Superman: Shadow of Apokolips
One of the best ways to appeal to the younger gamers is to create a game based on a super hero. In recent times we've seen X-Men and Spider-Man titles so it was probably time for one of the greatest, Superman, to make an appearance. Superman: Shadow of Apokolips is based on the animated series rather than any of the films or the tacky TV series and this is probably a good decision. If the game deserves credit it has to be with the look of the game as if you've seen the animated series you'll know that the game has got it absolutely spot on.
The game is a third person action game. Once again you're up against your arch rival Lex Luthor. This time though there is a more powerful enemy who is helping Luthor and he too wants Superman out of the way. The initial missions are really tutorial missions that give you basic tasks to perform to introduce the control system. These missions are fairly straightforward and take little effort to complete. Still for very young gamers, the pace of the game is ideal and doesn't overwhelm you at any point. What will come as a disappointment though, is that for most of the game you're simply beating up robots and with all the special abilities that Superman has, it seems a waste of his time to simply have to smash up robots, it also makes the different missions feel repetitive quite quickly too.
The control system that has been employed for the game is fairly easy to learn. The directional sticks control the movement and flight (the R2 button can be used too and this makes flying easier). A lock on feature has been included and enables you to hit your enemies without too much fuss. If I had to criticise one aspect of the control system, it would have to be the need to press two buttons to activate the special power moves. For a young gamer this could prove problematic (even as an adult with rather large hands I find it uncomfortable to have to do this).
As we mentioned earlier the look of the game is perfect. A kind of cell shaded look has been used for the game and in this case it's totally appropriate. The game remained smooth throughout and there were no framerate problems whatsoever. The camera was also very good and rarely became a pain. The only problem I had with it was in the first mission, when you had to make Superman hit the helicopter and I found that it was all too easy to become disorientated. For the rest of the game though, I had very few problems with the camera angles.
So far so good then but unfortunately it's suitability for deaf gamers is not so good. There are no subtitles at all in the game. What this means is that you're going to miss out on the story and while the game is still playable it's seems like a huge waste when you can't enjoy the story. Tutorial messages are shown in text and you can read these at your own speed. Pressing the start button enables you to look at the objectives, which are also shown in text.
Superman: Shadow of Apokolips is actually a good game but the lack of subtitles puts a big dent in the experience for deaf gamers. It seems strange that, having made the objectives and tutorial messages display in text, subtitles were completely left out. It would have been nice to see a lot more variety in the missions instead of constantly beating up robots.
Overall Game Rating: 5.8/10 The missions lack variety but what really hurts the game is the lack of subtitles.
Deaf Gamers Comment: Mission objectives and tutorial tips are shown in text but there are no subtitles.