Godzilla: Unleashed Reader Review
Right, this game has gotten an awful reception. I cannot think of a site that's given it more than a 4 out of 10, but I've always been suspect of this. My reasoning being that not everyone is a Godzilla fan; not everyone is a Wii fan and the Gamecube game Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee was well received. I had some Paypal laying about and got it on eBay for under £8 with P+P, which seemed a reasonable price.
I enjoyed Godzilla on the Gamecube, but it felt a little bare bones, like a cartridge game: just a basic menu and then jump in and go. Godzilla Unleashed has a much more polished appearance and a training mode. The latter is necessary because the controls are rather involved with extensive use of gestures combined with button presses in order to pull off moves.
At its heart it's a fighting game, but with enormous monsters. The Gamecube game had a "story" mode that consisted of a progressive string of one-on-one monster battles; not really much of a story at all. Godzilla Unleashed has a story mode with more of a story: Crystals are crashing to Earth sent by invading aliens (the same ones from the previous game). In addition the monsters belong to several factions, some of which are working for the aliens, some are interested in the crystals, some are trying to destroy the crystals.
Initially you have a choice of three monsters to control; eventually you will unlock quite a lot by purchasing them with points earned in the different missions. Unlike the Gamecube game, this one is not linear. Stages are different cities and often you have two or more choices of city to go to. Your goal in each city is to destroy the active crystals or take out enemy monsters or sometimes a larger enemy like a spacecraft. You will often have allied monsters on a stage with you that act independently.
If no "win" conditions are achieved the stage ends and you go to the next day/mission. There are frequent cutscenes that advance the plot with audio against static hand-drawn-looking images, which helps keep the focus. Before starting each day/mission your goals are outlined, so it pays to read the opening text because there's no further instruction once you start.
The major critique of this game is the control and I have to agree, it's not perfect, but not as dire as made out. I think the main criticism is that it tries to do too much. The Gamecube game used direction on the stick plus button presses to pull off different moves; this game uses directional shakes of the wiimote followed by button presses. After some thought I can see the logic. The wiimote is exclusively for attack and the nunchuk largely for movement. Using a nunchuk shake for jump is fine, but the problem with the gestures for attacks is that they're not fine-tuned enough so you often will get a false register of the opposite direction you're trying to shake. This isn't a disaster that would stop you from enjoying the game, but it's something that shows this game could have used a little more polish or possibly dialled back the number of gestures available. Having said that, many of the fierce attacks (hold A+B and move the wiimote in a direction) are the same regardless of the direction chosen, but some monsters have more moves than others. The training mode is a must to get a basic feel for it; in the course of playing the story mode you get more of the hang of things and it starts to get familiar. Ranged energy attacks are far more difficult to pull off; you have a meter that doesn't automatically recharge as in the Gamecube game, but must be manually charged. Whilst slightly annoying, it's actually good in a way as it prevents the kind of cheap attacks that plagued the Gamecube version, especially with Destoroyah. It also makes for less long-distance fighting. The damage from energy attacks has also been scaled back a bit and it takes more damage to take down the monsters. As a result fights are a bit longer, which is more in keeping with the films. Basically this game's attacks require a bit more thought and planning; the Gamecube game is basically a button masher and neither one is Street Fighter.
In addition to the single player story you get various multiplayer modes including a customised one where you can set your own win conditions. Add the fact that you can play with up to four players and you have a game that would be a great multi-player monster fest.
Graphics are much better than the 'cube version with very large playfields and no restriction on the distance you can get from the other monsters due to a better zoom out function on the camera. Unlike the Gamecube game you get a bigger sense of scale and the terrain is varied: San Francisco actually has hills! Audio is good with monster sounds just like the movies and sickening thuds from metal on monster flesh.
I think the game lacks a little of the visceral impact of the 'cube game, but greater variety of attack, better visuals, more monster choices (pretty much the entire Millenium and Heisei series monsters as well a number of classic Godzilla movie monsters) and a better story mode make this one the game to get if you're at all a fan of the series or like the idea of trashing Earth's cities with a giant monster. Just be sure to give yourself a chance to get used to the controls before making a final judgement -- especially if you've played an earlier game in the series.
6 / 10