GoNintendo 'End of Day' thoughts - Quick and Dirty review: Deadly Creatures
Man, it makes me so happy to be able to bring you guys reviews! I’m glad I finally found something that works. Three reviews in a row…that must be a record! You guys enjoy the review below as I head off to bed. I’ll see you guys in a few, short hours.
For the longest time, THQ had two titles in the pipeline that really had my attention. One of those titles was de Blob, and the other was Deadly Creatures. Both of these titles seemed to follow the exact same development path. There were upcoming release dates that ended up getting postponed in order to raise the quality of the overall product. That really worked out well for de Blob, making it one of the best games to hit the Wii in 2008.
I thought that Deadly Creatures would come out with a quality just as high as de Blob, counting all the delays the game saw. Having played the game start to finish, I can see that this title still needed some time in development. Not bad by any stretch of the word, but plenty that needs fixing.
Atmosphere: I have played a lot of games…and I do mean a lot. From the 8-bit days until now, I can hardly think of any titles that match the level of atmosphere found in Deadly Creatures. The development team did a fantastic job at conveying a believable game world. I really felt like I was exploring the depths, twists and turns of the desert. Seriously…the work that went into this aspect of the game is some of the best I’ve seen. I actually got goosebumps during a few portions.
Soundscape: The reason the atmosphere in Deadly Creatures is so heavy has a lot to do with the audio. This game has some of the best sound direction of any title currently on the market. The Wii may not be a powerhouse when it comes to audio, but that doesn’t matter. The attention to detail, no matter how small the audio blip may seem, is staggering. From the quiet, padded steps of your tarantula/scorpion to the gusts of wind that whip through underground tunnels, all of it is top-notch.
Soundtrack: While Deadly Creatures doesn’t have any tunes that’ll have you humming, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad soundtrack. It’s quite the opposite,actually! You have to think of the music in Deadly Creatures in terms of a feature film score…minus licensed music. The songs may be subtle, but they do a terrific job of meshing with the game surroundings. The second I found out that I could buy the Deadly Creatures soundtrack, I hopped on iTunes and made my purchase. This is an outstanding ambient soundtrack.
Graphics: It’s nice to see developers putting a bit of time into their graphical presentation. Deadly Creatures is one of the better looking games on Wii. You’re not reaching Super Mario Galaxy levels of beauty here…far from it. Still, what you are given to look at is quite nice. Character models are nicely rendered and the way geometry is handled within level layout is very nice. Some people may complain that there are a lot of brows and reds…but what do you expect?! The game takes place in the desert!
What Doesn’t Work
Camera - You’re biggest enemy in Deadly Creatures doesn’t have any fangs, claws or poison stingers. From start to finish, you’ll be battling the camera all the way through. There are some portions when the camera manages to behave, but overall the invisible rig is unruly at best. This is extremely painful when you have a game where you can walk up walls and onto ceilings. It’s almost as if the camera can’t believe that you’re allowed to go the places it’s asked to follow you. Do yourself a favor and try to avoid tight situations. You can have a tiny tunnel to walk through, but the camera freaks out so bad that you’ll end up getting lost.
Controls - The control setup isn’t a horrible one, but there are quite a few times where you’ll be in the heat of battle, only to get your butt kicked from unresponsive controls. I found that going through the motions slowly but firmly works well. The problem is, you don’t always have the time to do that…especially when fighting off enemies. The ideas used for the controls are great. I love the idea of flipping over the Wiimote to bury myself in the sand. Unfortunately, the execution gets in the way of these inventive Wiimote motions.
Talent underused, story underserved: The story elements of Deadly Creatures are some of my favorite parts. I just don’t get why there’s so little of it. You’ll go entire chapters without hearing a bit of story. That’s pretty strange when you see how heavily THQ pushed their AAA celebrity talent for the game. They are hardly used! Once again, I find this extremely annoying because the story elements that are at play are pretty damn great. The storyline itself as well as the way it’s presented (being told the story as you scurry about) are really interesting ideas. Instead of going all-out in that direction, we get a very bare-bones tale. The story itself isn’t bad…it’s knowing just how much more could have been done that irks me.
BONUS COMPLAINT - End cutscene: What in the world happened here?! The end cutscene has worse compression than something you’d see in a low-budget DS game. How in the world did this sneak by? This is the most artifact-filled cutscene I’ve seen on teh Wii since Far Cry: Vengeance!
The Quick and Dirty
Deadly Creatures makes me so angry. Once you finish the game, you realize that there were so many fantastic ideas at work that never really had time to shine. Overall, the title just needed more time with the dev team. There’s nothing worse than seeing a game full of potential that ends up being bogged down by nothing short of shoddy development. As it stands, Deadly Creatures is a good game with some fantastic elements, but it’s the lack of polish that ends up being the last thing on your mind.