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This game is a spin off from the Disney movie G-force. A lot of these type games are pretty dire, relying on the films popularity for sales rather than the quality of the game. Personally I haven't seen the film so don't know how well it ties in but I think this game is very entertaining.
Basically you are a spy guinea pig whose mission it is to infiltrate an evil corporation and save the world. I'm the worlds worst gamer, by the time I've worked out how to change weapons or aim at my target I'm dead!But if I play this on easy mode even I can last a decent amount of time.
There are lots of points to collect which you can use to buy upgraded weapons, ammo, health and maps. You also have a little fly with you called mooch who you can use to get into small or inaccessible areas.
As the game progresses there are lots of tricks you can employ to help you with your mission and this helps to stop it being too repetitive.
The whole game can be played in 3d if you wish and there are 2 pairs of 3d glasses included for that purpose.
My son has now finished the game and thoroughly enjoyed it. He now gets his kicks watching my miserable attempts to master it!
The concept of arming a small group of hamsters with high tech weaponry and gadgetry and sending them out to save the world is a frankly bonkers idea that you can imagine a group of somewhat tipsy students coming up with in a pub somewhere. Though rather than saving the world, the hamsters would probably be up against other rodents, and bets would be placed on which species would be triumphant in the end. Such barmy concepts do not generally go much further than that, and certainly do not get made into multi million pound blockbuster films. But a film is exactly what has been made of this high tech hamster concept. A Disney film, no less. Welcome to the world of G-Force, a film where the only thing preventing the world from destruction is a small group of intellectually superior hamsters armed with gadgets and weapons that would make James Bond jealous. You've probably heard of it by now, and may well have taken your children to see it.
But Disney films rarely stay isolated within their own world. There will be extras, such as merchandise. And, usually, a computer game. Which is exactly what has happened in this instance. This is a review of the Playstation 3 version of G-Force, but whilst I have not had the pleasure of playing the other versions (it is out on all major consoles) I would imagine that they are more or less the same as this one. So if your child/children has/have asked you for this as a birthday treat or stocking filler, read on to find out whether purchasing it is worth your while.
WHY DID I BUY IT?
Before diving into the review proper, I feel that this question is a relevant one. You see, I am fairly experienced when it comes to computer games. I have been playing them for a long time, and know the general ins and outs of the industry. One thing I certainly know is that, as a rule, movie tie ins are absolutely rubbish. Some of the worst games ever made have been movie tie ins (in fact, ET is widely considered to be the very worst game ever made). There have been some decent movie tie ins over the years (Toy Story 2 and Spiderman 2 spring to mind), but generally they are ones to avoid.
So why did I buy this? The short answer is that I didn't. As it happens the game was bought for my nine year old nephew as a present, and one fateful afternoon when he was around at my parents' house I was given the arduous task of keeping him occupied whilst everyone else talked about other things, mainly because no one else wanted to play computer games with him. So the mission fell to me, and he wanted to play his shiny new movie tie in. I was left with no choice.
Of course he wasn't done with the game in one afternoon, but unfortunately (and as fate would have it) he left the game at my parents' house. So having played a couple of hours already, I decided to make the most of this opportunity and finish the game, because up to now it wasn't too bad. Which is exactly what I did over the next few days. That alone should give the hint that I got some amount of enjoyment out of this game, and indeed the ending to this story is a happy one. So read on.
As already mentioned, G-Force is a direct tie in to the movie of the same name. It is something that you will probably only buy because you or your children have seen the movie. And indeed, if for some unknown reason you buy it without seeing the movie (I have not seen the movie), you will be left as confused as I was. Because whilst there are plenty of cutscenes, there is very little actual story here. I know the basic gist (explained in the first paragraph of this review) because I had seen the trailers and my nephew insisted on filling me in on the details as he fought his way through the first couple of hours of the game, but beyond that there is no plot of character development here at all, which frankly feels a bit lazy. Even the dialogue between characters (which there is plenty of) is really a little bit dull, with painful and cheesy one line jokes offering the only clue that the script was written by someone with a personality. Whether the movie's script follows the same pattern I simply cannot say, though I hope for the sake of those who have seen it that it does not. But either way I would highly recommend that anyone wanting to either play through this game or buy it for someone else ensures that anyone who plays it has seen the film first. At least I assume that seeing the film sheds some light on proceedings, because certainly my nephew didn't look nearly as confused as me.
The game itself is a platformer/third person shooter combination in which you mostly play as Darwin, the leader of G-Force. And armed with a variety of weapons and gadgets, you must amble on through the game completing objectives, solving puzzles, defeating enemies, and generally saving the world from, in this case, a bloke who intends to conquer the globe by turning household appliances into bloodthirsty monsters. Yes, you read that right. In addition you also get to spend some time playing as Mooch, another member of G-Force who apparently has sufficient gadgetry to allow him to fly. Good for him.
