So, the first Watchmen game has finally arrived, bringing with it the usual rage at the apparent attempt to destroy everything nerds hold dear. On top of that, we find that this new game is a brawler – something that might suit, ooh, one to three panels of every comic from the original series? So obviously, this is not going to be a good adaptation of the Watchmen universe. As a result, I’m not going to treat it as part of the Watchmen universe. Instead, I’m going to treat it as it should be treated. No, not utter disgust, but as if it were just a new brawler that had been released.
I’m not saying I’m not disgusted at, say, the use of Rorschach’s journal to tell you to use combos, but I feel that the developers probably got a bit of a raw deal from the beginning. They were obviously asked to make a game to tie-in with the new movie, but not set it during the same timespan so as not to spoil anything for people watching the film. On top of this, they have to base pretty much everything in the game either on snippets of what came before the comics, alluded to by the characters, or to make it up themselves, as Alan Moore has been expressly against this sort of thing for a very long time.
As a result, we get a fairly bog-standard brawler. Admittedly it does look very pretty at times, and both Rorschach and Nite Owl are faithfully recreated and decently voice-acted. However, that’s just the icing masking the the slightly stale sponge cake beneath. The demo, which is the only part I’ve played seeing as it’s fairly unlikely I’ll be buying the full thing any time soon, takes place in a prison, where Rorschach and Nite Owl have to fight their way through various cell blocks to… to get to… I’m not really sure. All I know is that you beat up a lot of people.
The beating up part works fairly well, to be fair. There are enough moves to keep things interesting, and the enemies will notice if you only use one type of attack, and begin blocking it. However, that rather weird way of introducing new moves (on Rorschach’s part, I’ve not played though with Nite Owl yet) and the weird ‘rage meter’ mean that you’re always feeling like you’re not quite in step with the game.
The graphics are impressive for a movie tie-in, and the animations move fairly smoothly together, giving a good impression of a fuild fight, but ultimately there’s not much inderneath the presentation. It’s a fun distraction if you can move your mind away from Moore’s comics, but for 1600 MS points, or £12.99 on steam (I assume they’re about equal), you can find much better times elsewhere.