Bionic Commando Multiplayer Preview: Can't Get The Swing Of Things

Bionic Commando was an amazing and amazingly frustrating classic in the 80s. It offered little pity to those unwilling to master its controls, but it rewarded those who took the time to figure them out.

This modern remake, made 3D, certainly nails the frustration, but does it reward as well. Not so much in multiplayer.

What Is It? A third-person action remake of the classic 80s side-scroller. recently reworked to tweak the look of the game.

What We saw LAN multiplayer deathmatches, an hour's worth.

How Far Along Is It? Near completion.

What Needs Improvement? Craw, Not Craw: The only thing that distinguishes Bionic Commando from a myriad of other third-person shooters is the giant metal claw that Nathan "RAD" Spencer sports in place of a fleshy arm. But the only Claw attack open for use in the multiplayer sessions we played was the zip kick. To do this you grab your opponent with the claw and then double jump. Not always an easy task. Unfortunately, it does almost no damage. When I asked a Capcom rep about this they agreed and suggested it should be used as more of a finishing move. So why bother including it?

Cover, What Cover?: Bionic Commandos, apparently, have no use of weakling cover systems and those that use them. Instead they stride into battle, or better still, swing into battle, Tarzan-like. Unfortunately, this really strips away a lot of the tactics and nuance found in other multiplayer shooters.

Aiming: It was hard to put my finger on it, or metal claw, but the aiming was a little too slippery for my liking. I struggled to get the sort of precise aim I'm used to being able to achieve in other shooters.

What Should Stay The Same? Swinging: The claw maybe pretty much useless as a weapon, but it's pretty nifty as a means of transportation. Swinging around ruins, scaling buildings, even zipping across terrain, is all pretty simple with the relatively intuitive controls. It also makes headshots a heck of a lot harder to land.

Big Maps: The maps we played on were huge, giant landscapes filled with towering buildings, train tracks, puddles of deadly water. Good thing too, the claw makes your character very fast, so anything small would have felt painfully limiting.

Final Thoughts Bionic Commando multiplayer is at best a diversion. There's really not a lot of substance there and even less to seperate it from the myriad of other shooters on the market or coming to market. The worse part is the missed opportunity of the claw as weapon. The only reason, only reason, I want to play this game is to kill people with a metal, telescoping arm topped with a claw. And that's been watered down to the point of near uselessness.


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