Love it or hate it, video games have been tirelessly trying to replicate some of Hollywood’s greatest creations for as long as kids have been waggling control pads in the general direction of their televisions.
And while GoldenEye, Aladdin and New Ghostbusters II (look it up kids) can be considered button-thumping classics, the same can’t be said for ET: The Extra Terrestrial, Iron Man and a small continent’s worth of god-awful Star Wars titles.
And 2011 is definitely no different in packing in those movie-related games (something to do with the fact they’re genuine money-spinners, no doubt). There are the general tie-ins, some ‘80s revivals and, yes, even a Star Wars title here and there. Here’s a rundown of what could (and should) be the best of the year’s movie-related joypad offerings.
Captain America: Super Soldier (Summer TBA)
If the thought of launching Cap’s signature shield in thugs’ faces isn’t enough to have you saluting the stars and stripes with some sort of pride, then the Arkham Asylum-influenced gameplay has our Steve Rogers looking better than ever. With fluid brawler-based gameplay, stealthy sections and feats of acrobatic daring, Captain America: Super Soldier is looking like good ol’ skull-bashing fun.
Developed by SEGA, their last Marvel movie efforts were incomprehensible turds in the shape of Iron Mans 1 and 2, and The Incredible Hulk. It’s not exactly an inspiring track record from the House of Sonic and while the Arkham influence is more than welcome, without the taut and atmospheric madhouse setting, can the Cap really take out the Bat?
Back to the Future (Out Now – May)
You know the theme, you love the car and you definitely recognise that life preserver. Yes, Back to the Future has been given the next-gen gaming treatment courtesy of developer Telltale, with a continuation of the franchise taking place directly after the end of Part III. The first of this five part episodic game has already been released, so we can safely say that it manages to replicate the feel of the classic trilogy with ease (you’ll find no spoilers here). Can the next four episodes prove to be just as entertaining? Great Scott, we hope so! The Bad:
While it’s hard to deny that the story wasn’t suitably involving, taking Doc, Marty, and Biff into an interesting new tale, the gameplay lacked complexity, with a fairly simple set of puzzles to complete. It could be worse though: your mother could be in love with you.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (Winter TBA)
BioWare, the masters of the RPG, are responsible for one of the best Star Wars games of all time in Knights of the Old Republic. The notion that they’re returning to Lucas’ beloved universe is exciting. The fact that it’s an expansive MMORPG (*deep breath* massive multiplayer online role-playing game) is enough to turn anyone into a dribbling mess of giddiness. Set 300 years after the events of KOTOR, you’ll choose to either join the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire at the beginning of a new conflict. Epic space battles, familiar locations and enough Lightsabers to swing a... well, a Lightsaber at, could this be the game to knock World of Warcraft off its throne?
Star Wars Galaxies. Spend a few days slogging away at the previous Star Wars MMO and you’ll be begging for a Wookie to tear your arms off.
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (TBA 2011)
Lord of the Rings has had more gaming iterations than the ring itself has had owners. Still, while most have been fairly generic cut and paste jobs, War in the North comes with both an intriguing premise – a story concurrent to the main trilogy based on supporting battles in the North of Middle Earth – and an adult-orientated angle, with plenty of the red stuff (or black, as Orc-slaying will be your business).
Regardless of the little innovation, it still looks like it could easily fall into the trappings of its predecessors. Hack. Slash. Spell. Dwarf. Ha-ha, did you see that Dwarf? Hack. Slash...
Jurassic Park (April)
Another upcoming release from developer Telltale, this time taking gamers back to Isla Nublar, in a story that goes right back to the original Jurassic Park. Unlike BTTF, you won’t be jumping into the dirty boots of any of the film’s main players, instead following new characters as they explore some of the film’s loose ends, including Nedry’s (Wayne Knight’s plump Judas) shaving foam can full of Dino DNA. The visuals all look rather lush judging by the dinos seen so far and the game apparently takes inspiration from the fantastic Heavy Rain, which is handy considering it can get rather soggy down at the Park.
As it’s fundamentally a point and click adventure, it’s questionable how heart-pumping the action beats can be. Still, it does have a T-rex fighting a triceratops. Let’s just reiterate that point: a T-rex fighting a triceratops. Let’s hope, like the great Dr. Ian Malcom once said, that it’s not “One big pile of shit.”
LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean (May)
One for the kiddies this one – or at least that’s the excuse. The LEGO games have been great little blockbusters, and while the likes of Star Wars has had its little pink bricks milked to death, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has just the right blend of colourful characters, enchanting settings and rich adventure that’s perfect for the LEGO treatment. The Bad:
This’ll depend on how overly-saturated you are with the franchise because, let’s face it, it’s more of the yellow-headed same.
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (Summer)
Hal Jordan’s spectacular ring (steady) has the potential for being one of gaming’s greatest weapons. Giant fists, guns, and a cuddly green toy – it’s got it all! The CG trailer managed to show off some of the action you can expect but really didn’t provide much else. The Bad:
Traditionally, games in which the protagonist can fly are usually rather pants – usually due to the constricting nature of games versus the freedom of flight. And let’s not forget that the ring creates objects based on the wearer’s imagination. If the player can’t replicate that – hint: they won’t be able to – it’ll suck.
Thor: God of Thunder (29th April)
The God of Thunder (and impossibly sleek hair), Thor is making his debut solo gaming outing in SEGA's Thor: God of Thunder. Frankly, this is the one that comes with the most apprehension, given that it looks like it could go either way. While throwing his hammer around sure does look impressive, his face looks like it’s been on the receiving end a few too many times. The Bad:
Again SEGA are behind this one and if Iron Man didn’t leave you shuddering awake at night then count yourself lucky. The visuals here are a mix bag and the combat looks decidedly one-note. It’s not even worthy of a ‘Hammer Time’ pun. Seriously.
Arkham City (Winter)
Arkham Asylum wasn’t just the best Batman game ever made, but one of the best games of this generation. The sequel takes the Dark Knight outside of the mental institute, with a whole heap of Gotham to skulk, glide and beat the face-paint out of now. With Two-Face, Hugo Strange and Catwoman joining an ever expanding list of new villains, Arkham City couldn’t look any better if it were to give out free toffees with every copy. The Bad:
We raise an eyebrow to this question, watch the jaw-dropping Hugo Strange trailer and then move swiftly on...
CompleteNumpty Posted on Tuesday February 22, 2011, 15:24
Not all of the Star Wars games were bad - Star Wars on the SNES, the Jedi Academy Series, the Rogue Squadron Series and the X-Wing v Tie Fighter Series were all pretty good.
What you could have said is that there hasn't been a good (non-Lego) Star Wars game since the Gamecube......