Rocketmen: Axis of Evil Xbox 360 Review

I’ll be the first to admit that I am rather fond of Capcom lately. Street Fighter IV looks amazing, as does the new Bionic Commando (both of them). Previous releases such as Dead Rising and Lost Planet have been rather impressive too, and their most recent title Devil May Cry 4 did not disappoint either. However, if there was one game that takes the sheen off all that quality it would have to be Rocketmen: Axis of Evil. To be blunt the game is absolutely abysmal. It’s a pity as the run and gun action genre could have done with a kick up the butt on both consoles’ downloaded services.

It’s best not to sugar-coat it, there is not much to like about the game. In truth, it is worse than being stuck in a small room with Jeff Bell and forced to listen to him prattle on until the end of time. I guess if I wanted to resort to hyperbole I could say I wanted to remove my eyeballs from their sockets after playing, although in all honesty that is skirting far too close to the truth to be seen as an overstatement of my hatred.

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Been based on a card game in hardly the most interesting heritage a game can boast, but some titles can rise about a poor start in life to be worthwhile in the long run. However, Rocketmen is not one of these games. The problems on show are numerous, so it’s hard to put on a finger on where to begin. Well, I guess the story would be the first point of contention, or the way it is told through still cel-shaded scenes to be more specific. Now, there is nothing wrong with bringing a comic book look into games, but at least put some effort into it please! The art on show in the game is dreadful, and looks like a first draft most artists would choose to toss away. For example the speech bubbles on the comics overlap on important parts of the scene meaning that at times you can’t really see what’s happening. Even worse, the text sometimes spills out of these speech bubbles, which is just another short coming that completely ruins the effect they were initially trying to create.

Now, I know there are loads of games that fail to tell a good story, but make up for it with some exciting gameplay. However, Rocketmen is sadly not one of these games either. In fact the deeper you get into the title the worse things get. The archaic gameplay starts to annoy from the very start with an annoying scrolling mechanic that will not let you go back should you end up passing an object you may have wanted to pick up. There was probably no point in picking up that object in the first place as once you pick up an object it starts a countdown, and when it reaches one the weapon breaks. This is a baffling decision as even though you can have a collection of weapons in the slots available they are all counting down at the same time meaning you never get a chance to use tactics and save weapons until it is best to use them. Would it not have been better to let each weapon break after a certain number of attacks preformed, or maybe start the countdown after you first use it?

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I guess it does not really matter in the end, as all of your foes seem to attack in the same way, meaning the first level plays exactly like the last, albeit with slightly different looking bad guys. More annoyances come when the game asks you to select items on screen with the A button, but with a screen filled with enemies even this simple task is aggravating and you will get hit by something before the button press even registers. A few RPG elements are on show in the game as well, these let you level up your character, but as you’d expect with a game already filled with problems these seem like they were tossed in at the end of development without much thought. The biggest problem with them is that even though a gauge will say your stats have increased you never really see a notable difference to your character’s skills. On the positive side of things the game does supports 4 player co-op action, but unfortunately the underlying game is so bad even this nice extra cannot save this title. When all is said and done the game tries to take the ideas of Smash TV and other similar titles and bring them up to date for a new generation of gamers. However, the attempt can be seen as nothing but a outright failure, as the game comes of as a watered-down annoying version of the great titles it tried to imitate.

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Yes, it is that bad and a half hearted attempt at developing a game based on an idea that really should not have even made it through the planning stages. Everything about the game seems crude, whether it is the unnecessarily complicated upgrade system, the somewhat silly controls or the fact you can’t play the game without feeling like you are been punished for all the bad things you have done throughout your life. There are much better PSN games available from other companies right now, and Capcom have much better coming in the future.

Even if you are itching for some action in this genre there really is no point in even trying Rocketmen as you just going to end up disappointed. Instead, why not go back and replay Zombies Ate My Neighbours and Alien Breed, they are still as good as they ever were, and at this rate will never be surpassed.

2 out of 10
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