Licensed games generally suck. It's a fact, but at least most developers give the illusion of putting forth an effort to make something tolerable. Kick-Ass is a throwback to the 16-bit era, when all you needed were a few horribly digitized soundbites from actors and a recognizable image for the menu, and you had yourself a movie tie-in. At least Kick-Ass got the menu part right.
If you haven't read the comics or seen the film, the video game adaptation of Kick-Ass will make zero sense. Except for a handful of stills from the comic between levels, or the occasional ill-placed clip from the film, developer Frozen Codebase can't be bothered with anything vaguely resembling a story. You won't know about any of the heroes' real identities, why Red Mist suddenly appears, who the bosses are, or any other pieces of information that could be considered vital to the Kick-Ass experience. Not that plotting is the biggest problem here.
Kick-Ass is a poor excuse for a brawler. Except for an occasional jump or dash to escape a pack of thugs, combat is utterly braindead and boring. There is no strategic element to any of the two-button combos, and character-specific special moves often result in taking more damage than you dish out, due to a moment of vulnerability. At least Hit Girl and Big Daddy have guns to break up the melee monotony, although they only serve to make an easy game even more mindless.
Everything about Kick-Ass is uninteresting, from the repetitive soundbites to the sets. The lumber warehouse looks like the city garage, which looks like the junkyard office, and so on. I frequently forgot which mission I was playing, who I was pursuing, or why, on the rare occasion that a coherent reason was offered. Really, what is a suit-wearing henchman doing in a junkyard anyway?
Kick-Ass has adequate character models and the prerequisite references to the source material, but bears none of the enthusiasm of its namesake. Just when you think that movie-based games are finally making some headway, a game like Kick-Ass comes along to obliterate that notion and to show you how low some people will sink to make a buck.