Oh the poor movie tie-in. Often developed on an incredibly tight schedule with the only thing of concern being that it's out in time to cash in on the property it's based on, almost instantly guarantees failure. Really, the best you can usually hope for is something that isn't entirely painful to play. I mean seriously, the last not horrible game based on a movie I can remember was Kung Fu Panda and that was really just adequate. But there are those lucky few, who somehow manage to get it right. And I'm not talking about games that come out on established properties, I'm talking about those lucky few that manage to come out in roughly the same time frame and not only not suck, but be surprisingly good. I can really only think of 3 that have managed this off the top of my head- Spider-Man 2, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and in a virtually unheard of case of actually being far superior to the sucktackular movie it's based on, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Probably the one thing those games all have in common is that they were at best loosely based on the property itself, serving as side stories or prequels. And in the case of Spider-Man 2, yeah the movie plot is in there somewhere, but you're too busy doing side missions or swinging around Manhattan just for the hell of it.
With that in mind, there are three upcoming movie tie-ins games that are taking varied approaches to hopefully change the mindset that in general, licensed games aren't worth your money. First up is Kick Ass: The Game, which hits the PSN tomorrow for download. This seems like a good direction for movie tie-ins to consider. To be honest, many of them command the $60 price tag and look and play like a budget title, so releasing games such as this within a much lower price range (a very reasonable $14) seems like a good idea. They did this with 2 Watchmen games last year, in what seemed like a good move. Though the games themselves were arguably not worth the combined $30 price tag at the time, it was a step in the right direction. Hell, I was able to grab them included with the blu-ray edition of the movie for the PS3 for $20, which essentially means I got the games for $5, well worth the price as they are perfectly decent if repetitive beat-em-ups. Kick Ass unfortunately seems to be going down the same path, with little to no press and looking like a poor knock-off of the X-Men Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance games (and lacking the gigantic cast). So while I highly doubt it'll be worth the money now, a sale later or being included in the blu-ray release will probably make it worthwhile. I do intend to at least download the demo tomorrow, so I'll let you know my thoughts on my next post.
Then we have the more interesting beast of Iron Man 2: The Game. The game based on he original smash hit was an umitigated disaster. But this time, Sega claims to have realized the error of their ways and promised a game that goes the route of covering the story but expanding the universe including villians such as the Crimson Dynamo and Ultimo. This sounds like a promising set-up for what could be the next gen equivalent of Spider-Man 2 if actually handled correctly. We'll see if it lives up to its potential when it ships next week.
And finally, we have Toy Story 3: The Game. Normally this is a game I wouldn't even glance at, but after ready the lengthy article in this month's Game Informer, I'm very intrigued by the fact that it's basically an open toybox, and you can just go nuts with the toys rather than awkwardly cramming the plot of the movie into the game. Whether or not this will actually transform into an enjoyable coherent gameplay experience will have to be seen, but the fact that they are almost completely seperate from the movie is a really good step in the right direction.
Of course the real issue is that tie-in games are always seen as something to quickly churn out and make a quick buck off of usually unsuspecting fans, and until the every day casual user/kid wises up and only buys the few good games based on movies.
That's really all I got for today, but here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Super Mario Crossover