Giant Bomb Review

257 Comments

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse Review

1
  • X360

If you are a fundamentally terrible person on every imaginable level, then Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is the video game for you.

Great news, racists, misogynists, homophobes, and generally terrible people! After a year in which your kind spent much of its time being maligned by people with annoying traits like "sensitivity" and "empathy," you now have a video game with which to vent your frustrations toward people with handicaps, women, a wide variety of ethnicities, and homosexuals. Finally, right?

"Finally, a game that understands my unique sense of humor!" -- A terrible person playing Back to the Multiverse.

Sure, you get some of that stuff on the Family Guy TV series, but there, Seth MacFarlane's tendency toward offensive humor is too often slathered in that dicey concept known as "parody." Sometimes you just want to laugh at hateful words being used to demean others without all the bullshit, you know?

This is what makes Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse so perfect for the asshole on the go. If you simply don't have the time or mental capacity for "jokes" with "punchlines," then by all means, engage Back to the Multiverse for its liberal use of insults and offensive words for what I can only assume was a half-cocked attempt at shock value. Then again, shock value would also imply that you could actually be shocked by any of this stuff. If anything, the only shocking aspect of Back to the Multiverse is how haphazardly said offensive terms are doled out over the course of the game's brief adventure.

While there is a story in Back to the Multiverse--which features Family Guy stalwarts Stewie and Brian teaming up to save the world from a dimension-hopping villain baby--it largely plays second fiddle to the simple act of running around an environment filled with some minority or another, shooting everything in sight, while frequently repeating lines from the show.

Yes, there is a lot of recycled dialogue in Back to the Multiverse, most of it unremarkable, barely-remembered one-liners from its main characters. You can tell the difference between what's old and what's new by the fact that the old lines occasionally feel like they were part of a larger joke. The new dialogue doesn't even know what a larger joke is. If it takes more than ten seconds to set up, deliver, and forget about, Back to the Multiverse doesn't even bother.

With that said, I don't know that Back to the Multiverse was so much "written" as it was "hastily slapped together," but no matter, because the most important thing is that you're being horrible to those that are probably different from you. The game literally opens with a rapid-fire assault highlighting the grossness of Greek people and the sluttiness (and requisite daddy issues) of sorority chicks, and then dovetails into a lovely little level-length treatise on handicapped people and their terrifying sense of entitlement.

To be fair, not all of Back to the Multiverse is obsessed with calling things queer and the hilariously slutty antics of women. Later in the game, things move into more decidedly bizarre territory, featuring long stretches where you're killing Secret Service agents tasked with protecting Mayor McCheese, and space chickens that behave similarly to the Xenomorphs from Alien. So there's your referential humor, I guess, if that's what you're after.

Regardless of who you're killing for what reason, you will do it with haphazard shooting mechanics that qualify as functional, if utterly uninvolving. There's no real challenge to Back to the Multiverse. You'll die if you get shot up, but unless you've completely run out of the game's collectible currency, you'll always start right back where you got shot. Well, until the last few levels, which inexplicably have a tendency to start you way further back than seems reasonable. But otherwise, you're just running around, blasting wildly until everything's dead.

Some might think that Back to the Multiverse is just emblematic of its source material, but it's not. The TV series looks nuanced, compared to this garbage.

Keep in mind that Back to the Multiverse's gameplay design isn't really set up for anything more strategic than that. The mechanics function more like a lousy arena shooter than a typical third-person adventure, so there's a lot of running and shooting, and not much else. If we were talking about a game with a challenge level similar to, say, Serious Sam, that might have worked out better. But Back to the Multiverse isn't interested in challenging you so much as it is killing time until its next offensive one-liner.

This all makes a bit more sense when you try out Back to the Multiverse's barely existent multiplayer. Yes, there's two-player co-op in the campaign, but if your desire to force Back to the Multiverse on people requires more sacrifices, there are offline deathmatch and "capture the greased-up deaf guy" modes to play around with. Incidentally, all relevant humor in the "capture the greased-up deaf guy" mode can be found in the title "capture the greased-up deaf guy," so really, you don't even have to play it to get the joke.

