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Bionic Commando

version: pal (it) - year: 2008 - developer: grin - publisher: capcom - format: ps3, blu-ray disk - condition: mint - rarity: common

A powerful, beautiful and tough game

 

The first firefights aren't very hard, just make sure you carry heavy weaponry along

 

...as the challenge initially comes from learning the various uses of your bionic arm

 

Assassin's Creed anyone?

 

The cityscape is detailed and beautiful. Lethal radiations act as "invisible walls", deterring you from exploring the levels though.

 

The graphics in Bionic Commando are often inspired

 

The forest levels are gorgeous...

 

...and provide a nice break from the urban setting

 

the vegetation is reclaiming its reign over men's expansion.

 

Some enemies require grenades, rocket launchers and other heavy weaponry to be dealt with

 

This game will surprise you with the versatility of its control system, if you can get passed the initial disorientation you'll experience.

 

Review - I admit I never had a chance to play the original 1987 coin-op and I also missed out on the various ports that were released on the most popular personal computers of the time. I didn’t even play the Nes /Famicom semi-sequel and I entirely missed the 2008 download-only remake Bionic Commando Rearmed. Have I been living on an asteroid?! Maybe...

Hell, I became aware of Bionic Commando only when I saw a PS3 copy of the game gathering dust in a tobacco store along a few other games that belonged to the owner of that store! It was discounted so heavily that I simply decided to pick it up and make the man happy.

Published by Capcom and developed by Swedish developer Grin, Bionic Commando was a major commercial failure and was partly responsible to Grin’s bankruptcy in 2009. Given these facts, I wasn’t expecting a great game but to my surprise, things proved to be quiet different...

Bionic Commando on PS3 has a lot going for it. Not only graphically it looks very solid, but levels are inspired, character models are convincing, voice acting is decent and the music is quality stuff.

Where Bionic Commando could give room for criticism is probably in the gameplay department, simply because controls seem initially to be overly complicated, with each and every button of your PS3 controller doing something, plus a few combinations doing other important things as well. The end result is that controlling the protagonist requires some time getting used to and this could put off a few players who like their games to be accessible from the start. And while we are on this topic, the game saves automatically at certain checkpoints which are sometimes a bit far from one another. If you are used to games such as Uncharted, here you’ll be in for a major shock!

The difficulty is at time reminiscent of old school games, so expect to see the game over screen more often than you probably like.

Up to roughly a third of the game, I was moderately enjoying the experience although I found the bionic arm swinging mechanism to be hard to perform. I eventually got to a section where I was supposed to swing from one floating mine to the next, while traversing a stretch of water. Falling in the water resulted in an almost instant death, since apparently your bionic arm is so heavy that it drags you quickly down. I played this section for a few hours, and I kept on drowning over and over. After every death, I had to endure some repetitive loading time. I can assure you that it was just NOT FUN. Had I given up here, I would have probably given Bionic Commando an average score, because games are supposed to be fun, first and foremost.

Luckily I stick to the game long enough to pass that nightmarish section and as went through the rest of the game, I got used to the controls so well that I started performing unbelievable and spectacular things.

Bionic Commando grew on me so much that by the time I was finishing it, my opinion of the game radically changed.

Bionic Commando’s controls are both its curse and its blessing. Hard to learn but extremely satisfying and rich in possibilities once you master them.

Grin certainly deserves credit because it created a really enjoyable and challenging game, which got unjustly punished by the market and the press maybe because it brings back a difficulty level which is not from this age. But, it should be noted that only 3 people worked on the Marketing of the game, and that’s really not a big investment. Rebooting such an old franchise and expecting players to instantly recognize it without the need of a good marketing campaign hasn’t been a smart move.

Anyways, if you want to play something fresh and are not scared of investing a little time in learning Bionic Commando’s controls, then play this game, you will not regret it.

Bottom line: a truly memorable piece of gaming and a sad but beautiful swansong for a talented developer that deserved so much more. 8,5/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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