For an excellent P*N review of this game by Delano Townsend click this link.
This isn’t my review it’s just something that struck me as annoying while playing. Sloppy-ass storytelling via minimalist cutscenes.
Developers Sucker-Punch are clearly going for a dark, comic-book style to the game. It fits the gameplay perfectly as you’re playing an electric superhero/superantihero who leaps around a city in chaos, dealing death to wrongdoers and/or innocent bystanders. So that would fit with presentation that matches today’s black, gritty comic books from the likes of Frank Miller, Mark Millar, J. Michael Straczynski, Brian K. Vaughan and Brian Michael Bendis, right? Wrong? The comic scenes are spliced in between each major action section with such clumsiness it feels as though they’re just placeholders that never got replaced.
Here’s how it goes.
1. You do a mission, running from A to B, and killing dudes 1 thru 20.
2. The mission ends, we cut to a swift montage of pretty competent comic art, complete with a voiceover as gravely protagonist Coal explains how he met someone new and had a conversation with them. This process takes about twenty seconds to watch.
3. Cut to Cole, straight after that, somewhere else. Go do another mission.
Did you spot what was missing? Character interaction, development, empathy, identifying with our hero in any way.
“But that’s fine too!” You say. “All I want to do is bust heads. Make with the zapping already. We don’t like getting bogged down in those hour-long Kojima style cutscenes.” True, sometimes they can screw up the pace and have you longing for some more gameplay, but those bits between the action are absolutely crucial for us caring about what’s going on. If we’re simply told “Then I met this woman. She worked for some company or other. Told me I had to work for her.” we learn nothing except the basic framework for the maguffin Cole’s been sent on. He has no more motivation to complete his tasks than before. It short-changes us as an audiance and crucially it falls way short of Sucker Punch’s aim. The real meat of graphic novels are the taut scenes of character interaction. They define the story, justify and strengthen the action and give us something to really get hooked on. Imagine watching only the last third of The Matrix. Sure it would be cool, but we wouldn’t know why Neo was really fighting, or care what happened to him.
The game itself is fine. A prime example of accomplished, sandbox action with some spectacular moments. I just don’t care about what happens to anybody in it. Next time you’re riffing on comics developers be sure to read one or two first. I reccomend Powers and The Ultimates.