Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm. These four friends and adventurers are bombarded with cosmic rays and become Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and the ever-lovin? Thing. The Fantastic Four were created by comic book legend Stan Lee some 60 years ago. Flash forward to the present. Finally! A Fantastic Four movie! This is going to have to be the adventure of the year. Two hours later, after walking out the theater, I think to myself that it?s not the best comic book movie out there (especially two weeks after watching Batman Begins), but hey, at least it was better than The Hulk. (Ang Lee for shame!).
Well, after having my expectations lowered from the Fantastic Four movie, I really did not expect much from the Fantastic Four game. It looks like my suspicions were correct. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Fantastic Four review.
Before I begin with that, I have to ask what the hell those people were playing in that Fantastic Four video game commercial. “The Ultimate Adventure”? Either these quotes were taken way out of context, or I played the wrong FF game.
Fantastic Four is a two player (something wrong with that picture) beat ’em-up from Activision and developer 7 Studios. The game progresses through the events that took place in the movie and also includes some extra characters from the comic books, like the notoriously sinister and blind Mole Man, and of course the M.D. with attitude, Dr. Doom. You fight in a bunch of different terrain types, from the vast jungles to deep in the heart of New York City. Now that I?ve gotten the formals out the way, let me tell you how it is.
There is absolutely nothing interesting in the way Fantastic Four plays. You can switch between each character by using the D-Pad. Each character has three or four cosmic power moves that they can pull off. Human Torch has various flame attacks, Invisible Woman can turn invisible and has force field attacks, Mr. Fantastic can contort his body into different shapes and stretch himself for various attacks, and The Thing has a solid rock body with super strength that will allow him to do different power moves.
Although the game offers some decent goodies like destructible objects, the game?s level design is way too linear to take advantage of its potential strong points. The developers started on the right path by letting you simultaneously control each of the Fantastic Four and toggling between them with the D-Pad. While trying to take a page out of X-Men Legends was a good call, that?s where their similarities end. FF tries to take up an experience system that feels more like LOTR: Return of the King, but falls short due to the lack of moves and combos. There are a handful of unlockables in the game that offer some longevity, but there is so much more one can do with a franchise like this.
Fantastic Four continues its average streak by gracing players with run of the mill graphics. The levels look terrible aside from a couple of city missions, but because of the linear level design, you don?t even notice. The character models are actually of high quality, and look identical to their silver screen counter-parts. I just wish they had made Human Torch a little more detailed. Yes, I know he is just a big ball of fire. Comic book artists continue to make Human Torch look better and better, though, so just making him a big flame with a human frame (say that 10 times fast) does not cut it anymore.
The audio gets a five for having the stars of the movie lend their voices to the game. The reason it gets only a five is because the voice acting stinks. This is probably the only example of a movie to video game adaptation where the actors from the film lend their voices, and the result is some seriously shoddy voice acting. None of the actors seemed motivated. The cut scenes have long gaps between conversations, which makes the voice acting seem even worse. I mean, Michael Chiklis won an Emmy for his lead role on the FX cable series The Shield but when he dons the character Ben Grimm a.k.a. The Thing, he sounds kind of stupid.
To say this game is not worth the $45 to $50 bucks required to own it would be an understatement. This game is worth about $10 to $15 bucks, and that?s still stretching its worth. Even for the truest of believers, this game is only worth a rental. You would have to be a Galactus sized fan of the movie or comic to enjoy this game.
Fantastic Four is a half-assed attempt at making an enjoyable action adventure game, and the result is anything but fantastic. Even with unlockable content and the film?s actors lending their voices, the game is just too linear to be enjoyed. The game is arid, characterless, drab, dead, irksome, stale, and just plain boring. It does not feel the way a Fantastic Four game should feel, and that, true believers, is a sad, sad thing.