VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Systems: XBOX 360, PlayStation 2, XBOX, DS, GameBoy Advance, PSP
INTRODUCTION:Superman has one of the worst gaming legacies of any major pop culture icon. Throughout the years multiple game companies have attempted to capture the magic and power of Superman, but have littered the marketplace with abysmal failure. Specifically, alongside E. T., SUPERMAN 64 is considered one of the worst games of all time. With the release of SUPERMAN RETURNS (the movie), Electronic Arts adapted the movie into this iteration, SUPERMAN RETURNS THE VIDEOGAME. The storyline brings Superman back to Metropolis after disappearing for some time. While this story is not a complete carbon copy of the movie, it does include voice work from the original cast. Classic Superman characters have been thrown in to spice up the story and to allow Lex Luther more time to hatch his evil plans.
GAMEPLAY:Cribbed straight from design notes of GRAND THEFT AUTO, INCREDIBLE HULK: ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION, and SPIDER-MAN: THE MOVIE, SUPERMAN RETURNS is a free-roaming game with ample space to explore. Like GRAND THEFT AUTO, Superman can travel anywhere in his city with various side missions and story missions popping up. Like INCREDIBLE HULK: ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION, Superman can damage almost everything in the city. However, while HULK relishes in wanton destruction, the design of SUPERMAN RETURNS encourages use of objects within gameplay but is not the central focus. Gameplay in SUPERMAN RETURNS focuses primarily on protecting Metropolis from varied (or rather incredibly repetitive) enemies sporadically located in the city. Superman seems to be protecting Metropolis from the exact same enemies over and over and over, with the only variable being the number of enemies and the amount of time required to eliminate them.
GRAPHICS:Just like the gameplay, the graphics show a dynamic split in detail. While Metropolis looks above average from a distance, as soon as you reach the street level you see plenty of repetition. I could make a Monet joke, but that would make you think that these graphics have some connection with high art. Instead, the graphics should be placed in the same category as your best friend's senior class art exhibit. It looks good and interesting but nothing stands out amongst the crowd.
AUDIO:Its not easy to knock the audio of a game that includes real actors in the voice over. Especially, when these same actors were in the original movie that game is adapted from. And yet, here lies SUPERMAN RETURNS, a game with piss poor voice over work. The very same actors that made Bryan Singer's vision come to life makes this game as dull as possible. Brandon Routh, in particular, butchers his dialogue the most. Whether its his flat delivery in cut scenes or his repetitive one-liners in the actually game, Routh adds zero personality to Superman. While not as painful as Routh, co-stars Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth don't support the game in the least. Despite the weak voice over work, not all is lost in the audio category. Fortunately, the score and the effects are interesting and quite fitting. There's a nice array of explosions and crashes to scare the bejesus out of your dogs and cats. Like graphics and the gameplay, the audio is acceptable in the ranks of all games, but fails to come close to A-list titles. Audio: 6.9/10
OVERALL:For gamers looking to buy a great Superman game, SUPERMAN RETURNS is not it. This game is a somewhat entertaining adaptation but never compels you to keep on playing. The story is inconsequential, the voice acting flounders, and the graphics can't decide how good to be. Overall, SUPERMAN RETURN typifies what gamers identify as an EA game - an interesting IP is given mediocre representation without much originality or flair. Overall: 6.9/10
STATUS OF THE MOVIE:A sequel to SUPERMAN RETURNS was confirmed and was planning a Summer 2009 release. Recent developments have pointed to a possible Justice League movie featuring Superman. Either way, Superman will be back eventually.
MY XBOX GAMERTAG:
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