As an extremely hardened and jaded critic (mostly of film), it is sometimes difficult for me to suspend my disbelief (which is shrouded in sarcasm and cynicism as it is) for the proper duration of time in order to emerge myself into something as unrealistic as a video game — particularly a video game that is aimed at the kiddies (I had a hard enough time liking things that were aimed at kids when I was a kid to begin with). So, when I sit down to destroy cutesy animated roadside attractions as a Wind Warrior named Zephyr in a game like Tornado Outbreak, I really have to wonder if I should just “let loose” and “chill the hell out.” Alas, it’s no use: this game does absolutely nothing for me.
Sure, I love to completely level an array of three-dimensional environments as much as the next guy. I can ride all about Liberty City in GTA IV, busting a cap in one mofo’s ass after another for hours on end. In the case of Tornado Outbreak, though, it gets very tiresome very fast.
The premise of the game (I really can’t use the word “plot” here) pits the aforementioned Zephyr against some bad guys called Fire Fliers, who have stolen some power orb thingies and are hiding them on Earth. In order to retrieve them, Zephyr must use his power to conjure up tornadoes to destroy some fire totem doohickeys and basically do the same damn thing over and over again, with less time and harder obstacles as each level progresses.
While I can understand why my kids like it (it’s very simple and easy), adults will probably feel like sending Tornado Outbreak out into the next twister that comes along. The graphics are pretty generic for a PS3 game (I could see this as a budget priced PS2 game, but not as a retail PS3 release), while the gameplay is about what you’d expect for a game where you are a tornado (there’s a Rudy Ray Moore joke hiding in there somewhere).
On the plus side, the audio portions of this game are rather nice, with voice artists Lev Liberman and Mike Vaughn providing a few of their many talents to the project. But voice/music/SFX aspects aside, Tornado Outbreak just doesn’t seem to have any force behind it for anyone over the age of 13.
Tornado Outbreak is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence. This game can also be found on: Wii, and Xbox 360.