There have been many comic book games in recent years. Some were good, most were bad. Who could forget the amazing times we had with winners like Superman or the wonderful Spiderman 3 movie game. These games were so terrible, that even the most devoted achievement/trophy whores couldn’t finish more than 20 minutes. With this in mind, I think many of the mainstream reviewers out there forget how low the bar has been set. I assure you its low, very low. Oddly enough, with a word of caution and required explanation, I believe that I liked this Watchman game. *fanboys leave site* For those of you still here, I think a small elaboration on that statement is required.
Let me start by saying that I am new to the Watchmen series. All of my Watchmen knowledge has been accumulated and absorbed in the last month. In “Watchmen: The End is Nigh” you play as either Rorschach or Night Owl. Since neither of these two are all that different, I of course chose Rorschach as he is psychotic and more violent than Night Owl. The story is fairly simple. A bad guy is out and about. You must, through a night of face smashing, stop and retrieve him. There are more details but they really don’t matter. This is really a beat-em up at heart. There is a series of combos and finishers, but really, one just frolics about busting heads and literally punching dudes in the throat. Awesome.
Graphically, the game looks great. Simply put, it may be the best looking downloadable game we as gamers have seen this generation. There is a solid frame rate and a solid look of polish. The engine is nice, but don’t think Killzone or Drake’s Fortune are nervous. If you find yourself to be a graphics chimp, than it is doubtful you can bitch much here. You will most likely find your attention pulled from looks to sound when Blotman speaks. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Christian Bale was voicing this role. You know, that really odd, growly nonsense from the Dark Knight. The whole game is spent listening to that voice comment on the obvious. It’s not a deal breaker though.
I found the fighting to be fun. The finishers and brute force were strangely satisfying. Playing a deranged Rorschach never quite seems to get old. Seriously though, FINISHERS!!! Starts with a shot to the testicles, followed by two sharp elbows to the back of the spine, and finishes with an amazing karate chop to the Adam’s Apple. True American grit people. I received the trophy for 200 finishing moves and I believe I could watch that for another 600. There are also buckets of blood spewing from plenty of enemies and a whole list of other elaborate finishers using bare hands to steam pipes. That being said, there really isn’t much variance in enemies. I think for the entirety of the game, there are maybe five or 6 different enemies with a few cops sprinkled in. That’s right, punching cops in the throat. At the end of the sixth and final level, there is a single boss battle. Ehhh, at least there was one. The game is pretty easy though. I didn’t die until the end of the second chapter. This is where the button mashing no longer works and one actually has to begin using combos, avoiding attacks and punishing with counter attacks. When a swarm of 12 men approach, you cannot finish by simply pressing punch over and over. Keep in mind that this is a good thing. Oh, why the hell can’t I run?
This game could be much, much more. Someone out there could have really made an amazing Watchmen game. AN FPS/RPG/MMO/RACING SIM with dog killing minigames and shooting Mr. Manhattan in his giant blue balls. Someone could have sold millions. Someone didn’t though. My opinion is at $20, who cares. I spent $25 on a round of shots last Friday night. Those I enjoyed for about 7 seconds with a few extra belching recalls. I have heard a bunch of bitching when it comes to the cost to time ratio of this game. My advice is to think about all of the random junk an average American throws money away on. How much would it cost a person to go see this movie? For me and the girlfriend, this would be at least a $30 night. I paid $20 for a night of creatively beating street goons. Neh, a night spent slaughtering street scum. I have no regrets. That said I doubt I will play this much more. I might rip through with the owl some drunken night when my brother is in town, but it’s doubtful as he has a real love for the strippers. This doesn’t really bother me. I think that I have a pile of at least ten, $60 games that I not only haven’t finished, but maybe played each for a couple of hours. Besides, its downloadable so at least I didn’t waste gas or have to speak with those Nazi’s at Best Buy.
When the idea of downloadable console games was first introduced to me, this is pretty close to what I expected. Well, besides the $20 price tag. I really just want a ten or fifteen dollar game that is great looking and can give me 3 or 4 hours of entertainment. That is all that I expected. People have been just ruthless towards this game. Why are people complaining so much about the environments? THIS IS ONE NIGHT IN THE LIFE OF THESE TWO “HEROES.” This isn’t a branching MMORPG that represents the whole of their lives or something. This is Rorschach’s Friday night. WTF? People have also knocked on the cut scenes between levels. I really loved the comic cut scenes. It was a fresh change compared to most games. Usually, there is an amazing looking pre rendered scene that serves only to remind me how shitty the game looks in comparison. *coughs, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, coughs* The callback to the comic was a nice touch for me.
In the end, this game isn’t for everyone. If you want an experience as special as the comic was to you 20 years ago, this isn’t it. It’s fairly bland and lacks those, “Oh my sweet Lord,” moments. There is nothing ground breaking or anything that innovative. But, it works. I enjoyed playing it. I took pleasure in punishing the street rats. I never found myself angry about spending the $20. I would say if you are a modest Watchmen fan though, just wait for a sale or split it with a buddy on the PSN.