The Incredible Hulk Review
By Chad Montague |
Three years ago Radical Entertainment surprised critics and fans alike by delivering the high-quality Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. A good movie-licensed comic-book game is a very rare thing. The open-world Hulk game was infused with a sly sense of humor, some decent story missions and a slew of fun mini-games. Three years later, Edge of Reality gives us a near identical game, but adds a fully destructible New York City. And yet, the new Incredible Hulk is a far weaker game that misses out on some of the fun things Radical did with Ultimate Destruction. And worst of all, SEGA chose to port the inferior Wii version rather than the Xbox 360 version.
Though Incredible Hulk is based on the movie, little of the story is represented in the game. You begin with Bruce Banner under duress in Rio, cornered by the government and about to be captured. He becomes the Hulk and you battle your way to escape. The next eight hours seem to have no relation to the movie as Hulk battles to free New York from the grasps of the Enclave. The storyline wraps up with a few recreations of scenes from the film, but it all comes off a bit disjointed. It doesn't help that the cut-scenes are poorly compressed and often last just a few seconds.
Hulk Smash Ugly Game!Though Hulk doesn't have much story behind it, there are some good things in its corner. For one, Edge of Reality transplanted many of the ideas Radical used in Ultimate Destruction. Hulk can charge a jump while in mid-air and then bound off with greater velocity when he touches ground. The move-set is very similar to the previous iteration, and you once again have a large city to explore. But all of the humor has been drained from this Hulk. You won't be crumpling cars into bowling balls and rolling them at army men or taking a ride on a giant balloon gorilla. Instead, you're going to be destroying New York landmarks to find secret locations. Too soon? Apparently not.
The destruction really is Incredible Hulk's greatest feat. Even if you neglect destroying landmarks (kudos to you), any building Hulk lands on strains from the weight and battles in the streets often leave nothing but rubble. You definitely get the sense of Hulk as an uncontrollable weapon. Even when he's doing good, he's causing mass devastation.
The more destruction you cause, the higher your threat level. At first just some foot soldiers come to take you on, but this scales to tanks and attack choppers and lastly to men in Hulkbuster armored suits. Along with a very standard set of attack moves, the Hulk also has a few super-powered moves which can be executed by building up his rage meter. You can unload a teeth-rattling thunder clap or a tremor-causing ground slam. But most beneficial is the ability to instantly heal yourself. So long as you pay attention to your health meter, you have no excuse for ever dying. These powers, while cool, also mute the threat level system, as you can easily spend an hour at the highest level without coming close to death. The enemies are just too dumb and too weak to be any real danger.
Really, the PC is far more capable than this.Of course, the bad news for PC owners is that Edge of Reality chose to port the Wii version. This graphically inferior version is chock full of blue fog throughout the city. Climb to the top of the Empire State Building and you see nothing but a haze below you. While you can destroy every building you see, it makes no sense for SEGA to have given PC gamers the lesser version of its title. You'd think porting a 360 title to PC would be easier than going from Wii to PC. This is a total disservice to PC gamers.
Incredible Hulk is a pretty meaty game. There's actually a lot to do -- from hunting down 200 power-ups in the city to dozens of mini-game challenges. The main campaign can take anywhere from 7-10 hours depending on how much time you spend cruising New York. The missions are mostly fetch and protection quests. Fortunately those Hulk is protecting are impervious to his attacks. That is with the exception of one of the final missions, in which a building you need to protect takes damage from the shockwaves of your attacks. Aside from this poorly conceived mission, there's really nothing frustrating about any of the tasks. They just get a little stale after a while. I will warn that I hit a few mission-killing bugs when the game failed to recognize Hulk had defeated all enemies on screen.
Did we mention it's ugly?If you're looking for a visual or aural powerhouse, keep on walking. Hulk does feature a full city of destructible buildings, but the city is fairly bland in its appearance. And there are only a handful of enemies, which gets old pretty fast. And on PC, the streets are mostly bare. Though the movie cast provides voice over work, this is the definition of phoning it in. It's clear that little attention was paid to the audio as you can clearly hear when some of the music loops.