Real Talk By: The AX
Whenever I play Injustice: Gods Among Us, I tend to use Aquaman. Not because he’s cool or even remotely powerful, but because of the absolute shame it brings upon those whom I conquer. It’s a known fact that Aquaman has been a laughing-stock of the comic industry for years. Raj from Big Bang Theory was once told that he had to be him for a Justice League Halloween group, and he said, “I don’t want to be Aquaman… Aquaman sucks.” Being king of the ocean sounds pretty cool, but when faced with a billionaire vigilante playboy and an alien who gains super strength in Earth’s atmosphere, training pufferfish to poke your enemies isn’t exactly impressive. I couldn’t name a single one of his foes, but I’d wager that Man-Ray from Spongebob could beat him. I don’t think Aquaman, with all of his might, could resist the tickle belt or the orb of confusion. It is for this reason that I decided to give this gentleman the old college try. That, and the images of Jason Momoa playing the aquatic superhero look pretty cool. Sadly, his only true foray into videogames proves that his potential remains untapped in a medium outside of comics.
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis is horrid. I’ve played E.T., Superman 64, and Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. The common thread between these “games” is that they are absolutely awful, yet had so much potential. One could argue that E.T. was doomed from the start due to limited production time, but in any case, the places that game could have gone are endless. Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis joins these games by displaying a fundamental failure in foresight a complete lack of soul. I was not able to finish Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis; not because of the difficulty, but because it’s just not worth playing. I have a nasty habit of buying cheap terrible games. The little amount of money spent on them would be worth it after a couple of hours of gameplay. Right? Sadly, the time playing Aquaman is time that I will never get back, and there is no one but myself to blame. I could have watched Wolf Cop or Zombeavers on Netflix (shameless plug, seriously go watch them).
I’ll start by saying that the game is not bad-looking, given its age. The graphics are actually kind of cool when you take into account that it is a 12-year old console exclusive. Granted, the worlds are devoid of any ambient life, save for the baddies you have to kill. Speaking of ambience, I did notice that Aquaman and No Country for Old Men have one thing in common: No music. The lack of music in the masterpiece that is No Country for Old Men served to build tension and put more emphasis on the actions of the characters involved. The lack of music in a videogame based on a comic book is just pure laziness. Only noticed some theme music during some of the menus and in one of the levels I struggled through; all other areas of the game have generic water sounds to (put you to sleep) driving home that the game takes place underwater.
The game itself was actually a lot of fun to play for the first level. Aquaman swims the same way Superman would fly, and it has a combo-based attack system. The developer’s attempt at deep gameplay by adding complicated combos was squashed by the fact that random button mashing is as effective. One interesting feature is the ability to call sharks and dolphins to insta-kill enemies. This can be very helpful when fighting an enemy that does nothing but block and you are running out of time to complete the level. There are even StarFox-like submarine levels that seem to be fun at first, but are truly just as cumbersome an experience as the rest of the game.
The biggest issue I have with Aquaman is that it fails miserably at keeping (or grabbing, for that matter) your attention. The levels are all the same format: Guard tells Aquaman a particular part of the city is under attack, Aquaman tells guard to stay put, Aquaman fends off attack. Of the 6 levels played, every single level had this predictable cop-out of a story. The cutscenes aren’t really, as they are replaced by comic panels that are filled in with in-engine screenshots. Again with no music or voice acting. Ended up stopping the game mid-level because I truly did not care what the outcome of the main story would be, let alone how I would defeat a mini-boss.
BFA combines some cool gameplay elements with a unique setting, but fails to deliver any experience worth having. All in all, the game truly felt like it had its budget slashed midway through production but the publisher was too greedy to just cancel it. With no fun, no story, and no soul, Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis is not worth anyone’s time. And I enjoyed Duke Nukem Forever.
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis Gets
.5 Out of Five
+Graphics are better than expected