Quantcast
Review: The War of the Worlds - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist



The War of the Worlds  



Review: The War of the Worlds


5:00 PM on 11.01.2011
Review: The War of the Worlds photo



In 1898, H.G. Wells published a tale of invaders from another world, descending upon Earth's cities with a terrible force. The War of the Worlds has been adapted into every form of media since that time, including a couple of videogames. The latest attempt to tell the story has arrived on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, bringing tripods and heat rays with it.

The War of the Worlds [PS3, Xbox 360 (reviewed)]
Developer: Other Ocean
Publisher: Paramount Digital Entertainment
Released: October 25, 2011
MSRP: $9.99 (800 MS Points) 

The War of the Worlds tells a similar story to the one found in H.G. Wells' classic novel, though with different characters and set in the mid-twentieth century. Our narrator, Arthur Clark, must make his way across the burning city of London as a martian invasion fleet is attacking. Throughout the game, the plot advances with past-tense narration from Arthur, expertly voiced by Patrick Stewart (who lends considerable weight and dignity to a decent script), and radio broadcasts discovered in stages.

Presented as a 2D side-scrolling game, Arthur runs, jumps and clambors across debris, over and through buildings and even one of the martian towers. The faded, largely black and white visual design is effective at being a bit on the creepy side. Shadowy tripods, barely visible through fog, march in the backgrounds and look really cool. Some foreground elements don't really hold up their end of the bargain, though. Arthur's movements, for example, are serviceable but seem unnatural and most of the already alien invaders look really out of place against the environments. It does help in the sense that your eye is drawn towards active elements in the game but that's merely a silver lining.

Arthur is a common man and not the sort of super-powered figure we're often accustomed to playing in games. He can run, jump, crouch and roll but that's about it for his repertoire until acquiring an axe mid-game (and even then, he's no warrior). He's frail to the point where falling more than twice his height could mean death and is no match whatsoever for the advanced weapons of the martians. About half the game is spent hiding from spotlights or running from them when stealth isn't an option and the timing on these sequences is nice and tight.

Maybe it's a bit too tight at times. There are a few parts where the timing can be so exact that death can happen dozens of times before you get it right, the margin for error so low that it's hard to believe you haven't made it. The War of the Worlds provides checkpoints within levels where you'll return when Arthur bites it and they're very frequent but it can be frustrating for those without patience for this kind of action/platform game.

When you aren't running or hiding under a piece of rubble in the hopes that a flying saucer will pass you by, there are some light puzzle sections featuring the deadly black smoke choking the city. It seeps into buildings and you must be quick to use switches that open and close doors and vents to escape. Occasionally, you'll have to explore a bit to find your way through a structure, usually riddled with some sort of nastiness or another. Bloodsucking ivy and spiders hide in these places, the only two enemies in the game that give you reasonable opportunity to defeat, and provide challenging obstacles.

There's another, altogether weirder puzzle in this game which is rather interesting because it actually does force you to think outside of "switch A opens door B." I don't want to spoil anything about this particular moment, as I find it to be the highlight of the game and much of its charm lies in the discovery.  The reason the puzzle is interesting is that it's wholly different from anything else in the game and all the pieces are there for you to discover. You can figure out what needs to be done based on several clues but it won't hold your hand and just point out the way.

That one puzzle is very refreshing. The rest are pretty basic, with environmental hazards likely to be a greater impediment to success than figuring out what the correct course of action is. The martians are doggedly persistent in their objective to exterminate all human life. Tentacles with sweeping laser beams will pop through walls to clean out rooms where they think you might be hiding. Being seen by a spotlight from a saucer means you have little time to move, though it is possible to escape them. Some of the best thrills from this game come from areas where you're being pursued. 

It's decidedly from the old school and some of the stickier problems of classic platformers it pays homage to (such as Out of this World or Flashback) are present here. Arthur moves stiffly until you can get him going and has a hitbox that does not always seem clearly defined. The War of the Worlds is thankfully forgiving when it comes to grabbing ledges, which is a step in the right direction.

The War of the Worlds winds up being a competent action/platform game in the end, and a fun one for fans of the genre. The debatably antiquated gameplay style and mechanics might be a turn-off for some, but those who enjoy those trappings should be satisfied.



THE VERDICT - The War of the Worlds

Reviewed by Conrad Zimmerman

7.5 /10
Good: A solid game that definitely has an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun. Check out more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
The War of the Worlds



4:00 AM on 10.28.2011
War of the Worlds avatar gear invades XBLA

You had to know it was only a matter of time. They've been out there, watching us for years just waiting for the chance to force themselves on to your XBLA avatars. They've plotted their hostile attiring and have chosen ...more



2:30 PM on 10.13.2011
More War of the Worlds footage to gawk at lovingly

Here we have the latest trailer for War of the Worlds. Once again, it's narrated by Patrick Stewart, so I know you'll watch it. He ruminates on how tiny we must look to Martians. It's all very excellent. I want to play this....more



4:45 PM on 09.01.2011
The War of the Worlds gets new screens and a trailer

I am really quite excited for The War of the Worlds, having played it at PAX. The moody, death-riddled platforming as seen in classics like Heart of Darkness and the more recent Limbo really resonates with me, and I think this could be a real winner.  We've got a selection of screens and a new trailer for you to take a peek at, so go do that. Hopefully some of you care as much as I do. more



9:53 AM on 08.27.2011
The War of the Worlds is pure class

Few stories have remained as lasting and as haunting as H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Its tale of a Victorian-era London, beset by pitiless, immeasurably superior Martian harvesters, is still as chilling today as it was ...more



3:00 PM on 08.24.2011
Why I'm buying The War of the Worlds

Here's a brand new developer diary for The War of the Worlds, being developed by Other Ocean and coming soon to PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. It looks decent. Graphics and animations aren't anything to write...more



8:00 AM on 06.19.2011
Interview: Keep an eye on The War of the Worlds

Other Ocean is taking their own approach to The War of the Worlds, turning it into a rotoscoped 16-bit style platformer in the tradition of Flashback and Out of this World/Another World rather than making another typical lic...more



10:30 PM on 06.13.2011
Sir Patrick Stewart to narrate The War of the Worlds

In our first look at Other Ocean Interactive's PlayStation Network- and Xbox Live Arcade-bound The War of the Worlds, Max teased that we'd be in for a treat when it came to the game's narrator. He wasn't lying! It's none othe...more




PS3

4:00 PM on 04.22.2014
Review: Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

So far, the Batman Arkham Origins Season Pass has been a steaming pile of poop. Buyers have received some extremely underwhelming skin packs, and a piss-poor series of challenge maps for their cash, with the promise...more



1:00 PM on 04.22.2014
Batman: Arkham Origins Cold, Cold Heart DLC launched

The next bit of additional content for Batman: Arkham Origins has released today and I'm personally hoping that they deliver when it comes to Victor Fries. I find him to be criminally under-appreciated as a villain for ...more



12:30 PM on 04.22.2014
New One Piece, Naruto games have original characters from series creators

The upcoming Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution and One Piece Unlimited World Red both feature a bit of fan service. For Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, series creator Masashi Kishimoto drew an original charac...more



View all PS3






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more