several years since Godzilla: Save the Earth was released, and most of the
hardcore faithful I know are still enjoying the title from time to time.
However, just the thought of a new Godzilla game is enough to stir the ToHo
fanatics into a frenzy, and when Godzilla: Unleashed was announced, gamers
thought the time had finally come when they could lay their copies of Save
the Earth to rest. Well, I’m sorry to say that nothing could be farther from
the truth. Unleashed is no where near the sequel, or follow-up, that it
could be. In fact, it feels more like a patch, or even a piece of
downloadable content (if PS2 had that ability), than it does a stand alone
game. Fans be warned; anyone considering this title should absolutely know
that Unleashed is nearly identical in every way to Save the Earth, with the
only difference being a few minor additions.
additions can be summed up fairly quickly, too; Obsidius and Batra are now
playable, Super-X 3 has been removed, the camera has been improved in Melee
mode, power-ups now appear randomly, the HUD has been simplified a bit, and
there’s a new story mode to help keep you busy. While these are definitely
needed improvements, they shouldn’t have taken three years to complete, and
most certainly shouldn’t come at a forty dollar price tag. Having said this,
if you go into Unleashed knowing exactly what you’re getting into, then the
experience will be much less irritating.
The story is
pretty basic, but does give you access as to why these giant monsters are
fighting in the first place. Mysterious crystals have begun appearing all
across the globe and each of the various factions of monsters are vying for
their position among the crystal holders. Each faction has their own agenda
and plans for the crystals, but unfortunately you are limited in your
choices when the game begins. Although the game’s roster is impressive; 23
monsters in all, the amount of work you must go through to unlock some of
the all-time greats is pretty discouraging. You will slowly earn credits
while playing through the game, which then can be used to unlock various
monsters and their respective factions. Finally, once the faction is
unlocked you must play through once again if you wish to access that
particular faction’s most powerful creatures. The objectives and story do
change slightly each time around, but most of the unlockable monsters
require a hefty amount of credits to be purchased. This, along with the
horrible voice-acting and sub-par cut-scenes, will likely keep most people
from playing multiple times, and from unlocking many of their favorite
doesn’t help much either, unfortunately. Any excitement you had from the
idea of controlling these massive beasts in beautiful locations around the
world quickly dies after only a few minutes of gameplay. Godzilla and pals
move way too slow and sluggish, and for the most part commands are
unresponsive at best. What should be a strategic romp through Osaka quickly
turns into a game of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots when you figure out button
mashing is just as effective as actually mastering the controls. This is a
shame, too; with such a wide variety of monsters available, the developers
had a real chance to make each individual stand out, complete with specific
moves and control schemes. Instead, each button does the exact same thing
for all monsters, and while they may have different on-screen moves, the
whole thing feels too generic and unintuitive. Also, Rage moves have now
been replaced with Power Surges, the only problem is the game does little to
describe what they do, and why you achieved them in the first place.
Additionally, throws seem to have been decreased drastically. Enemies seem
to drop immediately to the ground after thrown, instead of hurdling across
the screen. This isn’t a big deal, but it should be questioned as to why the
development team decided to remove certain gameplay elements that seemed to
work fine in the first place.
battles taken place in accurate representations of their real-world
counterparts, some of the gameplay issues might have been overshadowed.
Although locations like Osaka, Sydney, and San Francisco look somewhat
familiar, they in no way match the size and scale you would expect. I know
this would be difficulty to achieve on the PS2, but what little space is
represented feels generic and poorly done. Buildings resemble cardboard
boxes with a slight coating of polygons, and after destruction debris is
mysteriously absent. It honestly feels as if the city below is made of
popsicle sticks just waiting to crumble upon cue, almost completely absent
of life or anything close to it. You will occasionally see a few cars
littered throughout the cities, but nothing too interactive. Using parts of
the environment to punish your enemies would have helped immensely, but not
being able to grab buildings or even telephone poles and use them as weapons
seems like such a waste. Having hundreds of tiny humans panicking and
running for their lives would have been icing on the cake, but you will find
none of that here. This only helps cheapen the overall experience, when it
should have been a major selling point.
It is almost
impossible to recommend Godzilla: Unleashed, especially when Save the Earth
can be purchased for half the price in your local bargain bin. Those who
cannot live without the minor upgrades (and a few downgrades) will likely
rush out to play as their favorite monsters, but everyone else will likely
want to give this near-replica a pass.
identical to a game that was released 3 years ago, with almost minimal
upgrades. Some aspects have even been taken out or downgraded.
Each of the 23
monsters look pretty accurate and well polished, but the locations lack of
any type of polish really drags the visual experience down.
voice-acting, forgettable sound effects and cheesy background metal make it
hard to enjoy the audio. At least most of the monsters have the correct
roars and screams, which is a plus.
like a genius idea (Godzilla and pals fight it out in real-world locations)
seems like a no-brainer, almost nothing is executed the way it should be.
It does offer
4-player battles for you and your friends, but severe slowdown and framerate
issues eliminate most of the fun. Sadly, online play has also been removed
for some reason, which deeply hurts the replayability and fun factor.
money and buy Save the Earth, you will be glad you did.