“Monstrous patience is required to forgive these giant flaws”
Godzilla Unleashed is the latest from a line of monster fighting games that have been primarily released for Nintendo based on the Japanese movies of the same name. If you’ve played any of the previous versions, then you’ll pretty much know what to expect with this game. However, if you are new to the franchise you’ll certainly enjoy this off beat fighting game.
At its core, it is a simple fighting game where you must pummel, blast, gouge or bite your opponents to death. Fights can be one on one, or up to four players at once. You fight in various cities with total destructible environments, except for the ground, which seems to withstand anything.
The storyline is the same as usual and follows all the conventions. It is barely even acknowledged due to the bad voice acting and horrible image transitions. There are a few variations in the storyline, but you’ll be skipping them before long just to get to the meat of the battle.
The graphical detail of the monsters is pretty good. It is certainly better than the last version, but due to the horrible camera controls, the previous Godzilla game (released on GameCube) actually ended up looking better. Apart from that, the monsters look very detailed and remain true to their movie versions.
The environments look rich with cars roaming the streets, waiting to be stepped on, tanks and helicopters flying around, there is always quite a bit happening. That is until you destroy most of the environment and the city looks very desolate.
Due to the vast amount of items being rendered, you will often notice the game slows down considerably. This can get annoying, but for the most part allows you to aim the building you’ve picked up with better accuracy, or lock on your beam weapons easier.
Pipeworks have committed the ultimate sin in controller designs for this game. They have associated two distinctly separate moves into similar controls. For example, to jump up in the air, you must move the nunchuk upwards fast. To grab something you must do it with both the nunchuk and the Wii remote. This results in your monster more often than not jumping up into the air and wasting precious seconds or getting attacked cheaply. It is very frustrating.
The worst aspect is the fact that they have locked in this default control scheme and not allowed you to reassign button movements or controls. This is just plain dumb and there is no way that this problem didn’t come up in Beta testing. Why they haven’t addressed it is beyond me.
There are no camera controls for you to use either. You must rely on the A.I to rotate and manoeuvre the camera for your fighting pleasure. This works well about 60% of the time. The rest of the time, you’ll have buildings or monsters in your line of sight, or the camera will pan out really far for no reason or the camera will not lock onto anything until you do a few circles and waste time. All of this could have been prevented with a simple camera re-centring button, which of course hasn’t been included.
Other than those two really awful problems, the game has some pretty good controls for attacking. You swing the Wii remote either up and down or left and right for different manoeuvres and your monster should do the corresponding action. I say, “should” here because it’s not always the result you want. Every monster has a beam weapon and you use this by tilting the Wii Remote. This can make it rather hard to use in the middle of combat with any degree of accuracy.
Sound / Music
Sound and music are pretty much standard for the game at hand. The monsters tend to roar in a monstrous fashion and the buildings make a nice “thwacking” sound when you throw them at an opponent. Satisfying? Very much so!
There is some chatter from NPC (like the government ordering tanks to open fire or aliens doing the same to their troops), but I did feel it was a little sparse and repetitive. Maybe including some more samples for greater variety and depth would have made sound and music stand out a little more.
And so we have come to the most critical component that makes any game memorable. Unfortunately, Godzilla Unleashed doesn’t really do anything different from the previous titles. It’s still the same game with the same core components done the same way. You still have to unlock monsters, artwork and levels. Nothing new or revolutionary has been added to this game so if you are familiar with the franchise, don’t expect much variety.
You have a huge selection of monsters, but some you’ll never even use because of how unbalanced they are against each other. A good example of this is Destoroyah, he will annihilate an opponents life cell in two hits (three at most) where as Jet Jaguar will do it in around 10. Destoroyah can reduce a building to rubble in seconds while it takes others ages to knock them down. It is understandable that some monsters would be more powerful than others, but having such a huge difference always ends up forcing the player to favour those monsters with ore raw damage output.
The life cell feature also didn’t really sit right. Instead of having one life bar, you now have a bunch of life cells that operate as multiple life bars. However, once depleted, there is no way to recover them. You can regenerate life within the cell, but once its gone, you move onto the next one. To prolong battles and especially in battles where you get hammered due to bad luck this feature will force you to either quit and restart the match or run around the playing field using guerilla tactics to try and stay alive. They really should have stuck with the one life gauge system that can be recovered completely because the limited cell system is just annoying.
So is this game really worth it? Unless you find it discounted, do not pay full price for it. The last game (Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee) did things pretty much the same with better controls and much better camera views which in the end gives a better graphical representation of the game. It was faster paced and you could get lost in the destruction and the battle easier than with this game.
The few problems of the last game (like the camera distance limits that stopped you from free roaming properly) haven’t been addressed and have been carried over to this version. It seems like Pipeworks have taken the exact same game engine and just given it a graphical update and a different storyline. It’s a pity as this game had so much potential to be more.
There is strategy that you’ll have to incorporate into the weaker monsters, so if you’re out for a more action filled game that’s just about destruction, checkout Rampage: Total Destruction (also by Pipeworks). The controls are much better and you won’t have as much problems with the camera.
Godzilla is a good game, but its all been done before and with better controls (I know I keep harping on about them, but it will really annoy the hell out of you). If you’re a fan, you’ll forgive its problems and enjoy the game for what it is. If you’re just looking for a fighting game on the Wii then perhaps go with Rampage or Super Smash Brothers Melee as they will be less frustrating for you.