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REVIEW: Deadly Creatures (Spoiler Free)
One of the biggest criticisms of the Wii has been the lack of truly original content for the 'hardcore' audience. With a glut of mini-games released on a regular basis when a truly unique title does come out, fans take notice.
It was a big surprise when February brought us not only one hardcore title but three: Tenchu, House of the Dead, and Deadly Creatures, all three of which garnered a lot of hype before their debuts. None more so, however, than the latter game which promised beautiful graphics and amazing game play. So did it deliver?
The best I can say is "sorta." I'll admit to drinking the Koolaid when I first saw the videos and heard the guys at IGN talk up the game. It sounded like exactly what I was looking for from the Wii. It sounded like a true Triple A title for a system that has been severely lacking in quality content. And it IS a good game and does some things very well. Unfortunately it also has a ton of problems which prevent it from becoming an endearing title in my book.
The game follows the adventures of a tarantula and scorpion as they hunt and battle various creatures throughout the desert. The player alternates between the two every other chapter while the arachnids occasionally encounter the two humans who are providing the story for the game.
The controls are very tight. It feels natural crawling up walls and pouncing on enemies and each character has their own style: the tarantula is quick but not as powerful while the scorpion is a tank but very slow moving. Personally I enjoyed playing as the tarantula. I've always favored quick and agile over powerful and I found it much easier getting through the game when I wasn't playing as the scorpion.
Unfortunately the same can't be said about the motion controls. While some work fine others, which sometimes are required to pull off to continue, are extremely frustrating. I found certain combo moves almost impossible to pull off at times. Frankly I would have been happier if they were replaced with something easier for the sensor bar to read or taken out completely. The game thankfully has a sensitivity bar that can be adjusted but even at maximum it didn't seem to help at times.
Another serious issue is the sheer amount of glitches, which become more common as the game progresses. Enemies melding into the environment, your character getting stuck in a place it should never have been able to reach, or the game simply glitching to the point the player can't progress are all too common. Glitches are expected in games but the amount in this one is ridiculous. I know the joke has been made enough to the point it's no longer funny, but it does deserve pointing out that it's ironic a game about bugs has so many of them. After I finished the game I couldn't help but feel a little ripped off, having paid $50 for something that clearly did not feel finished.
The visuals were also a frustrating experience. Yes, the game has some beautiful character models and backgrounds. It was clear the designers put a lot of attention into certain parts. I loved the lighting of the game, which changed as your character moved to different areas. Despite this attention to detail, however, there are visual issues. The biggest one I noticed was the screen tearing, particularly with save points. Any time there would be a lot of things on the screen that moved there was rampant screen tearing. While not as noticeable on a 42" LCD screen I tried it on, it really popped out on my 50" plasma. Unfortunately for all the beauty in the game these glaring problems took me out of the atmosphere they were trying to establish.
The visuals weren't the only mixed bag in the game. The story left a lot to be desired. Because the main characters are arachnids it's difficult to shape a plot around that, so the creators of the game came up with a plot that occurred in the background as you moved throughout the environment. There's nothing wrong with this idea and it was neat hearing these two men getting louder as you came closer but this leads to a problem that can't be avoided: who do you care about? Typically the player is supposed to identify with the character they play as their story unfolds. You don't get that here because of the nature of the game. You certainly can't identify with the two humans because they show up sporadically and, frankly, aren't very likable. So really there isn't anything for the player to emotionally invest in. In the end there's no character the player can feel a strong connection to. Even with Billy Bob Thorton and Dennis Hopper providing voices it's hard to muster up an interest in what they're doing, especially when their plot is pretty thin.
Fortunately not everything is a mixed bag in the game. The music and sound effects are absolutely amazing. If it weren't for the visual miscues the combination of graphics, lighting, and sound alone would make the game worth playing.
For me the game isn't what it was hyped to be, but these things seldom are. It's certainly not a bad game but it has a lot of issues that should have been ironed out before releasing it. While I do feel games like this should be supported I don't think a developer should be rewarded for cutting corners or for shoddy work, either, so I can't recommend buying this at the full price. If anything give it a rent and see how you feel. Maybe wait until it goes on sale or buy a used copy on eBay. This game has a lot of fun moments but should not be $50 with all of the problems it has.
SCORE: 6 / 10
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