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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jumper: Griffin's Story (3.3/10)

Occasionally I'll go into a book store with the intention of proving that old adage wrong: you can never judge a book by it's cover... so I'll do just that. I've gotten lucky a few times; some of my favorite authors have come from just that sort of experimentation. Sadly, I've also read some real stinkers. The reason I bring it up is because a friend of mine asked me recently why I don't review more bad games. Well, the obvious answer is that I don't like playing bad games for the same reason I don't like reading bad books... because they are bad! This seems pretty obvious, but it got me thinking. My friend in question has one of the highest gamer scores in the world. He has played a lot of baaaad games. So I challenged him to pick some of the worst (and he paid for them, they were cheap), and I would review them... after all, I do enjoy ripping the crap out of terrible games, even if I don't enjoy playing them.

Anyhoo, here is a review for Jumper: Griffin's Story. Yeah, my friend is a bastard. I asked him why he played it. He replied it was full of easy achievements. What an excuse... for Pete's sake, one of them is actually for beating the game in less than an hour-what does that tell you!

Jumper: Griffin's Story is a crappy game based on a crappy movie. It's all about, wait for it, jumpers, who can teleport their way around anywhere, be it to the other side of the world or inside a bank vault. As one would expect from the title, this is all about Griffin, the other jumper from the movie. I didn't pay much attention to the plot... I vaguely remember the film being awful so I didn't go in with very high expectations. Even so, I was still surprised by just how bad it was. The plot is incoherent about a character no one really cared about in the first place.

The graphics are laughably bad: this looks and plays like a Playstation 2 port (I'm pretty sure it actually was). It looks like an old PC title where everything is in focus, including the backgrounds. It's disorienting, especially so when you turn the camera. Regardless, there are all sorts of texture pop-in issues, screen tearing, poor editing and transitions... I could go on, but I don't really want to. Oh, okay, one more... background blockage issues (where panning the camera causes the environment to block your view of the action) are, without a doubt, the worst of any game I've ever played! From this standpoint alone the game comes awfully close to being broken. Hell, the cut scenes are done comic-style, further suggesting that they didn't have much of a budget for this.

The one redeeming thing about Jumper: Griffin's Story is that the combat has an interesting hook. In a game all about teleporting, you are essentially give the option of attacking your foes from the front, back, or sides. This corresponds to the face buttons on the controller: "A" is front, "B" is right, "Y" is back, and "X" is left. It's fun to mix it up. Harder enemies will have sections blocked off meaning if you make a mistake and hit from that side they will break your combo and even counter, so you need to be paying attention. If one side is red, then you need to attack from the opposite side and so on. However, if you attack an area that is highlighted green you'll fill a meter that allows Griffin to do what amount to super moves.

These cool super moves are essentially mini cut-scenes where Griffin warps enemies from the battlefield to out of the way locales and then leaves them there... you know, places like Antarctica, a shark tank, or a fusion reactor. Those actually look decent, but there are only a half dozen of them and as a result they get repetitive. The novelty wears off quickly. Still, these moments stand as a highlight of the game. My personal favorite was warping into a car... in a compactor.

Sadly, that is as interesting as it gets. Each level is essentially a series of arena style fights. Bad guys come streaming in, literally all following the same animation pattern before circling and patiently waiting for you to beat the snot out of them. It's repetitive, silly, and worst of all, boring despite the interesting combat system. A few of the levels offer a little in the way of exploration, but the layouts all look the same and it's easy to get lost. A mini-map would have made it a little more tolerable, but not by much.

A major issue is the fact that the game only saves in between chapters. There are checkpoints littered about the place so if you die you don't go back to the start. However, if you have to stop the game and say go to sleep/work/school/anything more interesting than this travesty of game, then your load saves at the beginning of the chapter... even if you were at the end. This is beyond frustrating, especially with annoyingly elongated boss fights. There was one towards the end that was one of the more tedious slogs I've experienced (that I had been secretly been praying was the final boss, only to have the game keep going). 

Despite an interesting combat mechanic and some fun scenes where Griffin leaves his victims in increasingly sadistic positions to die, about the best thing that can be said about Jumper: Griffin's Story is the fact that it is mercifully short. It bears all the hallmarks of an unfinished game (or rather, one based on a movie). It's almost insulting to think this was originally a full priced game. As I said initially, Jumper: Griffin's Story is a crappy game based on a crappy movie, and isn't even worth the couple of bucks my mate paid for it.


Score = 3.3 / 10

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