I recently took my Wii out of its box (I’ve been gaming exclusively on the PC nowadays, so the Wii had to retire back to its packaging) because I got a hold of the Wii version of Ben 10: Omniverse, which I found at a local game store being sold for a measly 500 pesos (roughly $12). I felt ecstatic that I found a brand new copy selling for less than half of its retail price. I also remembered that we have a lot of Ben 10 fans on the site, so I might as well try and give you my take on the game.
I won’t beat around the bush or waste your time with several hundred words before you find out if Ben 10: Omniverse for the Wii is good or not. It’s not. It turns out there is a pretty good reason why it’s marked down on the store. Now, if you’re interested in what exactly made the game a disappointment, read on:
The story isn’t really that noteworthy. It’s based on the new show so you have Rook as a CPU-controlled partner. The backstory deals with Rook helping the 11-year old Ben against Malware, only for Malware to consume Rook’s Proto-Tool, resulting in the villain acquiring new powers and setting off a chain of events that alters the future. The game then alternates between young and teenage Ben as they help Rook prevent Malware’s evil plan to destroy the world.
I’ll get the good parts out of the way first. The graphics is top notch, owing to the fact that it uses cel-shading techniques instead of trying to go for realism. It captures the look of the cartoon perfectly (whether that’s a pro or a con depends on your opinion of the new art style, though.) The lighting effects don’t look out of place (a common problem with many cel-shaded games that use FB effects,) and the frame rate is silky smooth.
The gameplay feels similar to Marvel Ultimate Alliance in concept, where you traverse the world in a semi-isometric (the camera can change angles) point of view, and fight waves of enemy with a CPU-controlled ally, while making your way to the end of a level. The twist is Ben Tennyson’s alien forms. You can switch forms on the fly, and there’s a lot more choices this time around compared to previous games, though some of them are locked at the beginning (as expected.)
Technically, the concept is sound. If it were a Ben 10: Omniverse game running on the Marvel Ultimate Alliance engine, I’ll be all over the game like a capuchin monkey on a banana-flavored grape. Unfortunately, Ben 10: Omniverse’s actual gameplay is hampered by one of the most important aspects in a videogame: controls.
I’ll give props to Ben 10: Omniverse for not depending on waggle controls, as very few games actually lend themselves to exclusive use of the Wii’s motion controls. You just use the Nunchuk and the Wiimote to play it like you would a 3rd person brawler on other consoles – joystick for movement, face and shoulder buttons for actions. Once again, the concept is sound but the execution falters.
Controlling Ben is a little bit sluggish, and even with an auto-targeting feature, you’ll still feel a little bit lost once multiple enemies make their way to you. It’s not uncommon to start swinging at an enemy that’s out of reach while the nearer one starts to swing at you. The jumping is especially floaty, which is a big problem for 3-dimensional games as you’ll be having trouble making precise landings – which brings up another problem with Ben 10: Omniverse for the Wii: the level design.
Early on in the game, you’ll be traversing a level that’s full of bottomless pits. And they’re not even necessary to the level design, as they don’t even look that noticeable and the developers could have made the whole stage a solid level full of platforms and invisible walls. I’m not whining about the game being too hard. Dark Souls is hard. Falling through a bottomless pit because you can’t understand which platform is recessed and which one is(coupled with the fact that your character controls like a balloon in the air) is a broken game.
I didn’t get past the first level and gave up. Maybe it gets better towards the end, I don’t know. Maybe I’m breaking some sort of rule amongst game reviewers, but I’m approaching this from the perspective of someone who bought a game, one who feels that if there’s fun parts in a game, devs should put it in the beginning.