Tag Archive: Heavy Iron

Not always lucky there’s a Family Guy

It’s never easy to capture the essence of a licensed product in a videogame. Sure, games like Batman: Arkham City show it can be done, but for every gem, you get South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge, X-Men: Destiny, a half-dozen Simpsons titles (excluding Hit and Run), and the worst of them all, Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (just beating out the equally awful Superman 64). So, when it came time for Family Guy to take another crack at a video game, six years after their first failure on the last console generation, it was hard not to think “Here we go again.”

Inspired by the Season 8 episode “Road to the Multiverse,” Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse centers around the machinations of an alternate universe incarnation of Bertram, Stewie’s evil half-brother who was destroyed in the main Family Guy universe episode “The Big Bang Theory.” This version of Bertram has built his own multiverse remote control and vowed revenge on Stewie for killing him in any universe. Knowing that their own vast multiverse experience makes them the only ones capable of putting a stop to the plan, the show’s beloved odd couple, Stewie and Brian, embark on a quest across 10 parallel dimensions to stop Bertram from putting together an unstoppable army that will squash the Griffin family once and for all.

As a fan of the show, I admit the premise sounded promising. When you consider that the plot was written by the Fuzzy Door writing staff and that everyone from the cartoon reprised their voice for the game, the story side of Back to the Multiverse didn’t worry me one bit. And it did, indeed, deliver in most instances, as there were many moments during the game’s cutscenes where I found myself laughing out loud as Brian and Stewie found themselves in a Pirate World, an Amish World, a world ruled by handicapped people, and much more.

Unfortunately, when it came to being a fleshed-out game, I found Back to the Multiverse lacking. The third-person shooter gameplay quickly became tedious as wave after wave of cookie-cutter enemies swarmed me in each level, yet still provided almost no challenge. Surprisingly, the handful of platforming obstacles in several levels—along with one very special level with Peter—provided some enjoyable variety to the grind of shooting everything in sight, but these brief departures from the blasting bonanza were too few and far between to save the game from becoming repetitive, dull, and simple.

The game is also extremely short and linear, and in order to try to cram in a couple extra hours of playtime, each level is littered with pointless item collection side quests that reward players with nothing but concept art and multiplayer skins. Somewhere between collecting my 10th wanted poster in the Amish world and my 7th handicap placard in the “Handicapable” level, I was already done with the hoarding.

And speaking of the multiplayer, what were developers Heavy Iron thinking by not making the co-op or versus modes online capable? The multiplayer suite here is impressive, with challenges, Deathmatch and CTF, a horde mode, and campaign co-op. Though far from revolutionary, Multiverse definitely has the potential to stand up to many other titles out there, but since all the modes are restricted to local play, they quickly lose their luster. The multiplayer levels, especially in Team Deathmatch, seem better designed for larger groups of players with their scope and size. With only up to four people locally, everyone is constantly wandering around, desperate for someone to shoot. I appreciate local play as an option, but it just doesn’t work well as the only option, not in this day and age.

In the end, this game is like many of those other licensed products that have come before it. There’s a very solid core here, with the visuals and the humorous writing capturing the animated heart of the show. If the fat from the single player had been cut out so there was only maybe only five or six more polished and varied levels, I could see this being a great downloadable or budget title in the $20-30 price range. For a full $60 though, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is far too flawed to be worth it for all but the most passionate (and delusional) of Family Guy fans, as this falls into place with the rest of the long list of other mediocre adapted media property video games out there.

SUMMARY: A solid comedic core cannot save what becomes tedious gameplay as you move through the 10 different dimensions of the Multiverse. Throw in the mind-boggling lack of online multiplayer for a suite that clearly could have benefited from it, and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse should only appeal to fanatics of the FOX animated sitcom.

  • THE GOOD: Much of the game captures the humor of the show.
  • THE BAD: No online multiplayer, tedious side quests.
  • THE UGLY: Amish women. What? It’s not like they’re going to read this on the Internet or something.

SCORE: 5.5

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360. 

Lucky there’s a family guy!

Note: Some language used may seem offensive, but it comes directly from the game and TV show and should be taken in context of such. 

When we first learned that we would be getting a full-fledged Family Guy game for consoles, all us fans of the hit animated sitcom jumped for joy. And when we learned it would revolve around the idea of Brian and Stewie bouncing around parallel dimensions once again like the classic Season 8 episode that introduced the Multiverse, we were ready to crack open a Pawtucket Patriot Ale and start playing.

Obviously, we’re still a couple months away from release though, so you can imagine how we’ve been chomping at the bit to see more of this game, especially after our brief view of the Amish level at E3 only whetted our appetites. So, when given the chance to hop on the Family Guy bus at San Diego ComicCon to see another new dimension, how could we refuse?

The level we saw, the third of the game’s ten dimensions the game will ship with, is a world where cripples are in charge. Every parking spot is handicapped, all sidewalks have ramps, and everyone rides the short bus (which also happens to spawn enemies from). And of course, Joe Swanson is something of a big deal here.  In fact, the menacing ‘Crippletron’ from the infamous “No Meals on Wheels” episode returns with Joe taking his prime spot once again as the head of this monstrosity comprised of hundreds of wheelchair bound enemies.

In terms of the game play, we saw Brian and Stewie effortlessly switch back and forth in mid-level to rain death and destruction upon those who traded in their crutches (one of them anyway) for AK-47s and others who had outfitted their wheelchairs with rockets to reach true ramming speed while carrying guns or clubs of their own.

Luckily, Brian and Stewie have plenty of tricks of their own up their not paralyzed sleeves. We saw everything from sniper rifles, assault rifles, automatic shotguns, flamethrowers, and laser blasters, all of which could be upgraded by earning cash from causing destruction in the environment and laying waste to your enemies. We also saw a variety of special items on the game’s item wheel, including golden eggs that hatch into fighting chickens and Stewie’s patented diaper grenade, to help Brian and Stewie move their way through these new and unusual worlds while also paying their own little tribute to some of the TV series’ best episodes.

One of the nicest things we saw with the demo though was how in just a short month the game’s look and feel seems to be a lot cleaner and crisper than the demo we saw at E3. And when you combine that look which falls directly in line with that of the show, some solid third-person shooter action, and some absolutely hysterical writing, as the game is being written by the folks at Fuzzy Door and everything is approved by Seth MacFarlane himself, its very easy to see how fans of Family Guy should start getting excited about this game. The only question now is what other dimensions besides the Amish and Handicapable worlds will Brian and Stewie travel to? We’ll just have to wait until September to find out.