I had been anticipating this release for quite some time. I saw a gameplay trailer for it almost two years ago and had been waiting anxiously for it ever since. I'm not disappointed, but some gamers might be.
There's a lot of ground to cover, so I'll try to be succinct.
Unfortunately, if you're not into this game for the nostalgia factor then you're probably going to grow tired of it somewhat quickly after you complete the story mode once or twice. The multiplayer may grab your fancy and keep you coming back, but if you're a CoD or GoW or Halo (later referred to as "The Big 3" in this same review) online player than likely you will find yourself putting your "drug of choice" back in when you need an MP fix.
If you played the original Bionic Commando for the Nintendo Entertainment System this game will have lots of retro flare for you (the Title screen music is the original title music from the NES game redone on piano) and many references to the 1988 game. For those of you who never played it, you're still in for a fun 3rd Person action/adventure/shooter.
I myself am the type to flip through the game manual for a few minutes before I take the game itself for a spin. And at first glance I have to admit I thought the controls would be rather complicated, but I was wrong. Most actions in the game are simple and can be completed with one or two button presses. Use of the Grappling arm (that pretty much IS Bionic Commando) is extremely simple, and fun as well. Some swinging tricks take a little getting used to, but anyone who's played a Spider Man game on 360 will likely have no trouble at all adapting. But fear not if you haven't, it still really simple to get the hang of.
The game looks impressive. The colors are vivid, the shading is nice, and water and shadow effects are pulled off nicely. Sometimes it looks a bit fuzzy, but I blame that on my TV. The levels/areas themselves, unfortunately, feel somewhat restrictive, and life-threatening radiation often prevents you from swinging to an enticing perch.
When it comes to achievements, Bionic Commando is probably a pretty easy completion (1000/1000 GS) for most avid gamers. The achievements are based around the game's Challenges, which require you to perform certain actions throughout the game and reward you with weapon and armor upgrades. Most challenges are relatively simple, but progress in difficulty throughout the game.
The weapons in the game are diverse and fun to use. Enemies die with satisfying replicated agony, and Spencer (your character) makes many little wise-cracks and quips throughout the game. Sure, it's nothing original in that respect but always amusing when done well. I think it was done well in this case.
Unfortunately, the game doesn't really offer much in the way of replay value. There are 3 difficulty levels, and many collectibles stashed throughout the games areas. There are achievements in the game centered around finding all of the collectibles and completing all of the challenges, but you must find/complete them all in one play-through to unlock the completion achievement. That is really the only replay value I see in the game for those just looking for something new to play.
The multiplayer is nothing new or innovative when it comes to game-type selection. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag are available. But, if you're looking for something a little different than the aforementioned "Big 3" than this might grab your attention for a while. The grappling hook can make battles very interesting.
So, if you really liked the original 1988 NES release of Bionic Commando, you're going to like this game as a matter of principle alone when it comes to content and story. The gameplay mechanics and vivid scenery will keep you playing. There's even and old friend or two who pop up to say Hi.
If you never even knew there was a 1988 NES Bionic Commando until you read this review, you still may enjoy this game if you like 3rd person action/adventure/shooter games with a few unique mechanics and quippy dialog.