Xbox 360 Review: G-Force

gforce

What happened to the days of movie-based games that used clips from the film as cinematics? Nothing pulls the player out of the story quicker than a cheaply animated cutscene using the in-game engine, but it plagues games like G-Force constantly.

Of course, it is less of a problem in a game aimed towards children, particularly in one like this where the plot is anemic and the “twist” is so obvious you can see it coming only a few hours into the game.

That doesn’t necessarily take away from quality of G-Force, a relatively strong adaptation, quite possibly the best game to ever feature an electronically competent guinea pig with a jetpack. It’s also the only game to ever feature an electronically competent guinea pig with a jetpack, but still.

Part God of War as leader of G-Force Darwin uses a flashy, colorful electric whip and part generic third person shooter, the game only begins to struggle late as repetition takes hold. The world inhabited by Darwin is one of electronics gone mad, including toasters, waffle irons, and microwaves. Combat is satisfying, as whipping through countless home time savers generates thrills with a smooth flow and pacing.

Enemies provide unique challenges, requiring different tactics dependent on whether they have shields or are even vulnerable to standard attacks. Eventually, G-Force becomes complacent, eager to drop yet another batch of appliances onto the play field to be dispatched without changing their strategies. The challenge only increases in numbers, not in thought.

Even the puzzles fall victim to this design, requiring the same switches, spinning wheels, and lasers to be activated repeatedly up until the final moments. Part of the problem is that all levels feel the same, comprised of a number of air ducts and sealed doors. The corporate world is a stale one, and oddly, seems based off the same design as the FBI offices infiltrated in the final levels.

G-Force only has enough content for around five hours of gameplay. Sadly, it is rather obviously stretched to around eight. One can see a high-end exec asking the developers to tack on yet another puzzle area so they can justify a $50 price instead of $40, a decision that sadly costs the game much of its appeal in the final hours.

The idea of a government special agent guinea pig is quirky enough to work, and it’s a shame the world seems designed around the animal, not the humans. So many of these switches, particularly the spinning wheels fit for a hamster cage, make you wonder how the humans would have interacted in this world. This is a world meant for rodents.

In terms of licensing, the G-Force is comprised of four guinea pigs, yet oddly, the player only controls one throughout the game. Sporadic cinematic appearances by other team members are rare, aside from two driving segments which are mildly fun aside from touchy shooting controls.

G-Force is also playable in 3-D with the addition of glasses. Two pairs come inside the case, odd since only player is allowed to play. Whoever is stuck watching is going to be even less impressed than the person playing. The excitement factor is hardly there to find value in watching someone play this, especially in those tacked on final levels.

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