Quickie: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

12 03 2009

I first heard of this game through the second-to-final issue of EGM. I read the article, subdued my nerd boner, and really considered it.

Pictured: Liberals

Watchmen is not about superheroes. It’s a human drama driven by some complex characters in an eerie world. The game being a beat-em-up seemed to turn our beloved Watchmen into something it’s not, which i disliked. I’m sure every true comic fan had this reaction.

I walked away from the article and thought about it. Watchmen was written after the fact. The protagonists did kick a lot of ass, and just because we didn’t see it in the comic, didn’t mean it never happen. My overreaction might have been a bit unfounded, and I downloaded the demo to give it a try.

It starts off with a comic-y intro, which reminds us that Dave Gibbons is not to be imitated. The drawings felt forced, like fan drawings sent to Wizard. The saving grace is the voices, they sound really close to (or perhaps are?) the movie actors, which is nice.  Once this scene is finished, the in-game stuff was actually really good. It captured the full feeling of the movie without being too taxing on my system. The animations were really good, from Nite Owl’s prone stance to Rorschach walking with his hands in his pockets and his head tilted down when not fighting.

The combat is taken straight from the movie, even certain finishing animations slow down, change camera angles and explode blood on impact. The game has you “finding” moves for each character, however, an annoying way to handle it and force repetition. Licensed games historically suck because we never feel like we’re controlling the characters we watched (or read about), their abilities are severely gimped, and things that shouldn’t be a problem to the real character cripple us (Superman 64?). Watchmen doesn’t have this. The characters kick ass in the way they should, easily beating on 5 or 6 guys at a time with little to no damage, but not in the sense that it’s particularly easy to do so. I had great fun with it.

Will I buy it, having played the demo? I’m not sure. The game gives me the same vibe as the Penny Arcade game did: something i’m sure I would have fun with, but can’t convince myself to spend $20 on it. I’m not sure why, I get the feeling that I won’t come back to it after a sitting and that it’s very short. Also, the game has very antiquated mechanics, not only with “finding” moves, but a prison full of doors that have advanced technology that can detect if all the prisoners are knocked out before opening. This is the same prison that is erupting in a riot because the prisoners all got out of their cells. Protip: use the shower room doors instead of steel bars next time, guys.




2 responses

12 03 2009
Daniel's Critical Corner

I’m going to have to check this out. The movie was pretty cool.

13 03 2009

If you have a PC, Steam has a demo available. Definitely worth a try. There might be a demo for XBOX360 and PS3 too, I haven’t checked myself.

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