Published on November 4th, 2011 | by Gabriel
Review: The War of the Worlds
Summary: Gabriel takes a look at The War of the Worlds, is it any good? read the review to find out!
Quite some time ago (1898, to be exact), a man by the name of H.G. Wells wrote an epic tale about invaders descending upon or little planet and forcing us to fight for our lives. Unlike today, where aliens permeate every corner of digestible media, be it TV shows, movies, books etc, back then it wasn’t the norm, so it was quite an achievement to craft such a story as that. Recently, War of the Worlds has spawned a couple of adaptations, from musicals, radio shows, Steven Spielberg’s so-so interpretation, and the latest, The War of the Worlds, an XBLA title that puts you in the shoes of Arthur Clark as he makes his way through a destroyed London in hopes of finding his family. But does it live up to the original interpretation?
The War of the Worlds is a 2D side scroller, in which you take control of Arthur as he jumps, ducks and rolls his way out of hazardous situations created by the martian invaders. While all of this is happening, Patrick Stewart narrates what is going on. Patrick’s great performance helps create an interesting tale, which is also helped along by a very well written script.
The War of the Worlds is mostly a survival game. You’ll spend most of your time running away from alien invaders as they tear streets apart and disintegrate other humas in front of your eyes. Halfway through the game you gain an axe, which opens up a few scenarios where you are able to defend yourself, but for the most part, you’re either trying to survive or solve the light puzzles strewn across the story. The game is presented in a mostly black and white color palette, with a few colors here and there to showcase the martians and their weapons. This helps give the game an atmosphere of hopelessness, making it very obvious that humans are no match for the martians, and that all you can do is try to survive as long as you can. All of this is presented in a 2D perspective, in which you will run, climb, and roll under obstacles to try and stay a few steps ahead of the martian’s deadly machinery.
The best parts of the game are when you are trying to outrun the martian’s advanced weapons, but the game’s biggest fault also rears its head in these sections. You see, these sections require very precise and fast reactions from the player, sometimes too precise. Make the tiniest mistake, and you’re sent back to the last checkpoint because the aliens caught up with you. I was forced to replay a couple of sections of the game multiple times, up to the point of frustration. And that was when the checkpoints did their job. Sometimes I was sent back 30 seconds before I died, while other times I was forced to replay whole sections that were 4-5 minutes long. With sections that require such precision, you can imagine how frustrating it is to replay a section that you barely got through in the first place because of faulty checkpoints.
If you can look past the massive difficulty spikes and the faulty checkpoints system, The War of the Worlds can be a very fun, tense game, one which definitely nails the terrifying atmosphere of being forced to fight and run for your life. The good visuals and interesting story narrated with incredible skill make this a decent experience, which is hampered by the frustrations caused by the difficulty of a couple of sections in the game. If you can overcome these issues, it’s worth a look.