Game-A-Week: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

Title: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

The Gist: The game is a beat-em-up style game involving two characters (Nightowl 2 and Rorschach) from the film Watchmen and basically has them in their own little adventure. The game is set prior to the film and starts off with Nightowl and Rorschach getting word of a prison riot at Sing Sing prison; they head there hoping to ‘calm’ the prisoners with a few kicks and punches. Turns out one of the more dangerous criminals has escaped and you’ll have to track him down through the game. This is the first of two games that were released as a tie-in for the Watchmen film.

Pros: Best thing about this game is that you get the actual actors from the films doing the voices for Nightowl 2 and Rorschach, I like that sort of thing as it makes the game feel a little more authentic for me. It was nice visiting some of the general locations of the films, namely the prison and basically seeing what some of the watchmen were up to prior to the Keene Act (no vigilantes) even though the warden of the prison doesn’t want you involved in their matter. Rorschach’s lines are really in character with the film so if you loved those lines there are a few for you here. The game uses a comic like bridge between levels of the game, whilst this is usually a cheap way of telling the story in a game it works really well here, echoing the comic the story is derived from.

Cons: The game’s objective is essentially getting from point A to point B on a level whilst defeating attacking groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. This game mechanic is highly repetative…highly repetative…highly…look it just gets annoying after a while doesn’t it? My point exactly…

Musical Note: The music for the game is somewhat boring and only slightly echoes the film’s score, it’s not anything you’ll be searching the internet for and to be honest it won’t be missed if you simply turn the music off during the game. I guess the game studio didn’t want to use any tracks like in the film (All Along the Watchtower ect) for license reasons, but it would have helped out considerably as the fights tend to drag on and don’t have enough energy due to the music. I couldn’t help but think back to the film Kick-Ass and that part in the film where he gets into a fight defending someone who’s being chased on the street; Kick ass gives a cheesy line about rather dying than watch a guy get beat up and Prodigy’s Omen kicks in. I decided to do a little experiment and put the track on whilst having a fight with around 10 NPC’s and low and behold the game felt ten times better than it actually was. If you’ve a copy of the game give it a try!

Hunger Level: Hmm not sure how hungry I am for this game, I bought both episodes of the game so I feel sort of compelled to finish it off…seemed to get through half the first game in an hour so it won’t exactly take long to play it through completely and it’s giving me the drive to watch the film again, which is great by the way so watch Watchmen…

Conclusion: Right the first thing I’ll point out is that this isn’t a big studio release game, it’s a film tie in…Warner Bros seem to know how that typically works out so they decided to experiment with a downloadable game in an episodic format. The game had a tight production schedule of just over a year and they really weren’t aiming for that game of the year award, merely something cheaper that would attract fans of the game in order to generate a little extra revenue. (source). I appreciate that this is the approach they’ve taken for this game as you can play it for what it is…sadly that isn’t much at all. I think that the IP itself was really interesting, I hadn’t been aware of the series too much until the film came out and absolutely loved both the world and the characters in it. The characters in the film range from Batman copy Nightowl 2, a gun-wielding Comedian and a naked blue man named Dr. Manhattan with the ability to supersize himself (not down there, for gods sake what’s wrong with you!) who can explode Vietnamese with a gesture of his hand. Well sadly you’re getting to play as two slightly different variations on the Batman character…which has been done a thousand times and brings nothing interesting to the table. Considering the game has the IP for Watchmen I really think they should have let you play as other characters later on in the game…hell there’s a second game why couldn’t we play as those characters then because that gives us the best of both worlds. Walking around a Vietnam battlefield and making people explode? Nah that doesn’t sound like fun at all…

Overall I’m not going to recommend the game unless you’re a die-hard Watchmen fan…and even then you’ll probably find yourself disappointed. The price tag for the two games combined nears the price of a full studio release and whilst Warner Bros. suggested this might suit gamers better it really doesn’t feel that way to me. It’s cashing in on a very basic beat-em-up that’s been split into two and costs two-thirds of what a full game should.

If anything I couldn’t help but think of this game as a 3D version of the Sega Megadrive/Genesis game Streets of Rage; it’s literally just group of enemies wielding knifes, crowbars and plays just like that old classic. In that sense I think the game would have felt better if it were designed as a Streets of Rage 3D as it’s captured the essence of that game perfectly. Oh well, something for the modders to do if they’re up to it I guess.

“One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-A-Week’ @ Black Vinculum”

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