Review by GameMaStar

""Godzilla: Save the Earth Unleashed""

Preface:
I'm going to start by saying that I really enjoyed Save the Earth (and DAMM before it, but particularly StE). I mean I really got a kick out of it. I enjoyed it on a level that most people didn't get to - online competitive play. I've made some friends while playing who share a similar passion for the game and Godzilla. I've been playing StE for nearly 3 years straight. For the first 5-6 months, there wasn't a day that went by where I didn't playing it. I'm going to go out and pompously say I've likely played StE more than 95% of everyone, including the developers (the 5% know who they are). I only say this to make it clear what kind of mind-set I'm coming from when reviewing GU.

Review:
We've all already played Godzilla: Unleashed. I don't just mean myself; I mean anyone who has played Godzilla: Save the Earth has already played GU. Terribly unfortunately, this is because Unleashed is Save the Earth, (with the exception of some truly minor details) but it's simply a different version of it.

This game is an anomaly, since it's essentially a game I already love, shouldn't this mean I love Unleashed as well? No. There are many problems with this game. The main one being that it doesn't feel new. I played this game on auto-pilot. I was literally not even thinking about what I was doing because I already knew exactly how to play, and win. I played it completely devoid of any stimulation. I wasn't having fun. This should never happen when playing a new game of any kind.

The Good:
Surely the developers must have improved something. Well, thankfully there are some changes. However, the only reason I'm able to list them is because I'm familiar with StE, and these are the positive changes. To those who didn't play StE much, these changes will, understandably, go completely unnoticed:

The interface is simplified as is the in-game HUD, a struggle animation was added to when you are grabbed, the camera now rotates to the Versus mode camera angle in Melee mode when only 2 monster are left, there is more variety to the levels, Baragon has an improved model, Moguera has a new get-up attack animation, Orga's get-up attack has been tweaked, power-ups no longer have pre-determined placements, Super-X 3 was removed, Battra and Obsidius are playable, the new music is decent.

It was very hard to come up with the above list, and some of them are a stretch to classify as positive.

The Bad:
Ouch - that's my reaction to how many bad aspects to this game there are. Many of these aspects are only bad because Godzilla: Save the Earth existed before this game.

The camera is atrocious when playing the Story mode. I can't understand why the camera starts behind the monster, then swings around seemingly at random after you stand around the other monsters for a while. It's jarring and throws off the gameplay. Why doesn't the camera simply start at the default Melee or Versus angle?

The objectives are never made clear from the level intro screens or the cut-scenes. Why should I have to pause the game to bring up the objectives so I know what I'm supposed to be doing?

You still can't skip opening logos. StE had an Atari logo, a Pipeworks logo, the Toho trademarks, and the Dolby logo, and finally a skippable opening cut scene. This took nearly 2 minutes to just get to the main menu. This time, there isn't a Dolby logo but after seeing the opening logos once, that's it, the player should never be forced to watch them again. What's worse, the new opening FMV sequence is pre-rendered, and at a terrible resolution, and it's simply the PS2 gameplay trailer we've already seen.

Throws no longer send monsters flying through the air forward, the monsters simply fall to the ground, as if dropped or they broke out of it. This causes some extremely poor looking monster interaction. Kiryu's throw animation appears like he's hurling the monster (as it used to be) except now the thrown monsters simply plummet like an anvil as he releases them. Godzilla 2000's uppercut throw, which used to be a set-up for a vicious combo is completely impossible now. Same with the standard throw that all monster have. I don't understand why this was changed for the worse.

Someone asked me if there was something wrong with the television while I was playing GU. The TV was fine, it's the games graphics on certain levels that make the screen look like it's fading to black. The Seattle level, and the New York level are so dark, it caused someone to think my TV was faulty... I don't need to explain why that's bad.

Power surges - there is no way to tell what they are in-game. You gain them, except the game doesn't tell you what they do. The manual explains them but, they are represented as indistinguishable icons in-game and their effect on gameplay is negligible. Keep in mind we lost rage moves for this.

The sound is just as bad as it was in StE. There was a sound glitch in one match which had an exploding noise repeating non-stop. That explosive squishy sound, the tin-can banging metal, and general bland sounds are unchanged. The sound effect for Destoroyah's beam, and Obsidius' roar are the only new sound effects I heard the entire time I played.

The graphic-novel cut-scenes are at times, worse than the worst Godzilla dubbing. The dialog is hard to stand in English. Changing over to Japanese is hardly better. I speak Japanese, so for the most part it was understandable, save for the character Miku, who speaks as if she's on a caffeine-rush, but for those who don't speak it, the subtitles aren't going to help. The subtitles are displayed on screen as paragraphs, not as sentences as the characters are saying them. The subtitles are always about 10-15 seconds behind what is actually being said, so nothing ever matches up to what's being shown or spoken. This makes the cut-scenes (in Japanese) borderline unintelligible, since you can't tell who's saying what.

Online play was removed. The game will sell less because of it. This was a huge mistake. This is a standard feature on fighting games nowadays, the fact that it was in the previous game makes its omission inexcusable.

The manual, while in full color, which might be why the game costs $40, is also once again not all nearly what it could've been. The underlying depth of the StE fighting engine is still intact in this game, but the manual doesn't have move lists for any of the monsters. The previous manuals had this, there is not reason why they couldn't have just reprinted the PS2 StE manual's move list. To add insult to injury the manual shows screenshots from the Wii version along with the main menu screen, which shows footage of the Wii version.

Battra and Obsidius are Orga and Mothra with different beams and sound effects. Battra's larval form horns clip into the ground as he crawls on his belly (he never did this in the movie) which looks very amateurish. Obsidius has the most generic saurian roar we've all heard in cartoons and movies dozens of times. These characters should be the games highlights, instead they are poorly conceived and add nothing to the game.

Conslusion:
This game was made with one thought in mind - maximize profits on the release of the actual new Godzilla game, Godzilla: Unleashed for Wii. There are changes made to the game that I understand, and others that are completely illogical. Having said that, the game should stand on its own. The problem is that Godzilla: Save the Earth came out almost exactly 3 years ago, and since this is basically "Godzilla: Save the Earth Unleashed". One could swap out this game for the other in your PS2 and no one would notice. This game feels like a 3-year old game that you've already played.

It is clear little time and effort went into the developement of this game. Everyone at Pipeworks should look at this as how not to make games from now on. I understand it's a business, but selling a rehash of a 3 year old game for $40 on an out-dated, inferior system, no matter how popular it is, is not good business practice, and is looked down upon by gamers when they find out they've been borderline schemed.

This game should've been a patch for StE, but since it's not, for those who have never played Godzilla: Save the Earth before, you can buy this because StE isn't available in stores any more. For those who have played StE, skip this, unless you feel like giving Atari and Pipeworks money.

Thanks for reading, if you did, I look forward to reading other's views.

- GameMaStah

Note: There were some miscellaneous changes such as monsters no longer gain health from attacks as in the previous game. Also, beam battles seem to have been altered in that you can no longer change what color you intially press. I had hoped beam battles would've been removed altogether since no one understands them anyways. Critical Mass also has the same explosion, and animation as Rage mode did, and the monsters glow red just like rage mode, except you cannot maintain Rage Mo- I mean Critical Mass by destroying crystals as you supposedly can in the Wii version. These are such a neutral changes, they're hardly worth mentioning.

The frame-rate is also horrendous, depending on the camera angle, and considering it's on the PS2, I won't fault it for that. It feels like your playing with lag though.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/07

Game Release: Godzilla: Unleashed (US, 11/20/07)


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