Superman should by all rights put his heat vision to work on the developers who made the last few games based on him. EAâ€™s shot at a Superman title, Superman Returns, attempts to redeem his name in gaming with a top-notch super hero title. Unfortunately, it falls short in a few regards, but is by no means the worst.
Since Superman 64 showed us the joys of kryptonite fog, weâ€™ve had the PS2/GC â€˜super-flopâ€™ Shadow of Apokolips, developed by Infogrames (Atari). Maybe Bungie should give Superman a shot and make a FPS using the Halo 3 engine.
Loosely based on Warner Brotherâ€™s Superman Returns, this game recreates Superman with all the visual flare you would expect from an EA title. They have recreated Metropolis very well with only the occasional bit of slowdown as Superman flies around the city. He can even blow up cars with his heat vision for fun, but Superman would never do that.
Unfortunately, should you chose to be evil, your popularity decreases and you have to save people to build it back up. Of course, evil forces are always trying to harm the citizens of Metropolis for no apparent reason, so finding someone in danger is never a problem.
The variety of danger is lacking, and gameplay gets repetitive quickly. Youâ€™re either putting out fires, shooting down robots with your heat vision, or picking injured people up and taking them to the ambulance to save them.
Camera problems rear their ugly head a lot. Turning around can cause you to lose sight of a target until youâ€™ve turned the camera back, and thereâ€™s no quick centering button. The most notable camera problems come when you use your powers, such as Super Speed - you run past a villain, then have to turn the camera around just to lock on again.
Speaking of powers, as Superman you can do pretty much anything, but some of the powers do pose new and unique problems. Super Speed for example prevents sharp turns, so if you need to get somewhere quickly, you may run into a few buildings â€“ literally. Yes, you can run fast, but you canâ€™t turn fast. Figure that one out!
However, some of the powers work well, and the in-flight controls feel just right, set up the same as FPS controls. Taking off is easy - you can do a quick jump into the air and float, or hold down Y and launch yourself high enough to get a good view of the city. Flying is the best way to find enemies to fight and people to save. When youâ€™re flying around looking for people to save, Super Hearing is represented by indicators shown on the map, pointing to where the sound of trouble is coming from.
Superman Returns is the best Superman game in recent years. However, that isnâ€™t saying much, and itâ€™s still a mediocre game at best. Youâ€™ll get a kick out of flying around Metropolis for a while, but it wears thin and there isnâ€™t much to do apart from putting out fires, saving people, killing bad guys, or throwing cars into the ocean.