The Incredible Hulk Review «

If nothing else, The Incredible Hulk for the Wii and PlayStation 2 is a lesson in rising standards. Even if your history book for open-world gaming only goes back to Grand Theft Auto III, your expectations for sandbox games set in giant cities have likely gone up dramatically. While many superhero games try and fail to build compelling urban environments to fight crime in — the PS3 and 360 versions of Incredible Hulk were merely average in doing so — this movie tie-in is a particularly stunning example of how not to create an open-world game.
When playing a game that’s meant to feel epic, it’s the details that make or break things — details this game shamefully lacks. Though the mediocre fetch-quest-filled mission structure (largely a lame excuse to make Hulk punch more dudes) and embarrassing (but thankfully short) story sequences are pulled over directly from Hulk’s more powerful console brothers, the graphics take a startling punch. The game’s New York City is covered in a layer of fog so thick that it’s a wonder that Hulk doesn’t choke on it when jumping from building to building. Worse yet, if you get close enough to a skyscraper to actually see it through all the bleary grayness, you’re greeted with sub-N64-caliber box-shaped textures. Sure, Hulk can tear down nearly any building in the city, but when they look this bad — and barely react to the Marvel monster’s smashing — the joy of simple destruction dissipates pretty quickly.

Click the image above to check out all The Incredible Hulk screens.
While the visuals will probably make you laugh, the Wii version’s controls are more likely to bring you to tears. Hulk has a long list of moves in his arsenal, but with the Wii Remote’s limited number of buttons, you’ll look pretty ridiculous trying to pull them off. Several of the most powerful maneuvers in the game — including the often-needed healing ability — require shaking the Nunchuk, usually in combination with pressing buttons on the Wii-mote. Fifty percent of the time, this won’t register correctly, causing you to miss an opportunity for a perfectly timed hit…and 100 percent of the time, you’ll feel stupid as you desperately wave the Nunchuk back and forth.

Add to those woes the inability to quickly and easily move the camera for targeting enemies (you need to move your thumb down to the minus button and then aim the camera with the Wii-mote) and the Wii is clearly the worst of all of the Incredible Hulk console releases. The PS2 version is a little better, due to the more traditional control scheme that this game is clearly designed for — but it still suffers from the game’s other flaws. From the muddy graphics to occasional game freezes to weirdly impossible-to-read text, everything about Incredible Hulk indicates that it was a sloppy, rushed port of an already so-so game.

Click the image above to check out all The Incredible Hulk screens.
I hate to sound like a broken record stuck repeating quotes from 1UP reviews editor Nick Suttner’s Hulk review, but the comparisons between this game and Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction are unavoidable. Ultimate Destruction was on the PS2 as well, but it still had a beautifully rendered, detailed city that was fully visible from any rooftop — and a blast to wreak havoc on. Instead of building on that better game, though, Incredible Hulk is a weak attempt at mimicking it. Maybe I should have expected a Hulk game to fill me with rage…or maybe developer Edge of Reality just didn’t think we’d have any expectations at all.


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