STAFF REVIEW of G.I. Joe (Xbox 360)

Sunday, August 30, 2009.
by Rick Wallace

G.I. Joe Box art Wherever there?s trouble, G.I. JOE is there! G.I. JOE is the world?s frontline special ops team, the best of the best. Operating out of the G.I. JOE PIT MOBILE HEADQUARTERS, they are our first defense ? and best offense - against any threat to peace and freedom. G.I. JOE has diffused such a threat, scoring a decisive victory over the forces of COBRA, a ruthless organization determined to rule the world. The cataclysmic Nanomite plot of COBRA COMMANDER was stopped at the last moment and the BARONESS, one of his top lieutenants, is now cooling her heels in the holding cell of the G.I. JOE PIT MOBILE HEADQUARTERS. But as G.I. JOE turns its attention to mopping up a splinter group led by COBRA weapons supplier M.A.R.S. Industries, COBRA COMMANDER puts his retaliatory strike in motion. It?s G.I. JOE: The Rise of COBRA.

G.I. JOE is a highly trained, classified special operations unit composed of men and women from around the globe. Officially, these warriors don?t even exist. Few know the truth ? That G.I. JOE fights a secret war, as the first and last line of defense against forces that seek to plunge our world into chaos. Wherever there?s trouble, G.I. JOE is there. Now you know? and knowing is half the battle.

The BARONESS has escaped, and in the process has taken HEAVY DUTY, one of the JOES, as a hostage of her own. Brought to you by the people at EA, with licensing by Hasbro, G.I. JOE: The Rise of COBRA puts you in command of some of your favorite characters from the show, as well as the movie, as you seek some of your fellow JOES, as well as fight COBRA forces along the way, in an effort to shut down the company supplying COBRA with their weapons, as well as stop COBRA from trying to take over the world. Defeating COBRA takes more that a good team. You must hone and master a combination of fast reflexes and smart tactics to outwit and outfight the overwhelming forces that COBRA COMMANDER has in store for you.

Being a fan of the G.I. JOE cartoon back in the eighties, I was really looking forward to playing this game. I was, however, a bit skeptical since the trend of movie based games succeeding hasn?t had the greatest record. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. With an intriguing story line and pretty much non-stop action, this game provided me with more than enough to get my JOE fix out of the way. The first level starts with you using a team of DUKE and SCARLETT as you fight your way through COBRA forces in an attempt to rescue HEAVY DUTY, a heavy weapons specialist taken hostage when BARONESS made her escape.

As most of us know, the reputation of movie based games has not fully lived up to expectations, so needless to say, I was a bit wary as to how this gaming experience would be. I have to admit, I wasn?t disappointed. I found myself remembering my childhood as I saw all of those old characters from the cartoon that I enjoyed watching while growing up. As of the time of writing this review, I have yet to see the movie, so what I?ve figured out is that this basically picks up where the movie leaves off. I?ve made it through the arctic region, heading to the desert region, and have unlocked a couple characters and a good old Public Service Announcement from back in the cartoon series of the eighties.

Before each mission, you select 2 soldiers from the roll call. Each member of G.I. JOE has unique weapons and abilities, offering an exciting mix of specialties for each mission. If you find that one soldier really isn?t working for you, you do have the option to change out your soldiers using teleportation chambers found in each mission. Search for Intel briefcases, file cards, and dog tags of contacts as you fight your way through each mission. As you fight through each mission, GENERAL HAWK and the Integrated Force back at the G.I. JOE PIT MOBILE HEADQUARTERS constantly update your objectives as new data comes in. Occasionally, they also drop armored vehicles and carry out airstrikes to help you get through some of the tougher areas.

As you fight through each level, you build up special combat actions and the ability to use your accelerator suits. Special combat actions are unique to each player and can get you out of some tough situations. The accelerator suits temporarily boost your speed and come equipped with an unlimited supply of tri-stinger missiles and a chain gun. While in the accelerator suit, you are resistant to enemy fire, so when you find yourself in a jam, if your accelerator suit is available, activate the suit and unleash havoc upon all those that threaten you.

With 3 levels of difficulty to choose from, Casual, Advanced, and Hardcore, this gaming experience will provide challenge for even the most seasoned gamer. For the inexperienced player, casual mode is relatively easy, and if the player dies, there are unlimited lives. Advanced gives the player one life for each character per checkpoint,, whereas that hardcore difficulty provides the biggest challenge, as each of the characters are provided with only one life for the entire mission. If both characters die, the mission is over, and must be restarted. With its simple and addictive gameplay, it doesn?t take long for the gamer to immerse his or herself into the world of G.I. Joe and fight the forces of evil.

When you first start the game, the controls you find are very easy to master. The first level gives you a mini tutorial on how to fire your weapons, take cover, and the all essential movement of your character. Using these basics, you progress through the levels. While some of the levels seem to be relatively easy to progress through, some just seem downright hard or next to impossible on Hardcore difficulty, so this should provide a decent challenge to gamers, so long as they remember the basics that they are taught in the beginning.

Graphically, this game takes you into the world of G.I. JOE, with beautifully drawn landscapes and characters. While visually the graphics were nicely done with a variety of levels to battle my way through, there were however, a few glitches that I did come across, such as the 2D white rabbit that I saw in the one level in the arctic region. Glitches such as these can take away from a game as gamers tend to see these as areas that weren?t completed, and they start to look for more inconsistencies in the game, which in turn takes away from the actual gaming experience.

All in all, this is a very good game, while with its flaws, overall submerses the gamer into the world of G.I. JOE. With a few phrases from the series, and possibly even from the movie, though I?m not sure on that point, this was a very enjoyable gaming experience. Wherever there is trouble, G.I. JOE is there. So now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

During a 3rd person shooter such as this, a stationary camera sometimes takes away from the game, as it did in this case. When looking for items, such as Intel briefcases, sometimes they are hidden behind things where a rotating camera would help players find these items. Also, the targeting system, while good in its simplicity, could have been improved. I found myself on multiple occasions trying to target an enemy, and I wind up targeting a point cluster box.

Also, online multiplayer would be a nice improvement, as people on Xbox Live like to play their games online. Having local multiplayer is a nice feature so that 2 friends can get together and play a game, playing it on Xbox Live would just enhance that multiplayer experience that much more. Another suggestion would be to add more character phrases. I?m not sure how many times I heard ?You should have surrendered? just in the arctic region alone. Other than that, overall a very sound game.

Overall: 7.3 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.4 / 10
Sound: 7.2 / 10


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