This is undeniably sexualised violence, and it only gets worse when they finally catch up with the girl they're trying to save and discover - SPOILERS AHOY - that she actually wants to be a hooker. It's wretched, sophomoric crap - closer to the latter day output of the increasingly embarrassing Frank Miller than anything Alan Moore ever intended - and the sort of thing that makes gaming look so terminally adolescent to the rest of the world.
Taking a long shower and moving on to more tangible criticisms, it's also a much smaller game this time around. The first Watchmen game dragged its heels over a painful six stages, but this one can only muster three. That's a blessing, quite frankly, but when you can almost complete the game twice in the time it would take to watch the movie on DVD questions of value have to enter the equation.
It doesn't even feel right calling this an episodic game, such is the repetition on display. Episodic implies distinct chapters, but apart from three or four cut-scenes totalling maybe five minutes of new plot, this feels more like a reskinned re-release of a game barely six months old than a continuation of an ongoing saga. Things pick up near the end, when there's a twist of sorts that finally intersects this insipid narrative with the story we know from the book, but it's too little, too late.
All the old complaints regarding gameplay are still horribly relevant, of course. There's the beginning of a decent combo system here, but sluggish movement and unresponsive controls put a damper on any attempt to play as anything more than a crude button-masher. Scenery clipping is constant, and the camera is an unruly thing, jerking about during special moves and requiring constant right-stick attention to keep enemies in view.
As before, the two heroes look passable but all other figures are crudely cut-and-pasted mannequins. The environments aren't bad, but repetition remains a problem. Too many areas look absolutely identical, so much so that they've had to include a button prompt that points you in the right direction. Common enough in openworld titles, but in a game that unfailingly follows a single linear path, that's not a good sign.
The AI is laughable across the board so the only threat comes from being cornered by multiple enemies. Keep your distance and they'll often just stand there, looking at you, or running on the spot into a wall. Your AI partner isn't much better, calling for assistance more than they offer it, but even that's pointless since it's impossible for them to die. It's quite possible to get through some encounters by waiting in the corner and letting these inept AI drones slowly bludgeon each other to death. It's borderline criminal, therefore, that the game still only offers offline co-op play. Even though the levels offer only half-hearted attempts at challenges that require two players, to not offer online play makes this rickety farce feel even more outdated than it is.
Watchmen Part 2 therefore manages the rather impressive feat of actually being a worse game than its bone-headed predecessor. The gameplay is as leaden as before, but now there's even less of it, and a good chunk of it comes drizzled in an icky misogynist sauce. It's certainly the most unpleasant afternoon's gaming I've endured in a long time. If you can't find a better recipient for your Microsoft Points after the stellar line-up of the last month, you probably deserve every poorly rendered punch and kick coming your way.