Published on July 18th, 2013 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor1
Pacific Rim: The Video Game Review
Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed]
Release Date: July 12, 2013
When I first saw the commercial for the movie Pacific Rim, I thought about how bad ass it looked. It was basically a bunch of childhood fantasies for those who are in their mid-20s to early-30s, who grew up playing with toys wishing that they were bigger so they can battle in real life. I have yet to see the movie as I hate going to the movie theater, but luckily the officially licensed game managed to pop up on Xbox LIVE (a game based on a movie? Shocking!).
So how does Pacific Rim: The Video Game fare? As to be expected with a movie to game tie-in, it leaves a lot to be desired.
The game starts up with a lot of reading featuring the most confusing story in the entire world. Seriously, I have no clue what is going on and I don’t see why it really matters considering this is a fighting game. What you need to know is that you are battling giant robots called Jaegers against giant monsters called Kaiju.
Jaegers are controlled by two pilots, so there are two life bars, one for each. It really only effects you in the sense that you can not use more powerful charge up attacks when one pilot is dead (basically you lose a lot of life). The single player tries to mix in some sort of story, but it’s hard to get emotionally invested in what is an overcomplicated plot for such a basic game.
In single player you battle as one of three Jaegers or two Kaiju. Everything else is only available through DLC, so you aren’t getting much in the way of content without spending money. And considering the game play, I don’t really think it’s worth spending the extra cash. You can customize your Jaeger with different abilities which is nice, but in order to customize its appearance you have to buy a DLC pack that allows it. Really? That’s probably the most petty DLC I have ever seen. It’s a freaking color change, not an epic side quest.
The gameplay of Pacific Rim is super-basic. Two standard moves, a charge move, a block, a strafe and a super charge move. Exciting! Accompany that with the fact that everything moves slow and the game seems to take its time between button presses and on-screen action, it doesn’t really allow you to connect with the huge robot or monster that you are controlling.
The game does require some tactical thinking which I did enjoy, as you can’t really just mash buttons to defeat your opponent. Blocking and timing is important, but since the game is sluggish it doesn’t feel as crisp as it should. Another strange thing is while there are arena specific attacks, why not just emulate War of the Monsters and have a free-roaming area to do battle in? Throw a building, a bus, whatever comes your way, now that would have been really fun. Alas, missed opportunity.
The graphics are adequate, but not a lot of thought went into them. The Jaeger and Kaiju look pretty nice and detailed, but the same cannot be said for the backgrounds. Everything just feels lifeless and rushed. The game is also very dark, and not in a morbid sense, it just needs more brightness. Adjusting the setting on your TV seems silly when it should be easier to see anything.
There is no voice acting from the movie, no movie clips and the sound is very stock. It just feels so rushed, and while it’s important to release the game in a timely manner, why not give it a home release? Think about it, buy the DVD or Blu-Ray copy of Pacific Rim, get a free game download. It’d sell like hot cakes, especially if the game was more polished.
Pacific Rim: The Video Game isn’t the worst game I’ve ever played, but I just feel let down. For moments I did enjoy battling the monsters, and the online is set up in a neat way. You choose from one of three factions, and you are then apart of that faction. Your faction has a ranking, so you just battle members of the other two factions trying to make yours stronger. It’s a neat twist and if the game was better, it would actually be worth investing some time in.
But as it stands, Pacific Rim is just another rushed movie tie-in. If some more time would have been put into the game, and maybe adapting the War of the Monsters environment mechanics, this could easily be a cult classic game. Instead we are just left with a game that has too many missed opportunities to make it memorable. The endless hawking of the DLC is another black eye for the game. It gets some punches in, but in the end, it just gets knocked out.
Summary: A rushed experienced and lackluster gameplay keep Pacific Rim: The Video Game backed in the corner.