Superman Returns Xbox 360 & PlayStation 2
Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £49.99 (Xbox 360) £39.99 (PS2)
Games based on super heroes are often a mixed bag. For every game like X-Men Legends there’s a game like Fantastic 4. The last Superman game we reviewed was Superman: Shadow of Apokolips for the PlayStation 2. The game was OK, nothing particularly impressive however, but it was a game that wasn’t really any good for deaf gamers because it had no subtitles. Superman Returns claims to have been influenced by the latest Superman movie of the same name and 60 years of comic book history. Is it any good though? Let’s take a look at the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 versions of the game.
I haven’t seen the Superman Returns movie so it’s impossible to say if the game follows the same storyline but to be honest I would say that’s doubtful. Whilst there is a story in the game, it’s not the greatest and would certainly make for one weak movie. Superman Returns begins with a meteor shower that Superman must deal with to prevent Metropolis from taking too much damage. In fact whilst Superman is invulnerable, Metropolis is not and for the most part your objective in the game is to keep Metropolis safe. You’ll get to use Superman’s breath, ice and fire beams to put out fires and destroy the meteorites before a cutscene tells of how Superman heads off to find his own planet of Krypton, only to find it’s all been destroyed. On his way back to earth he’s captured and forced to take part in a few battles on Warworld. Soon enough though, he’s back on Earth to protect Metropolis.
I was hopeful that Superman Returns was going to be a good game but sadly this isn’t how it’s turned out. The game seems to offer repetitive missions that just aren’t exciting. There are only so many robots you can fight and fires you can put out before it all begins to get rather boring. Combat plays a big part in the game and it all feels too basic. Yes there are a few combos to learn but it’s nothing inspiring. The lock-on system feels awkward and makes combat more awkward than it should be. The camera regularly points the wrong way and you’ll have to correct its inadequacies far too often, which is not the most pleasant of things when you’re involved in a battle. Should you fail a mission you’re dropped right back at the beginning instead of going back to a checkpoint. In short the game can be very irritating at times and isn’t half as good as it could have been.
I was expecting the Xbox 360 version to really look something special but whilst it does better than the PlayStation 2 version it wouldn’t be right to say the game looks how an Xbox 360 game should. At least it looks half-decent though. The PlayStation 2 version looks awful, especially the textures, some of which could easily pass as being from a PSone game. The camera is plain annoying and needs far too much attention at times. The frame rate is suspect on both versions, which is very disappointing. That said the Xbox 360 version definitely fairs better in this respect but even so, it’s fair to say that visually speaking neither version looks as good or performs as good as it should.
Superman Returns is a disappointment for deaf gamers. The game isn’t subtitled meaning you’ll miss out on the storyline and all of the comments that are delivered during the missions. Basic tutorial messages are shown in text, although there are some verbal only hints that you’ll be unaware of. Objectives are shown in text but that’s essentially it for deaf gamer support, which is pretty poor. With the main action in the game being so mediocre, deaf gamers at least needed access to the story (even though it’s not that great) for some kind of incentive to play the game but without it, there’s not much point really.
There’s no getting around the fact that Superman Returns is a disappointment. Obviously the biggest disappointment is that the game isn’t subtitled and the main game itself is repetitive and dull. The combat is tedious, the camera is awful and the general flow of the game feels disjointed. This all makes for a game that’s only going to appeal to the most enthusiastic of Superman fans. Regardless of the version (Xbox 360 or PlayStation 2) you’re interested in, you’ll definitely want to give this one a rental before giving up the asking price of £49.99 (Xbox 360) or £39.99 (PS2) for the game.
Superman Returns is quite simply a big disappointment. The game isn't subtitled but that's the least of its problems. Superman enthusiasts may get some value out of the game but there are many aspects of it that could have been a whole lot better.