Note: If you think this looks tl:dr jump to the bottom for my conclusion and final thoughts.
Once again Capcom have been foolish enough to intentionally invite the chaos that is the Destructoid UK crew into their pretty Hammersmith offices and lets us wreck havoc with one of their major upcoming releases. This time we were lucky enough to be able to grab Bionic Commando with our fleshy non-bio-mechanical limbs and get hands on with both the singleplayer and multiplayer aspects.
For those of you who may be unaware of Bionic Commando's heritage let me quickly fill you in; it all begun in 1987 as an arcade title which would be ported to the NES later the next year, it also received a Game Boy port in 1992 and in 1999 there was even a poorly received GBC sequel. Capcom then released their remake of the 1987 original as a 3D side scrolling XBL Arcade title with the tag line 'Re-Armed' clearly wanting to whet our appetite for more bionic freudian action.
Pheonix, Anus McPhanus, Poetic Justice, myself and four other gentlemen all arrived at the Capcom offices at 11am this morning ready to munch down on that action. After the usual amount of obscenities and racial slurs had been screamed out of Pheonix's mouth we started adjusting to BC's quite complex control system through a trial and error tutorial.
Holding the left trigger fires your bionic arm to grab onto anything it aims at, as long as what it is aiming at is meant to be grabbed and also that you're in range and also that you have a lock on. Pushing the left analogue stick forwards and backwards will gather momentum and when you have built up enough releasing the left trigger will release your hold and depending on when you let go will either send you soaring off in the right direction or hurtling straight down to your imminent doom.
Singleplayer combat has the potential to allow you to be very creative, for instance you could grab someone, reel yourself in and kick them in the chest with two feet or you could pick up a crate, swing it above your head and release it in your foes direction or you could even run up to one of the identi-kit baddies punch him up into the air, jump up next to him and while you're both in mid air hit him again to send him flying miles off screen.
Sadly though due to sloppy controls and a very loose camera it becomes difficult and even tiresome to even attempt to do something so spectacular. I can see it becoming little more than a run and gun with swinging sections, though they do try to severely limit your ammo to encourage inventive ways of defeating your enemies.
Multiplayer then may be the shining light for Bionic Commando, during our play test we played all-out deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag (which I was shocked that half the Dtoiders present didn't know how CTF worked!) and I found it the most enjoyable all out-action multiplayer in some time. Maybe its my distaste for how all multiplayer games seem to be turning into something so serious now but BC's multiplayer was just hectic, over the top fun.
It's up to eight players and with only a few different weapons per map and each with limited use it lead into some very close and honestly exciting matches. Victories were clawed back from defeat, deaths were avenged and swear words were yelled but in the end only one side remained standing and that of course could only be team Destructoid.
Not pictured: Anus consuming free pizza
In conclusion I don't see Bionic Commando getting many favourable reviews, such a large chunk of the game is so distinctly average it's hard to recommend as a purchase, it does have its moments, when you get into the rhythm of swinging from pylon to lamp-post to rooftop and you're gunning down the enemy as you go, it's a great feeling and the control system will seem fluid and finely tuned. It's a shame then that these moment come and go and that more often than not you'll miss your target, not be within grabbing distance and you'll lose momentum the result being a limp Bionic Commando hanging from the rooftop.
I hate to slate Capcom's game after they were so gracious to ask us back again but I'm nothing if not honest and no amount of free pizza and sugary drinks will change that. The highlight of today anyway was to be able to meet up with other Dtoiders Phoenix, Anus and Justice (And our resident stalker Jack) again and go for Sushi and discuss civilised matters in a civilised way. Totally without embarrassing or drawing attention to