Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best Gameplay but Fantastic Production Values, 9 Jun. 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: The Simpsons (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
The Simpsons isn't new to the gaming world by any means. But it's been over a decade since they actually had a true video game. For years we've seen Simpsons games that were just knock offs of other games like The Simpsons Road Rage or Hit and Run. The Simpsons Game, however, is its own thing. After nearly twenty years of a successful television run, a blockbuster movie and having an influence on our culture as a whole, The Simpsons finally get a true video game to call their own. It isn't as good as the 90's original arcade game, but it's by far one of the best video game outings The Simpsons have had in a while. By far this is one of the better games based off a TV show to hit the video game market yet.

The first thing to get out of the way is simple. Any huge fan of the show will absolutely love this game. The writing staff hopped on board to do the writing and they do a fabulous job. It's full of all the clever wit of the show along with several references to show as a whole. Many of the levels are centered around events which actually took place in episodes. The game serves as brilliant fan service to those who have come to love and admire the show over the past twenty years. Not only that, but it's easily one of the funniest games ever made.

Just like the show, you should expect it to be full of parodies and poking fun. And in this game it does all of that. It especially makes plenty of pokes at the gaming industry as a whole. If you're a hardcore gamer this game only becomes that much funnier when you see parodies of some of your favorite games like Everquest, Medal of Honor, and Grand Theft Auto. There are also jokes about some of the other aspects of the game presented by Comic Book Guy. Moments where you discover you can't swim for example. Or Invisible walls. All of these are things that have been done in video games several times and The Simpsons Game decides to make fun of them. They even managed to get some people from the video game industry in here to do some cameos. For The Simpsons fan and gamer, it's almost heavenly the amount of humor and pop culture references that are here. You'll most certainly being dying of laughter throughout the entire adventure.

Even better. The game looks and sounds just like the show. The graphics have the look and feel of the show and the actual voice cast came on the lend their voices. In short, in reality it's like you're getting a full blown episode of the show that's well... hours long. And it works. The production values of this game make you put aside the mediocre gameplay in part because the game makes fun of itself too by being packed full of cliches they mock.

And that's where the problem with The Simpsons Game comes into play. The developers spent so much time on the production values of the game that they didn't spend nearly as much time perfecting the overall gameplay experience. That's not to say the gameplay doesn't have its merits. It certainly does. It's just that the gameplay only meets the standards, it doesn't try to exceed them.

Throughout the game you'll play as The Simpsons family. In every level there is at least one other Simpson to control and you can switch between them as often as you like. And you'll have to considering some of the puzzles you'll be doing. Each level is fairly open ended with bad guys coming at you left and right. Every Simpson has standard attack and a fairly special one. Bart, for example, can use his slingshot for standard attacking, but he can also become Bartman and glide all over the place. Some characters have downright zany powers, though. Lisa, for example can summon a giant hand, and she uses her saxophone to fight off baddies with music. It's a little over the top but then again, The Simpsons has never been a show grounded in reality.

There's also co-op play but it feels like a last minute thought at times. This is because in some levels it is more than obvious that certain characters aren't really needed for anything other than pummeling your enemies. Only certain characters are suited for certain tasks. It's fine on single player, but on co-op your partner can sure feel useless at times. Just the same, however, the AI isn't really all that bad. While it's pain to have to keep an eye on both health gauges for those who have a go at single player, your partner can really hold his or her own in just about any situation. So it's nice that you don't have to constantly babysit an AI controlled character.

There's not much to the gameplay, but at least it's simple and easy to pick up on. But there's so much more that could've been done with it. It gets repetitive in many areas. At the very least, however, each new level you go to is distinguished from the previous one. And while the objectives are not by any means difficult to reach (it's a pretty easy game) you'll have some fun. There are also a lot of collectibles to uncover throughout the game. Each level is just teeming with items for The Simpsons clan to obtain.

As I said, however, it's a game that meets the standard but doesn't really try to exceed it. The good news is that the humor keeps you going through the game, even when the gameplay gets tiring. Simply because a laugh out loud video game. This game was definitely made for Simpsons fans and gamers alike. And despite the gameplay the humor and production values really make this a unique gameplay experience.

If anything, The Simpsons Game is worth a look just for the production values alone. It's funny, it carries the look of the show, it was written by the writers of the show and even includes the voice cast from the show. What's not to like about the production values for the hardcore Simpsons fan?

Pros:

+The production values are some of the best to ever be done in a TV gone video game. The clever witty writing of the show comes out. The clever parodies come out. It's just an all around funny game filled with gaming culture references.

Cons:

-The other thing we must face, the gameplay could've been so much better. It's not bad by any means, but certainly isn't as good as it had the potential to be.
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