Fantastic Four – Game Review from the Casual Gamer
I consider myself a casual gamer. Mostly, that’s because nearly all the games coming out require a graphics card better than the GeForce 4 MX card I got. While I will probably upgrade, someday, for now, it suits me fine, and cuts down on the number of computer games I buy.
I also consider myself a casual gamer in that I’m not one of those intensive “Sit-at-the-game-until-finished” guys that write most of the reviews out there. In truth, there are times I don’t even finish a game.
That being said, I was surprised to find Activision’s Fantastic Four computer game playable on my system. Curiosity got the better of me and I picked it up. While I haven’t finished the game, I have been so far impressed.
From the moment you pick up the box, you know that it is tied into the new FF movie, premiering July 8th. Carried into the game are the voice talents of the five main actors. But, comic geeks will pick out that many of the villains and secondary characters added for further gameplay are based upon Marvel’s Ultimate line (so far, this has included a cameo by a Ultimates Nick Fury and an extremely repulsive looking Mole Man).
The plusses of Fantastic Four is that each of the FF possess their own unique talents, further augmented by the “Cosmic” key. Thus, if you were playing Reed, you have light and heavy punches, but also extended punches and spinning fists when the Cosmic key is pressed with an attack. Combo attacks are also capable for each character.
While so far, a number of the levels I’ve played have been solo levels (focusing on one of the FF), it is possible to play with two members, or the whole team. This can get daunting for the casual player since often you have to switch between characters to accomplish a particular task. Coplay options are available, allowing for two players to play at once, but no online feature is included, so all gameplay actions come from the keyboard or gamepads.
Also a plus is that it is a loaded game. Upgrades to powers are available for “purchase,” along with character bios, concept art, cover gallery and more. Even on start-up, you have the option of viewing character bios, reading issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four, even hearing samples of the character “theme songs” from the soundtrack.
In addition to the storyline, an arena combat mode is available. This is particularly nice if you wish to make sure you know the right buttons to push for the combos. Additional villains and arenas are unlocked by gathering F4 Secrets in the main game, so you will need to play that to use all the arena zones.
On the downside, the camera actions leave a lot to be desired. Often times I’ve gotten myself into situations where I need to see a particular area, but have gotten the camera turned around so much that I’ve almost become disoriented.
Also, while it is possible to use a gamepad for the game (I use a Logitech Dual Action gamepad), configuration cannot be done from within the game. This is particularly irritating if you want to make sure what button will do what. When I configured my gamepad, I had to restart the game 4 or 5 times to reconfigure it to my liking.
Finally, levels can only be saved at particular points, usually after defeating a boss. While not really a problem for a lot of people, I always find it a bit irksome since it means I have to complete a sequence before I can shut down for the night, or else start over from the last same point.
For the most part, Fantastic Fouris a great game, certainly a lot of fun for the casual gamer/comic geek.