Watchmen (the movie) is out. Seen it yet? Going to see it? If you find yourself nodding "yes", then you're just the kind of person Watchmen (the game) is targeted at.
But are you the type of person who is going to enjoy Watchmen (the game)? Well now, that depends. On a number of things, namely what happens when you get past the game's surprisingly attractive visuals.
Recycling - The levels in this game are one long, confusing parade of the same basic building blocks. The bad guys are, depending on the level, one long parade of the same 2-3 character models. Same goes for the "puzzles". Basically, each of the game's six levels consists of the same room and the same bad guys recycled 15-20 times in a row. Which ruins the good work done by implementing a solid, combo-based fight mechanic, as the simple joy of combat soon gives way to crushing boredom.
Lowest Bidder - Imitating the comics with poorly-animated 2D cutscenes looks, and sounds, cheap and nasty. While Rorshach and Nite Owl are voiced by their motion picture actors, the jobs are some of the worst in recent memory, maybe even worse than Robert Downey Jnr's in Iron Man. The game smacks of cut costs and a deadline only barely met, and it shows most in the presentation.
No Bang For Buck - So what, it's only $20, right? Wrong. Even with each level strung out to pad proceedings, the game is short. And very easy. Oh, and you can only choose from two players, who in everything bar special attacks are almost identical, Worst of all, though, multiplayer is relegated to offline split-screen only. No online play. At all. Even though you need to be online to buy the game in the first place.
Warner Bros - the publishers backing this game - may have thought that pushing a $20 price tag on the game and releasing it as a downloadable title would help us overlook the game's many, fundamental flaws. It doesn't, as the one area you'd expect such a title to skimp on - the graphics - is about the only thing they got right. Even $20 is too steep for a game that's so depressingly repetitive, and which does so little to distinguish itself as either a Watchmen product or even as a run-of-the-mill brawler.
Watchmen: The End Is Nigh was developed by Deadline Games, and published by Warner Bros. Interactive. Released March 4 on Xbox Live Arcade, March 5 on the PlayStation Network. Retails for US$20. Played single-player to completion on Xbox 360, tested co-op mode.
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UPDATE - Apologies for the error regarding the voice acting.