Fantastic 4 PlayStation 2
Published by Activision
Developed by Seven Studios
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99
Fantastic Four, an introduction.
It's the season for movie tie-ins and after seeing the disappointing Charlie and the Chocolate factory a few weeks ago, we now have a review of the game based on the Fantastic 4 movie. The last thing we need of course is another sloppy game based on a movie. Can Fantastic 4 be one of those rare movie tie-ins that are actually worthwhile? Let's take a look at the game.
What's the game about?
Predictably what we have here is an action game although the game has the advantage of offering four different characters to play as and as you would expect, each character has their own set of special abilities that prove useful at different stages of the game. Each of the characters' special moves can be upgraded using the points you'll receive from defeating enemies, which adds a bit of RPG flavour to the fighting action.
What's good about the game?
I suppose the obvious highlight of the game is that you get to play as four different characters: Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Girl, The Human Torch and The Thing. Each of these characters has their own unique skills and powers. The Invisible Girl for instance can turn invisible and perform stealth attacks as well as avoiding detection. Mr. Fantastic gets to solve (rather simple) puzzles whilst Ben Grimm (The Thing) relies on brute strength to get himself out of awkward situations. As we mentioned above special powers can be upgraded and in addition to this each character has a collection of combo moves that can be utilised. Team combo moves have been included which helps you to take advantage of any additional characters that are in a level along with your main character. In missions where more than one character is present you can change who you control (sometimes this is necessary) which is a good thing. Those of you who like to play through a game with a friend will be happy to learn that the game supports 2-player co-operative play. Three difficulty modes are on offer too although the easy difficulty level will be far too easy for most gamers.
What's not so good about the game?
Like most games of this type it relies too heavily on people simply picking the game up because of the movie. Take the licence away and you're left with a game most people wouldn't give a second look. The game becomes repetitive far too quickly and it's all too easy to lose interest. Of course a bigger concern though is the poor targeting feature (which seems to go AWOL just when you need it most) and appalling camera angles that occur in a close quarters battle situation. Surprisingly there is no radar or mini-map. This is disappointing as it's been a common feature in most games of this type for years now. There are also a few bugs here. I've had characters get stuck on objects from time to time and it's quite irritating to say the least. The length of the game is also not good and again we're looking at a game that fails to last 10 hours which is disappointing.
How does it look?
Graphically Fantastic 4 is about the average standard for action games on the PlayStation 2. The game suffers from having a large amount of bland textures and this manages to give the game a rather sterile appearance. The level design isn't particularly inspiring either which doesn't help matters. As mentioned above the camera angles are appalling at times. You can baby-sit the camera with the right analogue stick but this doesn't always make the situation any better. Yes the game does feature destructible elements but the damage modelling is quite basic with the destroyed objects simply disappearing.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Support for deaf gamers in Fantastic 4 is disappointing. The cutscenes that deliver the story are not subtitled, which means of course that you're not going to be able to follow the story. Important character speech is shown in text during the main game but there are omissions. There aren't any captions either, and there are instances when you are asked to follow another character and no subtitles appear for this. Tutorial messages are shown in text. Objectives are shown in text and you'll be notified in text when new objectives have been issued. Pressing the start button during the game will recall the objectives and the most recent tutorial tip. Throughout the game you'll be able to upgrade your characters and you're notified in text when upgrades are available. It's possible for deaf gamers to play the game but the overall lack of provision for deaf gamers means it's not a game for those with just a passing interest.
Most games based on movies are nothing special and Fantastic 4 is a prime example of this. It's one of those games that will have limited appeal to those who enjoyed the movie. In truth Fantastic 4 is anything but fantastic and offers nothing that we haven't seen many times before. After the entertaining X-Men Legends it's very disappointing to see how Fantastic 4 has turned out. Whilst Raven managed to create a game that was simplistic, but very addictive, Seven Studios have created a game that feels cumbersome and outdated. The 2-player co-operative game might add replay value but it's a fair bet most will not want to play through a second time.
Overall Game Rating: 5.6/10
Deaf Gamers Classification
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Whilst some aspects of the game are welcome, such as the team combo moves, the RPG elements and the 2-player co-op mode, on the whole the game is uninspiring and derivative. To make matters worse it's not as deaf gamer friendly as it should be.