-too-much.
And by God, I loved every second of it.
The weapons you use are overpowered as hell. The Grenade launcher is satisfying to fire, the shotgun shakes your screen and affirms your enemies' deaths with a viscerally satisfying boom and clank of shrapnel, and the machine gun can pour out 400 rounds in just under 15 seconds of continuous fire.
What's more? The boss battles are a complete treat; they're what they're supposed to be for this game. It calls back to the game's roots of days in the arcade where there were VERY defined patterns that were hard to master as well as the obligatory massive health bar. It sounds weak and lame, sure, but play it. They're good.
Additionally, the other thing to notice here is that the environments are... gorgeous. Well planned, fun to navigate, and most importantly they offer so many ways to remove opponents from the screen. I know in the pre-2010 days of gaming, there was a lot of detail paid to action games, and that's very, very easily observed here. From swinging around on giant sky-scrapers to being in tubular, enclosed areas that are a blast to navigate, Bionic Commando nails it.
Of course, we have to talk about the grappling arm. First and foremost, you have a FUCKING GRAPPLING ARM OH MY YESSSSSS
It's pretty neat. You can grapple to anything your little heart desires, and the melee system involving it makes me squeal with girlish glee and delight. See that enemy right there? How about your grapple to him and kick his chest in and send him rocketing into the distance. Doesn't do it for you? How about you swing off a bunch of stuff and powerbomb in from the sky with your giant metal hand and cave his head in. Nope? What if you grabbed him, whipped him up in the air, and just chucked that motherf*cker into the burning orb that is the sun? There we go. Feel that warm fuzzy need to play this game.
What's more is that the grappling hook and jumping around like a zip line monkey on cocaine is how you play this game. Acrobatics are a basic movement style in videogames since the advent of parkour, but Bionic Commando was just leaping and swinging anywhere I wanted to go: no fancy rolls or vaulting over turf - I soared above it like the lemurs from Madagascar. What a riot, to be swinging at an absurd speed while belching out pounds of lead at my enemies from the barrel of a weapon that could never, ever exist.
The multiplayer is just more of what I said here with people. Bionic Commando is a must have for a filler at LAN parties.
Fun. So much fun.
Buy it, it's dirt cheap. Play it, it's great fun.