I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra pits you amidst Cobra's deadliest plot yet, putting you in the shoes of the Joes in a co-op arcade shooting environment. Taking its concept from classic run-and-gun shooters like Contra, The Rise Of Cobra is an isometric co-op shooting experience that can be played locally.
There are a range of G.I. Joe characters to choose from and unlock, though you'll need to score well throughout the game's various missions to obtain them.
Despite a rather dragged out campaign, there are unlockable characters, bonus missions and harder difficulty levels to keep you coming back. If you want to.
We can accept G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra for what it is. A run and gun shooter with a generous auto-aim and a cover mechanic. The gameplay is captured from a pulled back camera perspective allowing two-players to be on screen at once, be they computer controlled or human. An emphasis on combos and multipliers make the initial levels feel genuinely rewarding as you watch your points shoot through the roof. The sense of co-operative gameplay is also captured via the points mechanic that enhances your score if you and your team mate are aiming for the same enemies. Sadly the initial flashes of a rewarding experience are drained when the gameplay fails to evolve and the enemies gain the ability to soak up more and more bullets. Further multiplier mechanics and online scoreboards could have helped relieve the monotony of The Rise Of Cobra. Sadly it wasn't to be.
If you want to play a game where you just run and watch explosions happen then this is for you. We're totally not using that in a derogatory sense either, sometimes we feel like playing something akin to G.I. Joe. The problem is, the lack of any real set-pieces and the inane ability of enemies to soak up damage makes every level seem like a familiar slog. Those first five levels are pretty fun though. Until you realise you're going to be playing them over and over and over.
Where most games ignore the local multiplayer route, The Rise Of Cobra embraces it and rewards you for playing as a team. The mindless nature of the game could make for a rewarding 20 minutes or so with a mate while waiting for a taxi. If you're playing a gaming night however, Joe will only serve as a warm-up to a main course of Resistance or Gran Turismo.
Rough camera.The pulled out camera mechanic from The Rise Of Cobra can sometimes work well, fitting two players on screen, a host of enemies and providing guidance on the linear path of where you need to go. Alas, sometimes it's not always perfect, meaning players can go missing off the screen and enemies are impaired. It can also be disorientating.
The good news is that The Rise Of Cobra has vehicles for you to control. The bad news is that they handle appallingly. Given the pulled out view of the static camera, controlling these things feels like your being hung upside down, spun around at the speed of light, holding the Dualshock upside down. It's beyond our vocabulary's complexion to describe just how terrible these things handle.
The Rise Of Cobra occasionally breaks up the shooting to try and tell you about what's happening in the plot. We ended up skipping them. They break the pace so badly, your character finger on ear while you listen to the laborious story-elements. In an arcade shooter, story just feels so out of place. But it's constantly popping up.
Games like G.I. Joe should make you feel bad-ass. The fact that your weapons can barely take a dent out of some of the later enemies only result in you feeling like a ten year-old with a pea shooter.
Despite showing the odd flash of potential, G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra aims far too low and still manages to miss its own lowly expectations. At half the length, half the price and as a download from the PSN, the concept could have shone; but sadly it's hard to recommend what this is, even at the lower RRP.