The Incredible Hulk Review - 01/07/2008

The Hulk is another cult comic book hero, but will this game follow suit in the line of previous comic book/movie/game tie-ins and fall short of the mark? Or will it provide the exception to the rule?


The Incredible Hulk is based around the blockbuster movie of the same name. Thus, it incorporates part of the story line of the movie, as well as alternate plot lines that come from the comic books and some new ones to flesh out the game. The plot develops in the form of missions that can be accessed through the open-world New York City that serves as the game's hub. Apart from story missions that would involve the usual search and destroy, rescue or locate missions, there are also side ventures available to pass the time. These include speed tests where you have to run through rings in a certain time limit, causing as much damage to the city as you can, or defeat as many enemies as possible within the limit. Also, there are items scattered around the city that Hulk can collect which range from Gamma canisters (these are green and can increase Hulk's overall health) of which there are 100 to find, Rage canisters (these are orange and increase Hulk's rage bar which is used to perform stronger attacks) also 100 to locate, and a couple of other items. Completing missions or collecting a certain amount of the items will allow you to complete feats that in turn upgrade Hulk, giving him stronger attacks, more combos, greater health and other attributes.

The gameplay is very reminiscent of Spiderman 3, with the open city of New York and the missions located as coloured markers throughout the city. However, this isn’t a bad thing as the gameplay is highly enjoyable, a feature that some games seem to miss these days. As the Hulk you can punch and kick your way through hoards of enemies including army troops, enclave troops (more later), mutant humans exposed to radiation like you, and the boss characters that are available. Hulk has his normal punch, kick and grab attacks, as well as rage attacks which are activated by multiple button presses and range from health regeneration to a thunder clap that can propel enemies backward and heavily damage them. The big green guy can also pick up vehicles and use them to bash enemies, as shields, or ripping them in half and using them as gauntlets to increase the power of his punches. To get around the city you can either use the sprint feature, use unlocked subways (I wonder how real New Yorkers would react if Hulk entered a subway) or the more effective, and more enjoyable, jumping feature. Holding a button powers up Hulks' jump, increasing the distance and height he can leap which will allow you to bound around the city effortlessly. The control system is easy to get to grips with and you will soon be having the time of your life bounding around the city and thwacking your foes, or causing massive traffic pile ups.

You're not going to like him when he's angry etc. etc.


The enclave troops I mentioned previously are four research groups that conduct "tests" in New York City. This will usually involve them unleashing new weapons against the citizens, something Hulk will have to put a stop to. Apart from a health bar and rage meter, Hulk also has a detection level (which works much like GTA's wanted level). Depending on the amount of damage you cause in the city more troops will be dispatched to deal with you until the whole force of the army is upon you. So don’t expect to be able to do whatever you please with no consequences. The standout point of Hulks first next gen outing is the damage physics. This is where most gamers will have the time of their life. Basically, anything you can see in the city can be crushed and reduced to rubble. Most buildings can be completely levelled and those that can't can definitely be battered. Trees can be knocked over and their trunks can be used as javelins to attack enemies with. Traffic is where most players will have their fun as all cars, buses, trucks, fire engines, hell every vehicle can be attacked and destroyed, and most (except the heavy army tanks and APCs) can be picked up and used as weapons. You get points for the destruction you cause that will ultimately upgrade your stats and attacks as you complete different feats set by the game. The damage system is highly evolved and this is great as being Hulk players would expect to be able to destroy New York City, and the game provides this luxury. The damage graphics are highly adept as buildings show more wear each time they are attacked and finally crumble. Vehicles do the same except once they have reached their damage limit they will explode. It's highly amusing to send a car careering into a dozen others and watch them explode, as a smile slowly creases your features as you realise you are almost completely unstoppable. The city is your sandbox and you are a giant, all powerful green child who just wants to play.

Unfortunately, although the damage graphics are well rendered, some of the other graphics suffer from bad design. The character models (likenesses are pulled from the movie, so you are Edward Norton) can look good at some points, but at others they look plastic and their eyes give them the look that makes you think they should be lying on a slab in the morgue. These are aspects sometimes present in the human character models whereas the Hulk himself is well rendered in all his green splendour, muscles flexing and all. The city itself is well depicted however once you get to the outskirts they become slightly barren as if the developers weren’t really bothered. Also the draw distances can at times be fine, and at others be terrible, as the textures seemed to be mapped to items just as you reach them. Also a couple of glitches appear like where I once seemed to walk through a building and the screen went all weird. Also when you jump into water (it seems Hulk can't swim) the game just cannons you back out of it which is slightly strange. Finally, in some missions the map won't always show your objective and this will leave you wandering aimlessly.

New York is your oyster.


Overall The Incredible Hulk is a game whose main selling point is the fact that it is fun. You don’t have to complete missions if you don’t want to, just bound around the city causing havoc and leaving a trail of destruction in your wake. Some games have forgotten that the point of them is indeed to entertain the gamers, something Hulk does extremely well. It may not be a technological Marvel (excuse the pun), although the damage engine is extremely well developed, but Hulk will give gamers a burst of fun and can be a reprieve from all those serious and complex games available nowadays. If you are looking for an in depth game with long lasting appeal, this isn’t it, but if you just want to have fun then this is for you.

- Alex Goodenough

   

A game that is fun and highly enjoyable to play.

 
   

Damage and destruction is the name of the game, and amazingly portrayed.

 
   
Simple controls and gameplay, easy to get to grips with.
 
   

The best comic book/movie/game tie in available.

 
   

Some annoying glitches and poor graphics will hamper the experience.

 

74%

Definitely the best comic book/movie/game tie in available.

   
     

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