The first few minutes of G.I. Joe are promising. Yes, the distant camera pulls you out of the combat, but there is something familiar about the opening sequence. It is nearly a remake of the classic Konami G.I. Joe arcade game, in which the player controlled a member of the elite team, moving forward into the screen, blasting every Cobra-created object into a pieces of pixilated glory.
Unfortunately for this latest movie adaptation, you soon have to turn a corner and the entire thing falls apart.
G.I. Joe offers no control over its inept camera, instead using the right analog stick for an equally awful targeting system. Had the camera stayed in one place and this turned into a dual analog stick shooter, this could have been a wonderful retro throwback. Instead, this is a modern disaster.
Despite the backing of EA, G.I. Joe feels cheap, although this could also be the result of a short development time. Keeping the playtime around two hours and putting it on the Live Arcade would have made sense. Everything, from the low-rent character models to the basic design, screams a product looking for digital distribution.
But no, G.I. Joe is on a disc, and there is a reason classic video games were only a few hours long. With limited memory, only so many scenarios could fit onto a cartridge, keeping repetition low. With Rise of the Cobra, you need to fight through enemy forces for eight long, arduous hours to complete this re-imagined Joe title, far too long given the amount of content.
Attempts to keep the experience fresh fail, particularly the terrible vehicle segments, hampered by a control system that is too touchy, confusing, and rarely effective.
Individual G.I. Joe characters are playable, and do offer variety. What doesn’t change is the target system that locks onto everything but what you’re trying to kill. Characters with melee combat skills are all but useless, despite the engine delivering some forceful impact.
G.I. Joe offer local co-op play, and is designed especially for it since an AI partner is too dumb to fire a shot. Still, you should know better than to drag a friend into this, and knowing is half the battle.