Jumper is a licensed title with one decent idea behind it, and it still manages to screw it up. As with the film, the characters have the ability to warp anywhere at any time. This fits right in with the fast paced, beat-em-up mechanics, but the execution is completely off.
Following a smaller side character from the movie (hence the subtitle Griffin’s Story), players traverse a number of locations around the world beating down faceless enemies in a quest to survive. The comic book cinematics feel cheap; yet offer decent artwork to advance the plot.
Insanely repetitive, Jumper is one conflict after another. The player fights, walks, and then fights some more. Discovering various collectibles is the only break from the monotony of combat, and the uncontrollable camera doesn’t make finding them any easier.
The camera also breaks down the somewhat unique fighting engine. Since jumpers have the power to warp, attacks can be delivered from the front, back, or sides. Each attack corresponds with one of the buttons. When the circle beneath the enemy is green, say on his left, then that’s the side to attack from. If it’s red on the right, attacking there will result in a counter attack.
This is a fun idea. Hitting someone from the left and instantly moving to the back to continue a combo string carries a great feel. The player is definitely given the impact of the blows thanks to the animation.
Sadly, trying to figure out what’s the front or back when the camera is swinging around is far too confusing. When you’re face to face behind your character, it all makes sense. If the camera is at your side, the controls are completely different. It’s almost impossible to keep track in your mind what’s left or right, and the result is a countless number of incorrect, unintentional counter attacks.
The fun of warp fatalities are a neat concept in which the player grabs an enemy, warps to a random location, and leave them there. These are done via video, and do offer a fun break from the action (the car crush is a new gaming classic). However, they’re entirely random. There’s no secret button combination to execute them, and with the randomness, you could see the same one three times in a row. After that, it could be two levels before another one pops up.
The idea is in place, yet the execution isn’t. If you’re looking for some quick achievement points, Jumper is one to rent. You’ll grow tired of the sub-par graphics and irritating combat, but at least you can score 500 points in about an hour.
Jumper: Griffin’s Story is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Language and Violence. This game can also be found on: Wii, PS2.