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PS2 Review: Godzilla Unleashed

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More of a last gasp for this generation, the third melee fighting Godzilla game from Atari and Pipeworks software is a downturn for this otherwise enjoyable series. Plagued with a smaller roster than its Wii counterpart, pathetic cut scenes, and technical problems galore, Godzilla Unleashed is a game hardly suiting the king of monsters.

Improvements are noticeable since Godzilla Save the Earth. Combat is noticeably tighter, collision is improved, and the levels are significantly larger. Re-balancing of the monsters has improved, though Moguera is still too fast and powerful.

The roster is mostly locked from the start, with only a few choices available. The rest will require multiple play throughs of the story mode to earn enough points to free them of their dim menu selection screens. Even when unlocked, no new additions have been added to the roster, as opposed to the Wii version. Those looking to jump into multi-player will be disappointed in their options, let alone the removal of online play.

Things are made worse by the cheap storytelling methods used. Still comic book style murky images provide the backdrop, hindered further by atrocious voice acting. By itself, the story could resemble that of 1994’s Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, in which an alien force creates crystals which begin taking over the planet.

The game play problems this creates are numerous. Each stage is loaded with these various crystals. Some contain power-ups, a change from the prior entries in this series where they would appear from destroyed buildings. Others fit into the story by making the monsters go berserk, and instead of requiring the players to defeat the familiar Toho kaiju creations, you can instead crush the crystals within seconds and end the fight.

Multi-monster battles are frequent, and the lack of a decent targeting system for beam weapons is a source of frustration. Typically, you’re given a monster to fight alongside with as a team, yet the targeting system will routinely blast the ally with whatever weapon you launch. Trying to use the impossibly touchy right analog aiming mechanics is pointless.

While the monster character models have improved on the PS2 hardware (still not up to par with the Xbox editions of this series however), they bring with them a higher number of issues. The frame rate routinely slows down when more than two creatures are fighting, or if a lot of the city is exposed. The murky city models can be tough to see, not to mention the lack of levels still intact. Most are destroyed by natural disasters, eliminating the fun along with it.

A change that would seem for the better is the ability to wander away from the fray to explore. This introduces a staggering number of annoying camera quirks, from rapid swinging to disorientation when the game thinks you’re trying to move away even if you’re not.

Godzilla Unleashed is a depressing way of going out on the PlayStation 2. It has budget release written all over it, especially with the low production values associated with the story presentation and technical flaws. There’s still a decent, slowly improving button mashing fighter under the problems, but finding it isn’t worth the effort.

Godzilla Unleashed is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS, Wii.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.