While crashing through a nondescript re-creation of New York City, you begin your accent up a nondescript building on a nondescript mission to take out “X” number of generators that are powering some nefarious deeds. Two nondescript enemies attack you, but no worries. After they’re done firing small arms fire at your hulking body, you give ‘em both a nice smack and send them flying down to the street below. After destroying the generators, you’re on to the next mission…only to find that the next mission isn’t much different than the one you just completed.
As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life–something the minds behind the Incredible Hulk either did not understand or did not have the luxury of time to implement. Instead, the game has about two different mission archetypes throughout the entirety of the experience, and leans on them throughout. You’ll either being escorting plot characters through the city or you’ll be going from one point to the next, beating on a couple of numbskull AI opponents until the mission ends. Outside of the occasional boss fight that has been sprinkled in, that’s what you’re signing up for with The Incredible Hulk. You would think that with the lack of variety, the boss fights would be welcome. You would be wrong. The boss fights are all easy, but some are extremely lengthy and suffer from some very poor design decisions. For instance, one of the boss’s is a “Hulkbuster” that is immune from every attack but one. In order to unleash said attack, you must have a full “rage meter”. You build up rage by striking enemy opponents, cars driving down the street, or buildings in the environment. Since this attack is not an instant kill, (needs to be done about three times to take down the foe) the meat of the boss fight is beating up buildings. You have to go through this fight three different times, meaning a good hour is spent running around punching buildings.
Not that punching enemies is any more satisfying. Punching cars, APCs and tanks doesn’t have the proper crunch, instead sounding much more like a meek thud. Vehicles combust into a small puff of smoke and fire when crashed into, becoming not much more than blackened heaps of what looks and feels like plastic. Enemy fighters are disposed of with a quick combo that has little to no flare–right and left hooks are all that’s needed and about the only thing supplied. As you progress through the single-player, you’ll be given special attacks that add a bit to your repertoire, but they’re unwieldy to use and aren’t always responsive, so you’re better off mashing your light and strong attacks to get through the game.
The Incredible Hulk is an open world game, but one with little to nothing in the way of interesting content to draw you in. One of the biggest draws about open-world titles is the ability to cause chaos for as long as you elude capture or death. This game doesn’t have that. There is a system in place called a “threat rating”, but nothing sent at you has a chance of actually killing you.
The AI is idiotic and the Hulk can out run any helicopter, tank, etc., that is sent his way. Destructibility is another thing the game promotes. While most everything is, in fact, destructible, the game lacks a sense of weight that sucks all enjoyment out of it. Light posts, newspaper stands and water hydrants are all sent airborne as if they were twigs when Hulk runs into them, and buildings comedically collapse into themselves after they’ve taken enough damage.
So what is the defining feature of The Incredible Hulk? It’s not broken. That’s about the only compliment that can be given. Graphically, the game is somewhere in between a PS2 and PS3 game, sporting some ugly textures, surprising texture pop-ins, and the occasional frame-rate drop. While they managed to snag Ed Norton, Liv Tyler and the rest of the main character cast of the movie, the voice-overs point to them being bored and uninterested in putting forth any effort.
Fans of the Hulk and fans of open-world games need not apply. Simply put, there is no reason that anyone should pay money to play this game.
Originally Written By: Art