It’s a bird? It’s a plane? It’s Superman, and he has finally returned to both the big screen and the gaming world after a very long and frustrating hiatus. For so long Superman ruled the big screen with some of the best movies I have ever had the privilege to watch, and it has been disappointing to see the lack of Superman in the past years. Well finally Superman made it into theatres and now has made it to the Xbox 360 where it hopes to return to past glory. So can Superman Returns for the Xbox 360 manage to give the Superman experience millions of fans have dreamed of? Read our full review to find out!
Superman has always been a very sought after video game title that has struggled in every sense of the meaning to find a way to make the superhero into a great video game title. Well now with the new technology that has graced us with the Xbox 360, a lot of people thought this may be the chance for EA to get Superman right. So how does the game turn out? Is this the best Superman yet? Or does the game succumb to the movie to video game curse?
One of the big problems we have seen with previous Superman games is that controlling the man of steel has been a huge issue, mainly because the technology really limited you to how you could go about flying and going through game objectives. Well now that the Xbox 360 has been out for a year, I believe gamers are expecting the Superman franchise to go to the next level. Well in Superman Returns you do have a story that very loosely follows that plot of the movie, but adds a lot of extra enemies and other plot elements to give the game more depth and more things to do. The story is extremely dull and the voice acting doesn’t help matters at all, even if they are voiced by the actual actors. The game could have really brought together a more comprehensive plot, however this is just not the case with Superman Returns.
So let’s talk about the gameplay of Superman Returns, which is really the area in which most people were interested to see what was going to happen. EA has gone in and really worked hard on making the flying mechanics in Superman, which are really where the most excitement from the game comes. You will find after about a minute or two you will have the flying mechanics down pat, and you will be flying all over the place at super speeds. The game does a nice job of capturing speeds with a very cool rumble/blur effect. What most will find entertaining for a long time is going at the fast speeds around town and just flying around, which is really something that Superman fans have wanted to do for years.
For those who have played Spider-Man 2 you will have a good idea of what to expect from Superman Returns, because the progression of the game moves in the same sort of fashion. Basically you have some main objectives that are followed by you trying to gain experience which then allows you to continue on through the game. The biggest problem with Superman Returns is that aside from having a good time flying through the city, there really isn’t anything overly enjoyable about this game. The objectives are bland and for the most part as boring as they come. There was never one time in Superman Returns that I really cared about what was going on in this game. The developers did a rather poor job with the combat in the game, as you just never get the feeling that you’re the man of steel but rather the game just keeps things too much on the simplistic side, and thus you have an experience that definitely leaves a lot to be desired.
In the end, Superman Returns is a game that has a lot more potential than it does have in the final product. Superman on the surface has all of the right moves, but once you get into the core of the game you find that there really isn’t that much interesting going on and it loses flavor quickly. Superman Returns is in many ways a major disappointment because of how much potential the underlying game has, but how short EA and Tiburon end up coming up.
Visually this is exactly what I was classify as a complete mixed bag of good and bad that tends to lean toward the negative side of things. On the positive side, the overall look of the game definitely has that Superman style feel that both the movie and comics have portrayed. Along with that Mr. Kent himself has a lot of detail and really is by far the best looking character in the game. However Superman has a lot of clipping and frame rate problems that hold back the game from looking as good as it can. In the end, the visuals are not the biggest problem the game has, and in many cases there are a lot of positives to be had from this portion of the game.
When I picked up Superman Returns for the first time, I have to say that I was extremely impressed with the flying mechanics and the ability to fly around without any problems. And then you start to get into the game and you see that EA relies too heavily on making the game look exciting rather than actually making the game an enjoyable game to go through. The more you progress through Superman Returns, the more and more you find that there is so much more they could have done with this game. Had the story progressed in more interesting fashion and had the objectives been more challenging and varied, we could be talking about a totally different game.
The age old problem that Superman games have had returns in this game and that is a lot of hype with not much to be happy with. The game has the mechanics down in the flying and running, but the combat and the game’s progression just isn’t up to par with where it needs to be. Fans of Superman will find a lot to enjoy at first, but once you get into the core of Superman Returns, disappointment is sure to set in.
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.