Megamind: Ultimate Showdown is a game that has featured a few times on this website and now it gets its final write up.
The game starts off with what seems like a nice and simple tutorial level, holding the player’s hand through the early stages. Unfortunately the early stages turn out to be the entire game as it fails to up the difficulty or challenge throughout. I won’t dwell on this too much though as its been covered in previous articles.
The core gameplay is pretty much, shoot a bunch of guys, do a simplistic puzzle and then repeat with the occasional bit of jumping around and some boss fights thrown in for good measure. Not particularly exciting stuff, but there’s a few different environments and visually it looks nice enough.
Puzzles are to be honest, very straight forward and dull. They usually involve locating the object with the big flashing highlight and dropping it at a location. There are reasons and justifications, but when you see big flashing instructions, that doesn’t really affect you all that much. It can be a little fiddly to get positioning right and strangely whilst most involve using the action button (B) with a nice clear instruction, some involve holding jump (A) with no key press indicated. Took me a few moments to figure out that I wasn’t meant to be using the usual button!
The combat is very easy and simplistic. With the aid of a gun that automatically locks onto targets gunfights pretty much involve running around and shooting wildly. The button to shoot also becomes melee when close enough, which is unfortunate as it is weaker and if the enemy is stood in fire then you’ll lock on and find yourself getting burned. Why enemies are able to stand in fire or not get affected by friendly fire is beyond me. Probably just something that they couldn’t be bothered fixing.
Enemies typically come in two or three varieties per level. There’s crap melee guys, crap ranged weapon guys and crap guys with more powerful weapons. Only having a couple of skins for enemies per level is quite pathetic to be honest and only reiterates that player is doing the same thing over and over. The only edge the enemy can get on you comes from the awful camera that will quite often hide when enemies are attacking. The view is rather limited and doesn’t rotate as you do.
This can also have a massive bearing on the platform style sections where you have a series of jumps. Slow and clunky controls combined with not being able to see what the hell is going on often results in death. For example you may have to make 4 jumps across boxes that sink if you stand on them for too long, which sounds quite fun. However you can’t always tell the timing and direction of the next jump by the time that your current box has sunk, forcing you to jump blind. There’s also a distinct possibility that due to the shoddy camera position, you’ve no idea if you are facing the right direction and just miss entirely. Alternatively the game will just be so slow to respond that you’ll still be standing, then dying, a second after pressing the button. Lets not forget that the jump distance usually doesn’t match the actual distance that you need to jump. If a jump is 1m and double jump is 2m, you’ll probably be expected to land about 1.5m away.
I know that I’ve criticised the lack of difficulty and challenges in the game, but this is different. These are simply flaws in the game and you can’t call learning to deal with them a difficulty curve.
The boss fights, unfortunately, are just as poor as the rest of the game and if anything demonstrate just how weak the title is. Boss fights are wave based where you get a wave of enemies spawned to kill off, which is usually very easy, when the enemy attacks and you block them, then you attack via some puzzle related activity. Whoopdedoo! The boss fights could have been really exciting, dueling it out and using the various powers or gadgets available but instead they are these bland grinds to win. The only unique one is against Blue Tighten, which from the outset looked kinda cool but in truth was confusing and dull. It involved using a suit with a gun to blast your foes when he is holding a pillar but before he throw it. Its been a while since the film but I didn’t realise that Tighten is invincible unless holding something and motionless! Thankfully about 3/4 through the fight the game gave me a clue. It was a pleasant surprise that the puzzle wasn’t spelled out to me but having the set pattern and only one way to damage them, despite being able to land hits whenever I pleased, didn’t make a lick of sense to me!
There’s a few other things in Megamind worthy of note and could have earned the game a little bit of respect. Could have… Collecting the various orbs that are available around the level and from killing enemies provides you with various upgrades in a nice little hub area. There’s also some mini-games, although to be honest the ones I’ve played are very forgetable and there’s co-op play. Well kinda. Its more a 1.5 player co-op than two player!
So there you have it. A game based on a decent Dreamworks animated film is pretty rubbish. Who’d have thought it eh?
Source: Xbox 360