reviews\ Dec 18, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Godzilla: Unleashed - WII - Review

I know this is a stretch, but I wanted to review this game because of the other giant monster game on the Wii, Rampage:Total Destruction. I know, I know, the game did not get very good reviews but my son really wanted to play it and darn it all, if we didn't have a good time playing and beating it. There was lots of laughs and enjoyment from both of us. Well, I figured I may be able to tap into the same magic and play a game featuring massive monsters slugging it out. I was wrong, very, very wrong.

It's almost as well known a video-game curse as making a game based on a movie, Godzilla games generally stink. Oh sure, there will be people out there who say Godzilla: Destroy all Monsters Melee is a fine game, but it isn't, not really. Remember, this is the king of all monsters, an entire generation of children with cable and a VCR spent countless hours wasting their precious youth watching movies of grown men dressed in rubber suits duking it out over cardboard cities. Half the time there was some incoherent plot about little children and their ability to communicate with these monsters but did it really matter? We watched because it was goofy, and violent, and goofy, and the voices didn't match their mouths and it was goofy and it was one of the few guilty pleasures that I still partake in to this day. Plus, if you have seen any of the recent Godzilla movies, you would probably be somewhat impressed; the big G still has it in the movies. But I am getting off topic, the movies may rock, but this game is a real stinker and being a professional reviewer, I can back that claim in the following paragraphs.

"Sonic's older, grumpier brother."

The first thing that makes you want to cry is the fact that "Unleashed" is a horribly, horribly designed as far as the controls go. If someone were to walk into the room when you were playing they would see you swinging the wiimote around in a desperate attempt to get the character's attack to engage. Using the nunchuk attachment, you run around the screen trying to get dialed in on your opposition as you flail around the tiny controller in a pathetic disco move. Fighting is just as bad, switching from melee attacks to ranged attacks might as well have been aerobics, I swear I was sweating and breathing like I just ran the 100-meter dash after my first battle. Now that in itself wouldn't be so bad, but the game does not want to respond to the movements at all. It's an exercise in futility and it stinks. After a somewhat decent intro, to be smacked with the one-two punch of wiimote and nunchuk incompetence is almost enough to drive a Godzilla fan crazy.

Now, the visuals of the game aren't so much a step up from the GameCube's own Godzilla title, and - in fact - borrow heavily from creature design and locations. The thing that made me keep playing, and this is something only the hardcore Godzilla fan would care about, is the fact that I wanted to see as many of the famous monsters as possible. And I can happily report that all of my favorites are here: MechaGodzilla, Megalon, Biollante and my all time fave, Jet Jaguar (a robot who would reprogram itself to fight and in turn, grow to giant sizes). It was a real pleasure to see all the monsters from pretty much all of the movies. TOHO (the folks that own Godzilla and it's characters) also managed to throw in some new monsters as well. And while the game looks alright, I had high hopes for this title and was thinking it could at least push the Wii's possibilities of greatness. It does not, like I said; there are some recycled visuals and the disappointing battle locations do nothing to move the game in a positive direction.

 "Halitosis ... who says it isn't offensive?"

Of course, the graphics stumble can be loosely attributed to the very weak storyline that the game attempts to follow. Now, at it's core, this is a brawler style game, but they could have cleaned this mess up quite a bit. By providing any number of the more popular storylines that the umpteen movies follow, the game could have had some real weight to it. For example, why not make it a more linear storyline? There are good monsters and bad ones, (they could even keep the lame crystal plot) by selecting one, you could play through the game as a hero and take on all the different bad monsters in various locations around the world. Likewise, you could play as a bad monster and take out the good ones at the some points around the planet. Reaching the end means you either save the world or enslave it for your alien masters (another common theme in the movies). Instead, there are several misguided attempts at a plot and then an all-out battle with several monsters. What's worse, you can hold back and watch the others duke it out until a winner is left, weakened. Then you slip in and kill the remaining monster. Now, it isn't as easy as this, but it is entirely possible to play the game this way since the A.I. is really lacking. Oh sure, you will need to do some fancy footwork, but eventually the monsters will turn on one another, clearly a misstep by the developers.

In addition, the game also has this horrible auto-target feature, Let me set the stage for you - you are playing as Godzilla, you are fighting King Ghidorah (a real baddie) as you have him on the ropes you wind up your radioactive fire breath. Just as you are ready to unleash a serious barbequing on him, a tank rolls into range and your auto target switches to it. You roast the tank instead of Ghidorah and he comes to and then fries you with his three dragon heads of doom. Now, this is exactly what is wrong with this game; you cannot decide 100% of the time who you are going to attack, whether you like it or not. And that, along with the poor control scheme, makes this game fail miserably.

The sound effects of the game can be argued that they are pretty accurate to the movies. There are the screams of monsters and really bad voice acting are actually par for the course in a Godzilla movie; so, the bad sound effects, horrendous voice acting and other cheesy noises are normal. However, we are all used to wanting (or needing) the coolest sound effects. This is not the case. Now I am split when it comes to this because I can appreciate bad sound effects in my Godzilla action, but since the game doesn't possess 1/10th of the fun a movie does, then I fall to the side of poor sound effects for the sake of them being just poorly made.

Review Scoring Details for Godzilla: Unleashed

Gameplay: 3.0
Hooo boy, this game does not want to respond to any one of the wacky flailing moves you must do just to get the action going. Poor response equals poor control which means no fun.

Graphics: 6.5
It is cool to see all the monsters from the series and I like the rare instances when the camera automatically pulls back and shows a panoramic view of monsters slugging it out in a soon- to-be-leveled city. But then things become recycled and I know the Wii can produce better rendering than what is provided here.

Sound: 3.9
I already said that the game has bad sound effects and poor voice acting, so sad. There isn't even the campiness of the movies.

Difficulty: Medium
With a game that has AI as simple as this, it won't take long to figure out its weaknesses. The auto-lock function is as big an opponent as you will see on the screen, only this one is tougher.

Concept: 4.5
I wanted to get into this title, and it simply never occurred. The basic idea was pretty poor in its inception and the whole idea was a big letdown.

Multiplayer: 3.5
Huh, it was a sad enough game when you were playing against the A.I.; now, if you call a friend over to play, he or she will probably give you a welt on your shoulder for inflicting such harm.

Overall: 4.0
This is a really bad game, and made even worse by taking such a cool license and dragging it across a desert of poor controls and ineffective ideas.

Below Average

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