The Incredible Hulk - PS3 - Review
Doctor Bruce Banner has been living in Brazil attempting to not only find clues of how to fix his, well, “problem” but also successfully keeping from getting angry. Still, when you’re wanted by the United States military it’s hard for a man like Banner to stay hidden for very long. Locating Banner in the Brazilian favelas, the ever-persistent General Ross chases him and once again calls out the angry beast that smashes anything and everything that gets in its way. This is the basis for the new movie and, of course, the game based on Marvel’s green hero. Sadly, smashing things in The Incredible Hulk for the PlayStation 3 just isn’t as fun as it seems.
Unfortunately, games connected with movies don’t often have a good track record (see the game version of Ang Lee’s Hulk movie). While Radical Entertainment did justice to the Hulk with Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, this movie-licensed game feels like it was rushed to coincide with the release of the latest film starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler and Tim Roth. The game’s story even follows many of the movie’s events. As I mentioned above, Doctor Bruce Banner is in hiding when General Ross and his strike force, lead by a determined operative, finds him. Instead of hiding out in a remote area, Banner heads to the Big Apple in hopes of disappearing into the crowds. Of course, this isn’t possible and Banner and his alter ego find themselves in a battle for survival.
Like Ultimate Destruction, this game allows you to run amok in the city limits and destroy everything around you including cars, buildings and tanks. The main story missions follow the events in the movie but they also include missions close to the Marvel comic books. You’ll not only be coming to the aid of Banner’s main squeeze, Betty Ross, but also help your friend Rick Jones uncover a plot featuring a tech-crazed group of terrorists fans of the Hulk comic book will recognize. You’ll even learn about the person who becomes one of the Hulk’s biggest adversaries … Abomination.
While taking a page from Ultimate Destruction as well as Spider-Man 2, The Incredible Hulk gives you the freedom to destroy anything around you with the only penalty being that your path of destruction will alert the military. There’s an alert meter that light up when you go on a rampage and soon you will find yourself chased by everything from tanks, armored transports, Apache helicopters and ground troops. Oh, and Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) has built suits for the military that allow troops to fly and go head-to-head with the Hulk. After a while it becomes a wee bit annoying attempting to swat these armored foes away from you.
The best part about being the Hulk is obviously the strength to bring down buildings, lift up vehicles and destroy buildings by punching away at its foundations. The Hulk can also leap high and climb up known New York City buildings such as the Chrysler Building or Trump Tower. As you play the game, you’ll come to learn new Rage attacks that allow you to perform recognizable Hulk attacks such as creating a sonic wave simply by clapping your hands together or power leaping higher. The Hulk can even regenerate health on the fly by using the D-pad and pressing the Triangle and Circle button so the only reason you’ll die in this game is that you didn’t pay attention to your health meter.
New York City is a big place and the game allows you to explore a good portion of it although most of the city feels a bit cut off thanks to the surrounding body of water that acts like an invisible barrier. There are mission markers scattered throughout the city and this will give you a chance to take the fight in places like Central Park and Time Square. There are, of course, side missions mixed in with the core story missions but these missions mainly have you destroying enemy strongholds or ridding the city of random threats that appear on the map.
Sadly, the main missions are repetitive and uninventive to the point that you will feel like you have gone through the same escort and battle mission. In the early missions, you will be guarding Rick Jones from danger and later squaring off against Abomination as well as much bigger mechanical enemies. The controls are basic and easy to figure out since the Hulk uses basic attacks mixed in with rage attacks (like picking up two cars and using them on your enemy).
The Incredible Hulk isn’t even a visually impressive game either despite the fact that the Hulk looks downright awesome during cut scenes and during in-game action. The Hulk is just about the only thing about the game that looks next-gen because the building and vehicles are eyesores. Not even Ultimate Destruction had the hideous backgrounds and flat textures. Vehicles in the game look blocky and if you climb on top of a building, the surrounding buildings seem to be shrouded in a gray mist that was certainly not done on purpose. The cut scenes are nothing to write home about either, although many of the characters slightly resemble the movie’s actors.
The game’s sound fairs a bit better than the graphics but not by very much. For starters, the movie‘s cast provide the voices for all the major characters so you will find Edward Norton voicing Banner as well as Live Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt voicing their perspective characters. Everyone does a good job with the original dialogue but Norton sounds like somebody just woke him up from a long nap. The game’s music doesn’t sound very cinematic and it tends to loop often. The sound effects are very minimal, which is baffling seeing as they could have used the effects from the movie.
The Incredible Hulk for the PlayStation 3 feels like a rushed, uncreative mess that lacks any redeemable qualities worthy of our mean green hero. This is a painful thing for me to say seeing as the character and his destructive nature has great gaming possibilities as we have seen before in Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Yes, smashing things as the Hulk is fun and running amok in an open city equals fun but there should be thought placed on the rest of the game such as the missions, enemy AI and finally the graphics. Sorry, but this is yet another Marvel superhero game you will most definitely want to skip.
Review Scoring Details for The Incredible Hulk
We like to see Banner when he’s angry and we love seeing Hulk smash things so this is the only thing the game does right. Sadly, the story and mission structure is repetitive and boring in places. While the game follows the film it offers enemies comic book fans will recognize but this isn’t enough to save the game.
The only visual element that will have you glad you picked up a PS3 is the Hulk who looks good in motion as well as in cut scenes. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the New York City backgrounds or the blocky PSOne-quality vehicles and visual effects.
The music isn’t very cinematic and it loops throughout the game in the most obvious way. The good news is that the movie’s cast provides the voices but sadly Edward Norton’s performance sounds phoned in … unlike the brilliant actor that is Tim Roth.
It’s not difficult to keep Hulk alive seeing as he can regenerate health at any point. Still, it’s a challenge to go up against multiple tanks and armored vehicles. Abomination is a worthwhile foe.
In an hour, you’ll see all of New York City without missing very much so there’s very little fun in exploring. There are unlockable extras such as comic book covers and alternate versions of the Hulk you can use if you do wish to replay the game.
There’s nothing very incredible about this Hulk and that’s too bad since his need to smash things make for some destructive fun. What The Incredible Hulk for the PS3 does do is prove that, once again, most movie tie-in games are rushed products that lack creativity and fun.