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Monsters vs. Aliens – The Video Game (PC)

Monsters vs. Aliens – The Video Game (PC)

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Games based on films are rarely good with exceptions to this rule being very uncommon. Today we look at a PC game based around the new 3D movie Monsters V Aliens which is proving popular with a wide cinema going audience. Is this another licensed game to avoid however or is it worth your time?

Monsters V Aliens proves to be enjoyable for the first hour but unfortunately seems to focus on the same mechanics for the next five hours meaning that it becomes extremely repetitive and tiring. You control B.O.B. (amorphous blob), The Missing Link (weird B-movie fish like creature), Ginormica (50 foot girl with super strength) throughout the levels and after a while it proves to be a test of endurance as to whether your attention level can make it to the end.

It is hard to nail while Monsters v Aliens isn’t a success because some of the aspects of the game are very enjoyable and fun to play, I think the bulk of the issues revert around Beenox Studios desire to force the player through the same mechanics throughout the entire game.

Ginormica (also known as ‘Susan’) is a girl who got hit by a meteor during her wedding and has now grown to the size of a building with the ability to lift and throw cars around. She prefers to use cars however as ‘skates’ and she can grind walls, duck under laser beams and button mash to throw off heavy objects and double jump. Yes, her ability is to skate which while extremely funny in the context of the movie just doesn’t particularly translate to a wonderful in game experience.

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B.O.B.’s sections are quite frustrating and annoying. As he is a blob he can obviously pass through some semi solid objects such as grates but he can’t suck enemies into his stomach. This core mechanic is used all the time when controlling B.O.B. but there are some bugs which ruin the fluidity of the gameplay.  His environments are almost entirely composed of puzzle style mazes that require lateral thinking as well as a lot of messing around to progress. I can’t say I really enjoyed these sections as the game seems to have problems working out solid objects from the rest of the environment … which leads to many pointless deaths.

The Missing Links levels are the most versatile but they are really a carbon copy of the famous Ratchet and Clank design ethic right down to the walls he scales and the little boxes that explode when touched. He can also attack enemies with a sweep of his tail and he can jump on turrets to destroy them. The similarities are virtually endless and I hope they payed Insomniac some royalty fees for basically pinching all their ideas!

He also has the weird ability (which translates poorly in game) of being able to charge up a blast that knocks all enemies into the air and then (while in slow motion) these targets can be ‘marked’ (until there are no more free targets) which sends him ping-ponging around the environment destroying them all.

The DNA lab sections are some of the most annoying in the game as they are so repetitive. They are a set of interconnected nodes that serve as unlockables for everything from movie stills to upgrades. There are even commentary tracks available to unlock which are voice overs for each of the characters which has them recounting their own ‘directors cut’ style experiences of the levels you have just played. The DNA lab sections provide a plethora of rewards for the player as they can spend the Monster DNA they scoop up during the normal game levels. It just didn’t attract my attention and I was bored of this rather quickly as well.

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Monster DNA is earned throughout the game and you pick up multipliers which boost the amount of DNA you get with every glowing symbol, however if you get hit, then the multiplier goes down by one. This isn’t really hard at the start of the game but towards the end, getting anything more than x2 is a challenge in itself. To be fair the game never has a shortage of DNA to go around but you can lose a lot of progress with some poorly design level sections which further adds to the frustration most sane gamers will already be feeling.

There is a cooperative mode and the second player can join any time he or she wishes. Rather than controlling another player they take over a turret that can fire anywhere on the screen. This turret gets upgraded as the game progresses with power ups and tractor beams so there is a little fun to be gained from having another player with you however whether it will suddenly turn what is a weak title into anything with long term playability is certainly open for debate.

Graphically the game is not too bad, although the texture work is far from class leading. That said, the PC version is much better quality than even the 360 version so you can be assured of getting the best version if you purchase this for your computer. The graphic style is clearly geared towards the tongue in cheek 50’s style B sci-fi movies we all know and love but it just falls short of the mark of being anything which is remotely exciting. The voice acting is pretty good but once again not as high quality as anything from the movie and the music is adequate, but mostly ignored throughout.

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Monsters v Aliens is exactly what we expect from a movie tie in. A very average game with a couple of decent game play mechanics, flogged to death for 5-6 hours. They could have done so much more with this game and it is clear that this is merely just a movie cash-in which is very disappointing. Save the money and just go to see the movie a couple of times, it is a blast.

Bland and extremely repetitive.
Average in all areas, and the pc version is the best.
Decent voice overs but everything is immediately forgettable.
A lot of things to unlock but repetitive and boring.
(Not an Average)
Below average. Go see the film instead.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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