Movies and video games have never gotten along since ever. I really don’t know why the two sides haven’t been able to mix in a way that would make everyone happy, but for some reason they just haven’t got to that stage. So today we get to look at the latest movie to video game conversion, the latest Marvel comic to make the silver screen - Fantastic 4. So can Fantastic 4 make a smooth transition from the big screen to your Xbox? Read our full review to find out!
For those of you who don’t keep a close eye on the video game world, you probably wouldn’t realize how bad comic book based games have been turning out. For some reason, even though the storylines are basically already written out for them, they just can’t hit the mark of a great game. We have seen some improvements like X-Men Legends, but these games are very few and far in-between. So can Fantastic 4 take its already interesting storyline and translate that into a great video game?
Well, in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, which, according to the box office, a lot of you have not seen, here is a little synopsis of what the movie is all about. What happens is there is this group of scientists who are sent into space to do some research. Through some mishap, they were all exposed to cosmic energy, which of course gave each person their unique and fantastic powers, ranging from the ability to stretch like a rubber band (Mr. Fantastic) and turn invisible (Mrs. Fantastic). Then of course we have the antagonist Dr. Doom, and he has always in my opinion been one of the more awkward characters but of course he is in the game as well.
Fantastic Four plays exactly how you would expect the game to play in my opinion, and that’s in a simple "beat em up" fashion that we have seen from these sorts of games dating back to the original Nintendo. This game takes that over the top camera view, which some people are very against but for me certain games can use it and this is one of them. You actually get to play as any four of the different characters, but unfortunately the differences between the characters aren’t all that apparent. Each character has three special cosmic powers and then of course they all have their different combos.
The thing about this is that the gameplay just doesn’t have a whole lot of depth nor does it have a lot of variety, which is not a compliment to the developers. In fact, when you are working with four characters that each have their own unique and very cool ability, and you can’t put that together and make them a little more diversified then you are doing something wrong. The game also seems to drag on a little with the gameplay feeling repetitive; the level design unfortunately takes the same route. In the game you seem to be doing the same thing over and over again, and unfortunately the game just wore down on me as I was just looking for something more out of this game.
What I think actually worked against this game was the fact that there were four characters to play with. So it seemed like instead of trying to make there abilities fun to execute, they instead made them all feel to similar and so playing as the four characters didn’t have that same solid feel that they could have possibly got with only having to develop for one character.
Overall the gameplay of Fantastic Four left much to be desired, like more unique and character-specific combos, and just better level design. It was definitely a treat being able to play as the different characters, but in the end the game just really wore down on me and as time progressed I feel for the game unfortunately kept dropping.
When I just started playing the game right out of the box, I have to say that I thought the visuals weren’t half bad and that they were going to leave me with a very positive feeling. Well let me tell you, similarly to the gameplay, which I thought the exact same thing, the visuals just left me hanging and wishing for more. The environments were by far the biggest culprit because of the total lack of detail and originality. The game just seemed so bland and so monotonous that it just became boring looking at everything in the game.
The character models fared much better as they featured a lot more detail and also had a lot more color then everything else in the game. The game also had pretty good visual effects, but unfortunately these things didn’t make up for enough of the visuals to really make them that impressive. Overall the visuals really had a mixed bag of good and bad, and unfortunately the bad won that battle.
Even though the gameplay was very repetitive, and there really wasn’t anything exciting about this game, it is of course still a lot of fun to play as those characters you read about in the comics. When I was playing this game I was disappointed that it wasn’t better, but it was still very neat to play as The Thing and to play as the Human Torch, but unfortunately that "wow" effect didn’t last forever and that left the game a little dry in the end.
Fantastic Four is another example of a missed opportunity for a comic book to video game translation. For some reason this is one of those transitions that just hasn’t been perfected yet, and this game is a perfect example of the problems developers are facing when making these sorts of games. This game will be fun for fans of the series, and the movie, but I would highly recommend renting this game if your in this boat rather then buying it, as you can get everything this game has to offer out of a rental session.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.