For the most part, I try to stay away from games based on movies and tv. Most of those games feel watered down and rushed out to the public to purchase while the product is still red hot. You can, (in most cases) give the developers a pass due to the strict time-frame that they must work with. A tight schedule is sure to result in a less polished product, that might have been better given more development time. And then there is Kick Ass 2. Based on the movie of the same name, Kick Ass 2 was released a full year after the movie was released. With all that time, this has to be one hell of a kick ass (pun fully intended) game. Let's just say I couldn't have been more wrong.
To start with Kick-Ass 2 is single player only. No co-op, no multiplayer of any kind, straight one-player only. Basing a game off this type of movie screams multiplayer. Hell, even the first Kick-Ass got a game on PS3 that had co-op play. A beat-em up should almost always have multiplayer of some capacity, even if the game itself is not the greatest. For the sake of following the movie (although pretty loosely) I can see why the game is only one player. I'm not going to focus on what could have been with more players, but it is a sorely missing feature for a game that fits perfectly for it.
The environments themselves are not very appealing. Often time objects and even set pieces themselves are repeated throughout the entire game. Hell, there is even a joke made about this by Kick Ass himself. Arrows painted on the ground and walls guide you from the invisible walls and dead end alleyways. While sometimes going off the primary path rewards you with graffiti to cover up or a Wi-Fi spot, there are too many times where you go searching for these things and come up completely empty. Arrows should be laughing at you if you pass them, as you will find yourself wasting too much time wondering off the path just to find a dead end. If you have to navigate the player through such a linear environment so they won't get lost, that's a clear sign the level design has issues.
Speaking of graffiti and Wi-Fi, they are just achievement fillers. Covering up The MFer's graffiti on the walls has no rewards in game at all. Niether does the Wi-Fi. Finding these Wi-Fi spots rewards you with Kick Ass weeting (Tweeting) about his current adventure, but giving you nothing in terms of rewards in-game. Rather than getting something useful, all you get is an achievement and an empty feeling. Finding these was not very difficult, as I only missed four (two of each) in my playthough. However I find no reason to go back and get them.
When it's finally time to kick some ass, the combat system makes you feel nothing like a hero. Copying the combat style seen in Rocksteady's Batman games was a good choice but executed very poorly. Rather than button mashing, you must time your button presses as your attack is ending. Hopefully you have played one of the recent Batman games as Kick Ass 2 fails to teach you how to properly fight. Enemies' attack range can be absolutely ridiculous as sometimes someone standing more than five feet away will be able to cause damage.. Building up a long combo increases your strength, allowing you to dish out more damage. Weakening an enemy enough puts a button prompt on a foe's head, resulting in a finishing move. These are fun to see at first but get boring rather quickly as they take way too much time. Also in your arsenal is a tazer that has two types of use. Pulling the left trigger (playing on an Xbox 360 controller) releases a wave of energy that really does nothing to your foes. Pulling the right trigger makes you invulnerable to damage for a short time, with enemy attacks refilling your life bar rather than draining it. While I was somehow able to get used to the confusing fighting system, the combat still somehow becomes repetitive and tedious. Fighting feels like taking out the garbage; I don't want to do it and I will find anyway to get out of it. The main draw of this game should be playing as Kick Ass and...well...kicking some ass. In all, beating down enemies is not very difficult and absolutely boring.
Boss fights are a joke. Rather than a boss with unique attacks, its just an attack happy enemy with a life bar. Joined by a group of baddies, the bosses pose little threat and can be defeated easily. It feels insulting to drag yourself through the level only to face a boss that is more of the same thing rather than something fun and interesting.
However, the biggest enemy you will find in the game is the camera. Myself personally, I can excuse a bad camera. I am able to adapt to an uncooperative camera and make it work to the best of my ability. But Kick Ass 2 has a camera that feels like it has no idea where it should be. Even out of battle the camera is still not great, but somewhat acceptable. It follows Kick Ass, generally staying centered as you move. Although going into tight rooms or around a few corners is a different story. You might find yourself getting stuck in walls and corners, which makes navigating though these areas more difficult than it should be. When it is time to attack a group of enemies the camera problems really show up. Attack an enemy against a wall and suddenly the camera loses both the player and enemy. This wouldn't be an issue if you were not constantly being attacked. Enemies are super aggressive, and when you can't even find your character the frustration rises quickly. I found myself constantly spinning the camera just to find Kick Ass again. Fighting in a very closed space such as an alley or sewer brings more danger than the enemies you are fighting.
If anything the presentation has to be good right? The cell shade style is average; there are times when things look fine and others where I feel I'm playing a PS2 game. There is a section in the fourth level that reminds me of a Nintendo 64 game with the amount of fog on screen. As said before, environments and set pieces get used over and over again. Entering another area does not offer any new scenery, recycling between about 5 set pieces. Another dropped ball is the collision detection. Executing finishing moves will see Kick Ass and/or his enemy going right through any nearby walls or objects. The animation is a bit of a mixed bag, as some look OK while others can be choppy. A little more time to test these animations would have been better.
Voice acting is terrible. Think of the worst voice acting in a Dynasty Warriors game... now imagine even worse performances. I realize that getting the actors from the movie to portray their rolls again wouldn't be possible but the actors we have playing these characters are out of touch. Kick Ass sounds like a whiny British Boy, repeating the same one-liners to enemies over and over. Puberty must have gotten to Hit Girl pretty quickly as she sounds like a 25 year old woman rather than a teenager. All the rest of the voices sound uninspired and are repeated quite often; even the writing is just terrible. The cutscene right before fighting the first boss, Black Death, is the purest form of how awful the writing and voice acting can be. A bickering of Kick Ass and the boss character goes back and forth for way too long and lacking any laughs. Comic book style cutscenes play before each chapter that vaguely fill in the story. Laughable at best, they lack any sound effects to help portray the scene being shown
Even setting my expectations a little lower, Kick Ass 2 is by far one of the worst games I've played in a long time. Very boring and repetitive combat, an extremely aggravating camera, and mediocre presentation are the offenders to this mess of a game. Even with a release date a year after the movie, we are still left with a bad game. Don't even try this game for a laugh. To get a true experience of this game, spin around a bat facing the ground about 10 times, have someone kick you in the nuts, then go try to run 100 meter hurdles. That painful experience might be more fun than this shameful cash grab.
- + Title screen
- - boring, lazy combat system
- - bad camera
- - repetitive environments
- - bad voice acting
Time played: 5.1 hours
Platform played on: pc