The Simpsons Game (XBOX360)

23 Nov

McElroy Flavelle (GD08)

I got to take a tour of EA the other day and when we left they let me buy The Simpsons Game on 360 for $20.

I brought it home, ignored my wife and jumped right into it.

26 hours later I was done. No, not not 26 hours strait. I slept for a while- but not much else got done. That in itself is a testament to the game as I only finish about four games a year. The other thing is that I had a friend over the second night and we played co-op mode which was both fun and made the game a lot easier. Considering I don’t play online games much the co-op multi-player experience is one that I enjoy revisiting as they’re few and far between.

BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD

The strange thing about this game is that it felt like two very distinct designers got their hands on it. One who who was a genius of story, narrative, humour and irony. The other was a level designer new to the world large third person action/adventure games.

In many senses this is the best game I’ve played. Having Matt Groening, Will Wright, Madden Foot Ball Players and Street Fighter’s Ryu show us is an incredible nod of the hat to the history of games. The final DDR battle with God was the best boss I’ve seen in a couple of years.

The “Collecting Cliches” mechanic is funny, intelligent and eye opening. With all the progress games have made in telling compelling horror stories and epic action saga’s it’s nice to people putting the same degree of effort into humour and intelligence. My favorite was the first time I jumped into an ocean and got a message along the lines of: “Cliche #12: Are you stupid? You can never swim in games until the sequel.”

But the level design is so strange. In game you always bring two characters into each level and then toggle between them to complete puzzles and progress through the game. This notion isn’t a new one but it’s fun and that’s what we’re here for right? Except it isn’t fun.

Let me rephrase that. Though each character has unique skills and it’s fun to roam Springfield as your favorite Simpsonite it was to hard to figure out where to go. The levels were gorgeous to look at(in a simple colour scheme Simpsons kind of way) but the layout constantly left me trying to figure out the correct path to travel. The chocolate land made me feel as gluttonous as Homer and it was the tutorial so it was so easy I couldn’t get frustrated. It was too bad that pattern didn’t carry forward.

Either way the game is well worth your time. And I finished it with only 59% and can seriously see myself going back for more collectibles and exploration- another rarity for me. Check it out if you get the chance.

A high value renter, medium value purchase in my mind. (I’m not selling mine to EB and they’d give me $2 more than what I paid.)

 

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