Monday, October 3, 2011
Ghost Rider PS2 Review
Recently, I really started to get into the Ghost Rider franchise. Ever since re-watching the film, (my review here: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Destroyer14/news/?a=44337 ) I started to buy some of the 90's comics, and watched some of the 90's shows with him guest starring. He's now my second favorite Marvel character. Now, to able to play as this guy would be awesome, right? So, I found out that there was a video game related to the movie. Despite the negative reviews, I picked this bad boy up. Why don't we hear my take on this old game?
The plot follows Ghost Rider, who is thrown into Hell by the demon lord Mephisto, who says the Rider's work is not done. The demons are attempting to ressurect Blackheart, and Ghost Rider has to stop that from happening.
As you can see, rather than adapting the plot of the film, it's meant to be a SEQUEL to it. I think that's always a sound way of doing it. Rather than "playing" the film, you get new material. The plot here is great, it's a direct sequel. It kind of makes me disappointed to think what could have been done as a direct film sequel, so many great great possibilities. The plot is good, but has a few problems I will address soon.
Ghost Rider at its core is a beat-em-up. There's no puzzle at all, so get ready for some mindless whipping. (If you're into hardcore puzzle games like Zelda, you'll find this game heart-breaking.) If you're into button-mashing and combos after combos, you'll find this game extremely enjoyable.
The gameplay is reminiscent of the famous God of War series. I only knew that cause all the reviews say it, for I've never played that series. So, you have your chain, punches, and a shotgun. Combos are the rage here, you will be using them a lot. I'll give a hand to the game, the gameplay is pretty fun. The different combos are truly devastating and awesome to behold. Sadly, the game gets really repetitive with the missions feeling the same, and the same annoying enemies over and over.
The other part, and one of the games's main selling points, is riding Ghost Rider's cycle. For the most part, it's fun. You get some nice ramps, some ducking for good measure, it's good stuff and shakes up the formula. (You're going to need that after battling the same enemies endlessly.) Still, it would have been nice to have a little free-roam with the cycle.
The plot of this game is really good, but doesn't have enough cutscenes. You go whole levels without any real update on what's happening. With some more cutscenes, the narrative could have been better. For fans, there's some awesome appearances by characters from the comics. Seeing Vengeance alongside Mephisto, and Blackout and Deathwatch making an alliance is truly cool. Since this game is in the movie world, they could play around with the characters. It was such fun fan service, but for non-fans, it won't seem like much. (We also get Blade!)
Graphic wise, it's decent. It isn't bad, of course nothing great. But it's doable. The environments look bland, and just boring. Ghost Rider looks fine enough, with the final boss having some great detail.
The game's sound effects are decent, a little generic. The soundtrack is similar to the film's, it has some really cool little tunes. The voice acting is mixed. Ghost Rider sounds awesome, but the other characters, Mephisto and Blackheart, don't match their movie counterpart's voice. Would it have been really hard to hire the actors for voice-work? C'mon people. The Caretaker sounds good, along with the rest of the villains.
Presentation: The menu is too simple and arcade-like. Extras wise, it one of the game's biggest ups. There's some nice artwork and interviews. And for fans, actual pages from the comics. Nice little touch. The upgrade system is good, but upgrading is severely easy. On the second level, I had already maxed out my health. Three levels before the final one I had upgraded all my moves and combos, it goes by too fast. After you beat the game, you unlock other characters, Ghost Rider 2099, Vengeance, and Blade. But really, who would want to play through the story mode again? Some stage select would have been nice.
The plot as I've said is very good. But due to some pretty cheesy writing and stuff that doesn't make too much sense, it could annoy some people. Like, Blade appears, but then disappears after his third cutscene. He wasn't there for the final battle, he just vanished. (C'mon, even if he appeared in the final cutscene riding away would have been fine, I like closure.) Mephisto's plan at the end feels forced and just put in. The final boss has the scope of epicness, seeing Blackheart in his REAL form from the comics was very cool. But if you have maxed health, the battle is pretty easy.
Overall, Ghost Rider is a step above the average tie-in. Awesome combos, fun little story, and some great appearances makes this a fun comic book game. Sadly, it gets repetitive with no variety, and the same annoying enemies over and over again. (The shielded ones will drive you insane and make you feel like throwing the controller out the window.) This game is not worth the $30 when it first came out, for you could beat this game in under four hours. (No joke, according to the screen, it took me three hours and forty-five minutes to finish it.) You can find the game at Gamestop for $7, so if you're into beat-em-ups and like Ghost Rider, it's worth $7.