Pacific Rim the video game doesn't pack much punch
Pacific Rim is one of this years biggest blockbusters, featuring giant monsters that live beneath the Pacific, and it's up to human built robots to flush them out. It's my kind of film, so when I noticed a tie-in game was coinciding with it, I had to check it out. The game is developed by Yukes, who are well known for their fighting games, such as WWE. Pacific Rim is also about fighting, so there is some potential here. However, this is a movie game where talking about, so the end result is a very clumsy rush job. Despite some nice detail to the robots and creatures, the combat is tedious, and the environments are few and very dull.
The single-player offering sends you straight into battle. You begin as a Jaegar, going head-to-head with a Kaiju in the Pacific Ocean. This is the tutorial section, with you introduced to the control layout. You have two basic attacks, allowing you to throw punches left and right. There's also a charge attack and the ability to dodge and block. It's very basic, but that's not why the game fails. It's mainly due to it's sluggish performance, with each attack reacting heavy and slow. I understand these supposed to be large heavy machines, but the slow combat does little to excite. Trying to circle your enemy and line up a shot is awkward to say the least. It's hit and miss, and just lacks any real sense of power and impact.
This slow attacks make it hard to pull off any form of combo. So anyone who enjoys frantic button mashing brawlers, such as Street Fighter, will find Pacific Rim rather dull. This is more about going in for the one attack, dodging and then repeating. You can, if you wish, change your attack patterns, but it's never necessary to defeat your enemy. You could simply use one main attack and dodge to win a fight. With enough energy, you can perform a deadly special attack. This nearly always knocks out your enemy, taking away a big chunk of their health. It can be amusing to watch, especially when stood near one of the destructible environment. Such as sending them plummeting into an iceberg, or crashing into a high road in Shanghai. However, after doing it a few times, it grows old quick, and feels very cheap.
There is a small strategic element to the game. Everything you do, whether it's throwing a punch, dodging, or simply walking, will drain energy. If the gauge bar falls short, you are left in a vulnerable state, unable to perform attacks. This leaves you standing still, trying to build up enough energy to defend yourself. It's a nice idea and does make sense, but it makes the game even more dull and slow than it already is. The combat is just very repetitive. It doesn't help matters that you have to rapidly tap buttons when downed. Doing it over and over feels like a chore, and turns tiresome extremely quickly.
Customization is on offer, which is probably the most redeemable feature. Before you begin each battle, you are given a selection of robots, or monsters to choose from, depending on how far you've advanced. There's a few variations of each, providing different stats such as stamina, etc. They also come with a selection of perks. But if you don't like any of the load-outs, you can build your own. This allows you to customize a Jaeger to your own taste. You can add a variety of parts, such as the head, left and right arm, body and legs. Parts are earned by completing single-player matches and purchasing them with currency. It can be fun to see your own version of a Jaeger in action. Some may find it appealing, but it doesn't make the combat anymore enjoyable.
It does lack replay-value, and with only two environmental battlegrounds, things turn boring fast. The most fun that came out of it was in multiplayer. This is because you are less aware of your opponents attack pattern. In single-player, the AI is very poor and far too easy to defeat.
Pacific Rim contains everything you'd expect from a movie game tie-in. It lacks any redeemable features. Along with it's slow and tedious combat and few environments, it's best to forget this one exists, Go watch the film instead.