If you're the sort of person who doesn't inherently find the concepts of greased-up deaf people, Amish people commenting on their sex lives, older women grotesquely demanding group sex from frat boys, people in wheelchairs falling over, or "the gays" completely hilarious, do not get angry at Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse. This is not a game that deserves your anger. If it in any way felt deliberate, focused, or frankly invested in its own sense of humor, then maybe it would be deserving of such ire. As it is, Back to the Multiverse is a game that those with any modicum of taste should simply forget ever happened. To attempt to highlight its existence beyond a mere blunt dismissal is to give it entirely too much credit. Which I suppose I just did. Crap.

Alex Navarro on Google+
258 Comments
Posted by iAmJohn

@Crushed said:

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is actually funny (at times). The cutscenes read like they could be part of the show, with the exception that they look bizarre in 3D, and the sight gags in the levels are good for a chuckle. Packing a Mature rating, the game even gets crasser than the TV show in a few sections, notably in the frat boy level where a drunken Lois asks “Any of you boys ever finish on a C-section scar?” and follows up with “I can’t have babies anymore, so fill me up, fellas!”

There’s a lot to enjoy, but none of it will knock your socks off.

-IGN.com, pinnacles of professional criticism

What the fuck, man.

Posted by Phatmac

If reviews like this mean that you have to play bad games then I'm all for it.

Posted by JoeyRavn

I wonder if whoever decides what games Alex has to review will enjoy Back to the Multiverse. It seems pretty obvious that whoever he is, he's a terrible person.

Posted by MagikGimp

The graphics are quite nice? But then again, the Koreans who do the CG bits every week achieve the same quality. And they're not even paid.

Posted by Alex

@anotherfluke: I see your point, but also consider that sometimes, a game's mechanics simply don't matter as much as the content. In this case, the mechanics are merely functional delivery methods for garbage humor. There's not much to report on how the game plays beyond what I already said, because it's so inconsequential when put up against the torrent of bullshit the script/design throws at you.

Staff
Posted by Johnnybombazini

the funniest thing about this game is that actually played this

Posted by BenderUnit22

Quicklook or I don't believe a word.

Online
Posted by Forum_User

That's just Duke being Duke.

See, referential humor. I ruined it by having to explain it. Fuck it. Nevermind.

Posted by MasturbatingestBear

@Alex: Sorry you keep having to review the terrible games Alex, but maybe now you can give us more video reviews like your Charlie's Angels review:

Posted by Crono

I love a bad game because the reviews are always so much more fun to read. I feel like the review is more fun than the game. Of course, I'll never know for sure since I don't plan on ever playing this.

Posted by PhilipDuck

Shouldn't someone who enjoys Family Guy review the Family Guy game? Sure the game is terrible anyway but still would make for a little less of a bias review..

Posted by HellBound

Even though I knew it would be bad, I still had some hope.

Posted by Jumbs

@PhilipDuck said:

Shouldn't someone who enjoys Family Guy review the Family Guy game? Sure the game is terrible anyway but still would make for a little less of a bias review..

The fact I think nobody who works for giantbomb likes Family Guy makes me enjoy this website even more.

Posted by Winternet

Forget about this shitty game and let me ask you about Goty stuff. Are you going to have the usual top10 list video like previous years or will it be something more elaborate this time? Also, do you intend on doing a top list for music? If so, where could we find it this time around? I always love reading those.

Posted by Gunrun

"Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is the video game for you."

There you go Activision, a box quote for you.

Posted by Encephalon

Alex earning his keep once again as the most talented writer on GB.

The only thing that makes me feel less weird about his talent being directed toward shit like Family Guy, is the fact that he also reviewed The Walking Dead.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Alex Navarro may be my favorite deliverer of written vitriol. It's a pity that it's relegated to only a few unabashedly terrible video games per year, as opposed to one movie per week, but I'll take what I can get.

Posted by darkvare

i wanna see a quick look of this i can imagine jeff getting a black eye from all the facepalming

Posted by bhlaab

Quick look! Quick look!

Posted by jsnyder82

If this guy has to review one more shitty game like this, he's going to snap. Please give him a AAA title.

Posted by Animasta

@Gunrun said:

"Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is the video game for you."

There you go Activision, a box quote for you.

"if you are a fun... person on every imaginable level, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is the video game for you."

that's a better one, because everyone likes to think they are fun persons.

