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XBLA Review: Bionic Commando Rearmed 2

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Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 is an ambitious sequel to the 2008 Rearmed game that sought to “de-boot” the franchise back to its original roots from the late ’80s. As a platformer, BCR2 looks to increase the fun and features with new weapons, abilities, and the ability to make Nathan Spencer jump!

The signature of the Bionic Commando series has always been taking the 2D platformer genre and reinventing how you navigate about the strategically placed enemies and obstacles. As a soldier with an extendable bionic arm, you run and rappel through each level and attempt to beat bosses along the way. By adding the ability to jump, many Bionic Commando purists will quickly dismiss this entry. For those purists, though, there is the option to disable the jump ability (as well as an achievement if you go through the game without it).


With additional control to release your claw at certain points during a swing, Nathan uses yet another weapon to reach secrets and hard to reach areas of each level. Even so, developer FatShark has managed to maintain an acceptable–but only acceptable, which is far from that of the last entry–level of difficulty and BC’s signature style.  On the other side though, they have added passive abilities and new equipable weapons to sweeten the pot. These includes abilities like a close range uppercut, electrical hacking equipment, passive health regeneration, and so much more.

FatShark also brought back the “Death From Above” jump that was featured in the series 3D reboot. This sends a shock wave that blasts enemies and destroys some walls for the ability to reach different secrets and powerups.

The first thing BCR fans may notice is that the look of this new game seems to be a bit less neon colored and a bit smaller. As you have more control over Nathan and his swing, the new look of the levels allows you to plan how to get to higher and further than before. As a result of this new view however, there is less detail on the characters. It is as if the background received more graphical updates and attention than the actual elements of the game that provide the action. This makes for a rather bland experience compared to the previous entry.

Throw in the lackluster level modes where you snipe across the map and fly a helicopter and you have a platformer that seems to stray from what really made the Rearmed title shine. Since each level has the option to allow you to jump and use the claw, many of the levels aren’t designed specifically to only allow you to use the claw. This tones down the difficulty level of the level design and attempts to make the game a bit more accessible to casual fans who may be new to the series (playing without the jump does make it far more difficult).


Unfortunately the fun factor is also rather run of the mill. As you blast or swing your way past the idiotic soldiers and bot drones that stand in your way, there is only moderate satisfaction at the end of each level. Since the different upgrades, like the electro claw which was a personal fav, aren’t necessarily needed to complete the game, there isn’t much incentive to replay the levels to find secrets or special abilities. Perfectionists might enjoy the level replays to acquire these items to see what they do, but that excitement too is short lived.

Even the boss battles are initially frustrating, but only until you figure out the pattern. The new Bioscan feature which allows you to find boss weaknesses and secrets kind of gives you the clues needed to defeat the boss. In the end, these bosses put up little resistance to your commando.

Add in a co-op mode that requires the other player to stay a bit too close and you have a platformer that includes a number of interesting new features but doesn’t seem to enhance the Bionic Commando experience. There is fun to be had, yes, but without the immense challenge of the previous entry.

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Language and Mild Violence. This game can also be found on: PSN.

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  • Charles D

    I’m not sure if the jump mechanic was necessary, but it’s fun to play through the levels both with and without using it.