The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The downloadable Bionic Commando Rearmed was seen as the good cop to its
disc-based counterpart’s bad cop. The former fully embraced the
original NES game’s unique charms and blended it with sleek presentation
and remixes of classic tunes. Rearmed did well enough to garner a
sequel, while the dreadlocked Spencer from the console version isn’t
doing anything outside of appearing in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.With
Rearmed 2, developer Fatshark (made up of ex-Grin staffers) was free to
go off the rails of the remake train and make whatever it wanted. The
best new feature is easily the jump. Swinging through levels now feels
much more natural, since jumping allows you to create momentum even if
there’s nothing overhead. Purists can beat all the levels without
jumping for an achievement, but I’d recommend waiting until you beat the
game to unlock the retro difficulty that disables the jump
button.Some fans may miss the hacking sequences or the
overhead shooter sections, but I found the sniper and helicopter
diversions to be adequate substitutes. These maintain the 2.5D viewing
angle and place a massive crosshair on the screen, allowing players to
rain down hot fury on unsuspecting soldiers and robots without fear of
counterattack. I do miss eavesdropping on doltish enemy soldier
conversations as they speak candidly about the upcoming boss’ critical
weaknesses. Now the dialog between Spencer and enemies falls flat, and
the Teen rating foretells the disappointing lack of head explosion at
the end.Spencer has plenty of weapons at his disposal this time
around like a shotgun, bazooka, and a magnetic gun. Most of these only
have three to seven rounds of ammo, and I killed myself with the napalm
gun more than any enemy. Thankfully, the default pistol more than
handles any foe; most of the time I’d only use alt weapons like the
electric gun for puzzles, then switch right back to the pistol. Spencer
can also equip an active and passive ability to suit the situation at
hand. Passive abilities include things like health or ammo regen, extra
speed, or an item magnet that pulls pickups toward you. The active
roster features items like grenades, a melee claw attack, and an electro
claw. Some abilities are just plain useless, and going to the menu to
change them is a hassle. Weapons have a nice quick swap, but abilities
require you to dig through menus instead of using something like an
instant radial menu.I mostly used health regen paired with the
grenade because they’re the logical offensive and defensive choice.
Later I enjoyed using the attack drones, but then another destructible
wall would show up and I’d switch back to grenade. The problem is that
some abilities are just plain useless, and going to the menu to change
them is a hassle. Weapons have a nice quick swap, but abilities require
you to dig through menus instead of using something like an instant
radial menu.Even though the levels look different with a variety
of backdrops, the underlying skeletons all feel very similar. Outside
of a few gimmicky stages like the helicopter rides or an escape from
rising water, the levels feel like repetitive journeys from point A to
point B filled with the same five easily conquered enemy types. Most
stages end with an anti-climactic crossing of an invisible finish line
or walking through a nondescript door. I will give credit to the clever
stage before the last battle, and replaying levels to search for secret
items and complete puzzles is fun.Bosses don’t require as much
creative use of Spencer’s tools to defeat, but they’re a decent enough
challenge. I was disappointed that two of them are repeated with very
minor changes, and the last boss is easier to beat than a couple of the
earlier ones.Overall, I didn’t like this as much as the first
game, but there’s still plenty worth checking out when you get around to
it. Rearmed 2 isn’t a “must-play instantly” game by any means, but it
still ranks above Spencer’s awful console reboot.
Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.