Posted by anotherfluke

@Alex: Agreed, content matters a great deal with games. Licensed IP I think lives in a slightly different world though, because it has a built in fanbase who will enjoy the game no matter how many hookers you run over or regardless of the gross hypersexualization of the protagonist The fans who look past a game's transgressions (or who revel in them) do have the parts of your review that discuss how the game actually plays, but if I was one of those fanboys, I'd feel like what criticism is there feels tainted by the sheer volume of vitriol leading up to it.

Having said all that, I realize that if I want clinical "objective" reviews, there are other outlets for that. This review was fun to read after all. But coming into it as a fairly neutral third party, I finished the review feeling like I still didn't know if there were interesting aspects of the game that got sandblasted away in the reviewer's mind by all the content, and I am forced to leave the review feeling like I still don't know the game. I am familiar enough with you as a reviewer to trust your criticisms are accurate, but I still wonder. This is only food for thought, I do think you do great work!

Posted by machinerebel

I'm glad this game was terrible, because this review is fantastic. Although, I can just imagine a hypothetical where the developers decided not to make a steaming pile of garbage and released, at least, a modestly mediocre game instead. Mark one up for Family Guy for finally belonging to the club of adult cartoons with shitty action games (Simpsons, South Park, Futurama, etc...).

Posted by admanb

@PhilipDuck said:

Shouldn't someone who enjoys Family Guy review the Family Guy game? Sure the game is terrible anyway but still would make for a little less of a bias review..

What makes you think he doesn't enjoy it? The only mention of it is this:

Sure, you get some of that stuff on the Family Guy TV series, but there, Seth MacFarlane's tendency toward offensive humor is too often slathered in that dicey concept known as "parody." Sometimes you just want to laugh at hateful words being used to demean others without all the bullshit, you know?

Which, while not inherently positive, does clearly set the TV show apart from the game.

Posted by kerse

@Alex: Does it make me a bad person that I get happy every time I see a review from you of an awful game?

Posted by Swifdemon

Why does Alex review bad games? Has he become addicted?

Posted by buft

Fair enough, the family guy licence might not merit the greatest game crossover but god damn if they cant even get the humor right then there is absolutely no point in acquiring the licence in the first place.

Posted by Ravelle

@Johnnybombazini said:

Worst thing about this is that it'll probably sell okay

By oblivious people who don't read gaming websites or have good people around them to tell them to not buy horrible games.

Posted by ThePickle

Endurance Run.

Posted by Video_Game_King

What the hell? This game started in development in 2008, right? In the Love, Blactually and The Former Life of Brian period, right? I refuse to believe that this was written alongside Family Guy episodes that don't suck steaming piles of ass.

Posted by ArtisanBreads

@jsnyder82 said:

If this guy has to review one more shitty game like this, he's going to snap. Please give him a AAA title.

Alex does get the crap games but he reviews good games as well. He just reviewed the Walking Dead for the site.

Posted by RonnieBarzel

@evanbower said:

Only just now do I appreciate that The Simpsons Game was a kind of funny, well-written, decent couch co-op game.

Agreed. That and The Simpsons: Hit and Run. Amazing how these two games have risen in esteem as the years have gone by.

Posted by Animasta

@Swifdemon said:

Why does Alex review bad games? Has he become addicted?

jeff made him review it because jeff is a mean person

Posted by Bigandtasty

@PhilipDuck said:

Shouldn't someone who enjoys Family Guy review the Family Guy game? Sure the game is terrible anyway but still would make for a little less of a bias review..

I would not be surprised if Alex likes Family Guy the most out of the g-bomb staff.

@Alex said:

@anotherfluke: Actually, if you read carefully, you'd note that I specifically say this game is horrendous completely outside the normal bounds of Family Guy. I don't even have a problem with Family Guy or MacFarlane. I think he is capable of being clever at times. This game exudes absolutely none of that cleverness, and just goes for the cheap giggle from every douchebag who thinks calling things 'gay' is hilarity incarnate. And I specifically said as much up front and in one of the captions.

Posted by Trilogy

@RonnieBarzel said:

@evanbower said:

Only just now do I appreciate that The Simpsons Game was a kind of funny, well-written, decent couch co-op game.

Agreed. That and The Simpsons: Hit and Run. Amazing how these two games have risen in esteem as the years have gone by.

