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First Impressions: Bionic Commando (2009)

In First Impressions on April 30, 2009 at 5:27 am

Bionic Commando Box ArtThe “Bionic Commando” remake was unleashed upon us today in the form of a multiplayer demo on XBox live.  So, how does it add up?

The first thing you should know is that you aren’t playing as the titular commando at all.  Instead, you’re a randomly colored Mega Man/Tron hybrid by way of Bomberman Act Zero with a bionic arm and a pistol, as well as two punches and, believe it or not, a jump button.

When the game kicks up, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re playing with people who have already mastered the mechanics of the game.  If you think that’s unfair, well tough shit, welcome to the world of online gaming.  The second thing you’ll notice is that while moving around and shooting is your standard fare, swinging around with your bionic arm is noticeably less standard.  One would think it would be comparable to swinging around in, oh I don’t know, a Spider-Man title, but its like trying to climb a rope with a dozen weights tied around you.  Its a fairly fickle system, and takes some getting used to, and even then you find yourself overshooting your goal one second and dangling off the edge of a building like a hopeless shooting gallery duck the next.

Bionic Commando Multiplayer Demo

Click For Full Size

There’s a host of power ups available on the level, such as armor, health, and additional weapons such as a sniper rifle, assault rifle, and a grenade launcher.  And they do help, but really the most effective strategy here is to pop the opponent with your standard pistol and then run up and punch them in the face, since this seems to take care of most anyone.

The matches only last for 5 minutes, so you don’t have a lot of time to really get a good feel in one match, but there’s also the issue of getting to the match.  I’ve never had a terrible time finding matches on XBox Live (I’ve taken Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead online, and both loaded up and found matches fairly fast), but Bionic Commando seems to just chug and grind away while trying to find a match.  If no one’s found, you’re greeted with “Waiting for 3 Other Players”, and then suddenly there’s 7 people in your game.  You have no options to choose during the demo, which is to be expected.

In short, CAPCOM delivers a decent multiplayer experience.  The swinging gets easier as you play, but there’s just not a lot to tell from this.  The demo is strictly multiplayer, so there’s no implication as to how the story will run or how gameplay in the single player campaign will work.  The demo is available now and I highly recommend checking it out before you buy this game.

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