SDCC 09: GI Joe: Rise of Cobra Impressions

It goes without saying that movie games suck. They do. If you’ve ever purchased one, you know that nine out of ten times, you regret that purchase, and the ten remaining percent you can’t decide whether it was actually worthwhile, or not. While it’s bad enough the GI Joe movie looks like it could very well be crap nobody wants to see, the game has remained a bit more mysterious. Until now.

The GI Joe game is similar to the recently released Wolverine title; players pick a character from the GI Joe universe and fight off bad guys. It’s much more linear, so everything is literally pointing you where to go, like Advent Rising, except without the openness. It is, in fact, an extremely closed game, but playing it by yourself is the reason why it would feel ridiculous.

GI Joe is meant to be played cooperatively. Or, more specifically, competitively for points. Two players are supposed to, with different characters utilizing different strengths and weaknesses, gather as many points as possible by fighting off the enemy, finding secrets, and stealing kills. This is tremendous fun, especially when your adversary can hear your roar of victory.

In my play-test, I wielded a sword and a pathetic pistol, while my opponent had a giant gun. Because I learned everything mentioned earlier while playing, I ran around shooting everything, and slashing the occasional bad guy when they came near. Only then did I realize my opponent had double the points I did, because his bigger gun was just wrecking the playing field. No fair!

The rest of the game was I playing catch up, and I did. I slashed everyone and everything, shot last-second and guys who had no health and stole kills like a 10 year old playing Halo 2. At one point, the developer told us both to push the Y button, and suddenly both our guns got a massive boost for a cooperative strike. Giant tanks started rolling in and we were dodging equally giant rounds that would look unseemly in the tight clothes our characters wore.

After all this, GI Joe is fun. By yourself…I can only imagine how lonely one must be to play a cooperative game alone, not even competing against an AI. As someone who didn’t grow up with GI Joe because Transformers was better, I didn’t get all the references, which the developer pointed out each and every time, to which I insincerely nodded “oh yes, I remember that. Fond memories!” Like a rail shooter, it’s fun in a quick-action sort of way, and like Wolverine, you can sit back and relax while tearing the guts out of, well, just about anything. Plus it’s great for kids!