Hit and run was fantastic. I played it at the height of my obsession with the show so it resonated even more then it would have otherwise. Road rage wasn't too bad either if I remember correctly although not as good as Hit and run.

Posted by Benny

My review of Alex's review:

Alex's written reviews of bad games transcend the realm of mere purchasing advice and are instead extremely entertaining in their own right.
4 Stars
Posted by Deusx

Poor Alex, seriously poor duder. He's awesome, he doesn't deserve to go through this.

Posted by Hawkerace

Reflecting on all the bad TV video games, I remembered the Futurama one for xbox. That was awesome from what I recall.

Posted by zeekthegeek

I love the one family guy hardcore fanboy who shows up in the thread and thinks Bias is a proper noun. Good stuff

Posted by beard_of_zeus

@BenderUnit22 said:

Quicklook or I don't believe a word.

There is hope! Fingers crossed.

via Mr. Alex Navarro's twitter:

I've agreed to do a Family Guy Quick Look when I arrive in SF, but only if @jeffgerstmann does it with me. Awaiting a response.

Edited by BaconGames

You know, as much as laughing at or pointing out bad games is important, was it really worth it to commit a review for this game? For the time spent playing and writing about this game, I think I would have much preferred a review of any of the small/indie games that only got a Quick Look on the site. Who else wouldn't have liked a review follow-up for Hell Yeah!, Closure, Snapshot, Karateka, or Retro City Rampage? I feel like Alex's time would have been better served giving him this than reviewing a game that a QL would have immediately made apparent is dog shit.

Posted by Lurkero

This game seems like it was specially made so that reviewers could use the lower end of the review scale. Based on some of the reviews it wouldn't even make a good Family Guy episode better yet an entire game.

@anotherfluke said:

But coming into it as a fairly neutral third party, I finished the review feeling like I still didn't know if there were interesting aspects of the game that got sandblasted away in the reviewer's mind by all the content, and I am forced to leave the review feeling like I still don't know the game.

You have a point. However, I think the fact that Alex didn't spend too much time describing gameplay is reflective of the idea that there isn't much of a game here. The game seems more like an alternate delivery method for Family Guy jokes that have interactive content thrown between them. This has been the case with many licensed games in the past.

Alex pretty much sums up what he thinks the game is here:

The mechanics function more like a lousy arena shooter than a typical third-person adventure, so there's a lot of running and shooting, and not much else. If we were talking about a game with a challenge level similar to, say, Serious Sam, that might have worked out better. But Back to the Multiverse isn't interested in challenging you so much as it is killing time until its next offensive one-liner.

Posted by JayCee

I demand a quick look of this game.

Though- that would probably give it more exposure than it deserves. But Operation: Quick Look Everything must go on.

Posted by casper_

im glad this game came out because it led to this hilarious review

Posted by Ramone

Alex has perfected video game criticism as an art.

Posted by mustachioeugene

Awesome review of what looks to be a terrible game.

Edited by Dan_CiTi

@BaconGames said:

You know, as much as laughing at or pointing out bad games is important, was it really worth it to commit a review for this game? For the time spent playing and writing about this game, I think I would have much preferred a review of any of the small/indie games that only got a Quick Look on the site. Who else wouldn't have liked a review follow-up for Hell Yeah!, Closure, Snapshot, Karateka, or Retro City Rampage? I feel like Alex's time would have been better served giving him this than reviewing a game that a QL would have immediately made apparent is dog shit.

Yeah, there probably should have been like, a good 30 or so minute Quick Look devoted to this game and an actual review to some really good stuff like RCR, Hell Yeah!, Closure, and Snapshot. But yeah, the way the GB is structured usually works well, but sadly stuff falls through the cracks that is really good too. Like RCR, which they wrote off as a cute, decent reference-based game which while it does that well, I feel it pulls off a lot more and is just a solid, great straight-up game too.

Posted by Linkster7

It feel kinda old school having Alex review a terrible game. I like it.

Posted by AuthenticM

Alex was the perfect guy for this review. :)

Posted by NTM

@ArtisanBreads said:

@jsnyder82 said:

If this guy has to review one more shitty game like this, he's going to snap. Please give him a AAA title.

Alex does get the crap games but he reviews good games as well. He just reviewed the Walking Dead for the site.

And just because he reviews shitty games doesn't mean he doesn't play all the great games as well.