An explanation ensues. This isn’t a review nor a top 10 list but a new section we’ve come up with. 3WS stands for “three-way showdown”, here we’re going to compare three different games that have something in common. In all honesty, this is just a way to avoid having to make a review for each one of the three games and instead compresing it up in just one article. But I think it could be interesting, and helpful too. This way you people can learn about three different games at the same time and then decide whichever you prefer.
In today’s 3-Way Showdown, we have three franchises that got rebooted last gen to various degrees of success. Bionic Commando, Splatterhouse and Wolfenstein. Let’s have a look at them.
What are they?
The three games have in common being a part of a long running franchise that decided to reboot itself and make an appearance on ps3 but, looking at them individually they’re pretty different. They are action games but while Wolfenstein is a first person shooter, Bionic Commando plays in third person with a high enphasis on platforming and Splatterhouse is a 3D hack n’slash type of game a la God of War.
AKA the things that set these games apart AKA what made these games interesting.
In the case of Bionic Commando It’s pretty obvious, the swinging mechanic. You are given some bionic grappling hook and with it you can grab onto ledges and other objects to swing around the environments. You can also use it to grab enemies and throw them against each other and stuff like that.
For Wolfenstein, what they introduced were powers. Maybe inspired by the success of Bioshock, they made BJ Blazkowicz acquire different powers from a different dimension to help him during the firefights. You could slow down time, create a shield that blocked enemy bullets and, outside of combat they were also useful to open new paths as he got into that supernatural dimension.
What distinguishes Splaterhouse the most isn’t really something really unique for its genre. Lots of hack n’slashers are gory but splatterhouse wanted to add a new layer to that, making a game so gory that it’s gross. You could see Kratos rip someone’s head off in GOW but, can you see him pulling the insides out of someone’s own ass? Well, in splatterhouse you can.
The good parts
The stuff that these games got right. Unfortunately for some, not all of these games deserve as much praise as some others so the balance may seem a little off here.
Splatterhouse’s highlights would be its engaging super violent combat and the fact that, out of the three games, it’s the one that pays most hommage to the older titles in the franchise; in enemy designs, having some classic 2D segments and even giving you the chance to play ports of those games once you finish the campaign.
The best part about Wolfenstein is that it’s simply a pretty good classic fps. The main campaign isn’t an afterthought, levels are well designed and, the most important part, the shooting feels satisfying. There’s something about the sound of the weapons and specially the effect that cause them on the enemies that it’s just spot on.
As for Bionic Commando, I found the shooting to be better than I expected even though the game encourages you to use your bionic arm to beat on enemies by giving you little ammo.
The bad ones
None of these games are remembered as masterpieces so obviously they had some bad stuff in them and, just like with the good things, some of them have more bad things than others.
For example, Wolfenstein’s main sin would be the fact that they tried to create an open world but they only got half way. It could have been a highlight of the game if they implemented it properly but they didn’t. They simply created a hub world to connect the different levels in the game and it didn’t pay off. That hub world feels lifeless and just some obstacle that wastes your time between the much more entertaining levels.
Splatterhouse’s drawbacks could be summarized in two. First, the loadtimes. They’re too long and they are specially annoying when you just died and have to restart. Fortunately for me, I didn’t find the game too hard so I didn’t have to suffer that loadtime often.
The second negative would be its lazy final levels. Someone at the studio thought the game was too short and they decided to pad the game just copying and pasting the same enemies over and over in drawn out arenas. The last level of this game is pure filler and the final bossfight is a qte, why did they want to leave the game on a low note? I’ll never know.
As for Bionic Commando, where do I start? The story is cheesy and bad yet it takes itself quite serious. The bionic arm which is the main pillar of the game, isn’t quite there. Its autolock doesn’t work as it should and the physics of the swinging are unnatural. By the end of the game you get used to it but, what should be the main draw of the game is actually pretty dissapointing.
Also, the way the levels are designed doesn’t make for a very engaging experience. The objectives you’re given are pretty dull and the game’s world doesn’t feel immersive because what’s supposed to be a destroyed city it’s fragmented in small linear rooms.
Here we have three games that are very different in the way I enjoyed them. Wolfenstein I consider it to be a pretty underrated title and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys some first person action. It’s not as good as the ps4 wolfenstein games but it’s still a very enjoyable experience.
As for Splatterhouse, anyone nostalgic of the original games would do themselves a favor by picking it up. It captures the gory essence of the older titles and it even gives you the chance to return to them since they’re included in the disc. It’s a flawed game but fans of the slashing action could still have a good time.
I’m sure there will be some people that will enjoy Bionic Commando but I’m certainly not one of them. If only they made the swinging to be actually fun…