Many things have already been said about this new Simpsons game title, not least Mayurâs great 360 review as well as my preview published earlier in the year, here on NZGamer. Rather than regurgitating what you may have already read (and if you have not already read the above review and preview, I encourage you to do so), Iâd like to emphasise a few key points and go over the aspects of the game that left the greatest impression on me.
The Simpsons Game is like a loud nerdy guy in the pub. You know the one I mean: the guy with the great sense of humour, who despite his bottle glasses still seems to get all the girls even though others have more muscles and a nicer car. I guess what Iâm saying is that the game part of this game really isnât all that good, but its âSimpsons personalityâ really pulls a lot of the game off, and many (if not most) people will excuse some of its cardinal sins for this reason.
When I say âcardinal sinsâ I really do mean it. Things like a shocking set of controls, which are completely counterintuitive, and which are limited by large structures you may be standing next to. This means if Homer is standing on a ledge, with water below, and youâd like to leap from the ledge to a small surface, you can never really orient the camera to show both Homerâs position and his destination at the same time. The result? Dead Homer - again and again. Of course, every platformer will have tricky bits; if only this one would let you have a good go at those tricky bits every once in a while, it wouldnât be so frustrating.
In addition to the tricky camera angles, the controls, which are quite straightforward, donât seem as responsive as they could be, especially when youâre fighting. Still, I must say, it will take a long time before I could grow tired of Homer beating up chocolate bunniesâŠthereâs that personality factor again!
My other beef is that while the game is touted as promoting âco-op playâ, in many cases this doesnât pan out as satisfyingly as you would expect. Hint: if youâre going to make use of the co-op aspect of the game, DONâT play as Homer. His main âskillâ seems to use his weight by standing on things to move them, letting the fleet-footed Bart leap and soar around the game. Bart gets all the action, while the dupe playing Homer inevitably has to go make the tea.
The game is also short â clocking in at around eight hours of platform game. And while you can continue exploring Springfield once the main actionâs finished, thereâs not a lot of point to it, unless youâre the obsessive type who must collect every single bit of everything in every game you play. (Iâm not that type.) Optimistic folk may say âwho cares if itâs only eight hours? As long as those eight hours are really good, why does it matter?â This may be true, but itâs also true that there are an awful lot of games out there that manage to combine great gameplay with a good monthâs worth of gaming â rather than a weekend.
Of course there are fantastic aspects of the game, the best being that particular flavour of Simpsons humour that seems to infect anything it touches. Homer telling the chocolate bunnies âmaybe youâd do better in a turn-based RPGâ as he fought them had me cracking up for hours. And comic-book guyâs sarcastic take on video game clichĂ©s will bring a gleam to any Generation Xerâs eye. The music and voice acting are incredible, and they do a lot to add depth to the PS2âs graphics capabilities, which are really starting to show their age now.
Iâm pretty sure that people who love the Simpsons will be keen to try this game out â regardless of any review results. Deep down, Iâm glad â I love the Simpsons as much as anybody. I think fans will have a lot of fun with this one, as long as they take this for what it is: a platformer released on an aging console, with a helluva lot of personality and charm â a little like Homer himself.