If this review sounds negative so far I have been misleading you, because actually G-Force is a lot of fun to play. The controls are well thought out and very responsive. There is a wide variety of things to do in this game, and each action is controlled in a smooth and solid fashion. So whether you're crawling up a drainpipe or fending off rabid waffle irons with your electric whip (never thought I'd write that in a review) you will do so using controls that, on the whole, make the experience pretty satisfying. The controls are quite easy to get to grips with (my nephew had no problem), and they are precise enough to prevent any unnecessary frustration (again, none was present when my nephew played it, nor did I experience any). Controlling Mooch is also a lot of fun. Often you will by flying high above the levels that you play in with Darwin, and zipping through gaps in metal grates and weaving in and out of light fittings really is quite thrilling, and one of the highlights of the game. There are also a couple of levels where you are riding in your motorised hamster balls (obviously), though unfortunately the controls here aren't that good at all, and it can be quite tricky to make the ball do what you want it to. That said these sections aren't long at all, and on the whole playing the game generally is good fun and the control scheme is solid.
The game does also, initially at least, have enough variety to keep things interesting. As well as fending off enemies you will also have to solve puzzles, and for the most part these are original whilst being just the right level of difficulty (again, my nephew didn't struggle for too long with any that he faced). However, it should be noted that as the game moves things can drag at times as the level of variety drops. Certainly this was by no means crippling to the experience, but it does feel like the developers somewhat ran out of ideas about half way through, and as a result the game did have its noticeable dull moments. Then again I would imagine that this affected me far more than it would a younger player who loves the film, as the novelty as playing as a superhero hamster would likely not wear off as fast for them. Still, the game is far from non stop entertainment and excitement, and after a few hours it does become somewhat monotonous despite the early promise and variety.
The graphics in G-Force, whilst not close to mind blowing, are good enough. Obviously the level of detail in the characters and environments isn't close to the level that the film reaches to, but no one would realistically expect them to, and certainly those playing it won't mind about that. But it is good to see that the developers have put some effort into the graphics, and by movie tie in standards they are pretty decent. My only complaint here follows the same line as the gripe above, namely that there is a lack of variety in the environments. Why government facilities must always be grey I am not quite sure, but either way the environments do get a bit bland after a while.
One thing that absolutely has to be mentioned here though is that G-Force does have one very unique graphical gimmick to offer up in the form of 3-D glasses. Yes, you read that right. 3-D glasses. In a computer game. Very exciting. The Playstation 3 version (and I believe the Xbox 360 version as well) comes packaged with two sets of these, and when you set the game to use the glasses (done easily through the menu screen) you can experience the joy of having the characters pop out of the screen.
As exciting as that sounds, it unfortunately isn't really as good as it should be. Unexpectedly, but I suppose somewhat reasonably, the mode that allows you to use these glasses washes out the colours in the graphics. So whilst the 3-D is interesting and entertaining for a while, the graphics become remarkably dull. I would also not recommend using the glasses for very long, because to be absolutely frank it hurts when using them for prolonged periods. When watching my nephew play it wasn't that bad, but when playing myself (and therefore concentrating harder) my eyes did start hurting after an hour or so. All in all kids will probably love this feature (my nephew wouldn't play without them, despite the fact that it was probably liquidising his retinas), but it does take away a lot of the graphical charm and isn't as good as it should be.
HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
It should come as no surprise that G-Force really isn't that difficult, as indeed it is clearly aimed at a younger audience. It does have its ever so slightly tricky moments, but you are given plenty of lives at the start of each level, meaning that even kids shouldn't encounter too much frustration in playing through the game. The lack of challenge is something of a double edged sword, as whilst kids are unlikely to give up with it and (I imagine) will play it to the end, it won't keep them occupied forever.
In terms of length, I obviously don't know how long my nephew took to finish it (I'm sure he has by now), but it took me about seven hours or so. At a guess, I'd say that would translate into between ten and twelve for kids depending on how good they are at it. So whilst it is not the longest game in the world, it is a decent length for a game of this nature. The only downside is that I would guess that once finished it probably won't be played again, as it is monotonous at times and certainly I had no desire to play through it a second time. That said, no doubt a child who is hooked by the charm of playing as a gadget wielding hamster might find more time in this than the average person, but as always that can never be guaranteed.
Many parents will be pushed into buying this game because their children demand it. That's the way of the world, and has resulted in the purchasing of many a substandard product over time. But in this case the game is decent enough. It is, for the most part, well put together, and it is actually quite a lot of fun to play for both children and adults. It is certainly a step above the average movie tie in, and better than a lot of other games aimed at kids as well. As such I would recommend the game to any parent who is considering buying it for their son or daughter; providing they have seen the movie they will get their fair share of fun out of it, and it is a worthy purchase.
Of course for everybody else (and certainly for adult/teenage gamers) there are far better games out there, and as such this should be avoided. But that should really go without saying, because this is a kids game, and never pretends to be anything else. And considering that the game can be picked up for about £20 (it was previously £17.99 at Play.com, and I would expect it to drop down again) this is not only a reasonable price for a PS3 game, but one that will do its job of entertaining the kids as well. And in that regard, whilst it may not be the best game in the world, it cannot be faulted.