Giant Bomb Review


G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review

  • X360
  • PS3

It's really hard to imagine anyone having anything that even resembles a good time while playing G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

The vehicles control really, really poorly. 
It's tempting to go after G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra's story and fiction because of all the dopey liberties it takes with the G.I. Joe source material. But those are the same liberties taken with the film upon which this game is based. So it's not the game's fault that Destro talks with a Scottish accent or that the redesigned Cobra Commander looks awful. Unfortunately, the game part of this licensed release is even worse. It's an awful shooter that requires no skill to play and manages to be almost completely impossible to enjoy, largely thanks to its atrocious camera. It looks and behaves like a bad downloadable game, yet still comes on a disc and sits on shelves with an asking price of $49.99. And though I haven't seen the film yet, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that even people who come away from the movie loving it still won't find any bright spots in this bad, bad shooter.

The game puts you in the boots of several different members of G.I. Joe as they fight against a still-rising Cobra. You work through four different areas, each with several missions. Along the way you'll find dog-tags that give you the option to unlock more characters, each with a different weapon. You eventually get the ability to unlock a few different members of Cobra, as well. This doesn't make much sense from a story perspective, and the throwaway line of dialogue at the beginning of such a mission, where Storm Shadow makes some crammed-in comment about tainting his soul or something by working with the Joes doesn't really do much to explain it. But you get the impression that no one was really interested in making it all make sense, instead focusing on getting as many different classic characters from the franchise in there as possible. That's noble, but the occasional bit of fan service doesn't make the gameplay any better.

The Rise of Cobra is a third-person shooter that feels like a misguided mix of classic arcade games like Commando and modern shooters like Gears of War. The camera is pulled back and moves automatically, but it also has (offline only) co-op play and a cover mechanic. Weirdly enough, you heal much faster when behind cover, but most of the cover is destructible, so when you need it most, it's not going to be there long enough to make a difference. Instead, you're better off making use of the game's roll button, which lets you flip out of the way and dodge incoming fire. The game does all of the aiming for you, so a lot of the action is of the "hold up on the analog stick while holding the fire button" variety. This gets incredibly annoying when you're trying to shoot at a specific target, as the right stick that's supposed to let you select different targets doesn't work very well at all. If you have two enemies ahead of you and want to shoot one instead of the other, it can be frustratingly difficult to get the auto-aim to obey. Half the time, the auto-aim seems to lock onto some off-screen object--usually a helpless box that gives you points when shot--and shoot at it until it's dead while you flail around trying to get it to aim at something that's actually shooting back at you.

You'll have to run up and punch shielded enemies. 
On the game's default difficulty setting, there's very little difference between pass and fail. If you run out of health, your character goes down on one knee for a few seconds, then stands back up with full health. The only penalty is that you'll lose some of the points you've accumulated, resulting in a lower end-of-level ranking, which nets you fewer points to spend on unlocking additional characters. The higher difficulty settings add the possibility of failure and also have higher scoring multipliers, but adding some semblance of challenge to the proceedings doesn't really fix anything that's wrong with the game. It just means it'll take you more time to play a game you probably shouldn't be playing in the first place.

In addition to the on-foot shooting, the game offers up a few vehicles and a satellite minigame where you blast ground troops with an orbital laser. While a break from the standard action is a good idea, the vehicle control is a mess. The laser minigame is decent, but that's also where I ran into an issue where the game wouldn't advance at the end of the minigame, leaving me stuck and forcing me to abort the mission and start over.

But the occasional bug isn't what makes G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra a bad game. There's no one thing that you can point at here. Every little thing about it, from the bland presentation to the dead-simple gameplay, conspires to make the final product incredibly lame. It has the depth of a bad downloadable game with the price tag of a full-on retail release. It's the worst of both worlds. And now you know. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
61 Comments Refresh
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Posted by FlappyHands

Hahaha, one star! Classic.

Posted by Gav47

Awwww, poor GI Joe

Edited by PhatSeeJay

Now I know!
And knowing is half the battle.

Posted by Osphere


Posted by FrankCanada97

Surprise, surprise.

Posted by VWGTI


Posted by GunstarRed

*sigh*...its on my gamercard now....*sigh*
Posted by Zoombini

I feel sorry for ya man. Watching the quick look was painful enough, I can't imagine what the actual game must have been like.

Posted by gingertastic_10

I'm disappointed. I expected better from Backbone.

Posted by Mouth

Was this really a shocker? If the movie sucked, wouldn't this have also been just as bad? Score! Mouth-1.
Posted by Seedofpower

Wow, first 1 star. Nice pick..... never fails that video games about movies suck.
Posted by HairyMike87

The best part about this review was seeing the Jeff cartoon. I never saw that one yet.

Edited by Crono

Can't say that this is a revelation but it is always fun to read a 1-star review.  I hope there is a video review so we can see Jeff tear it up in motion!

Posted by Bubahula

best part of this game is the review pic of jeff
Posted by Trilogy

Take the tnt out of your mouth jeff, it's not worth it.

Posted by JJOR64

I figured this game would get 1 or 2 stars.

Edited by ahoodedfigure
Posted by dbz1995

I wanna see everybodys one star... :(

Edited by atomic_dumpling
Posted by MeatSim

This game is part Cobras plot to take over the world!

Posted by RHCPfan24

Yes!! I love these one-star reviews. Tear it apart, Jeff!!

Posted by Kohe321

Great review. Now I know!

Posted by Arjuna

Reminds me of Jeff's review of the Xbox arcade game, Star Trek:  DAC.  I bought that game anyways, because I'm a Star Trek fan.  I played it for five minutes, realized how shitty it was, and regretted not heeding Jeff's review. 
I'm not a G.I. Joe fan at all.  If you are, I suggest you heed this man's review and save yourself some money.

Posted by Slim

and knowing is half the battle

Posted by evilhomer

i love jeffs one star icon

Edited by Daryl
Posted by atomic_dumpling
Posted by Death_Burnout

Hell yeah 1 star, God this is terrible.

Posted by DukeTogo

The movie could have been a decent homage to the source material if it had been focused on one source - not both - and didn't fall into the old trap of trying to be different enough to distinguish itself by making horrible changes.  Instead it's train wreck that is insulting to even the most casual Joe fan on even the most basic of levels.
The game is about the quality of a 600 point XBLA game, and that's pushing it.
I'm going back to read the old comic books and redeem my thoughts about this property.

Posted by JDUB_XL

I  sadly have been playing this off an on for about a week. I already Knew :(

Posted by nick69
@PhatSeeJay said:
" Now I know!  And knowing is half the battle.  GIIIIAAAAANTBOOOOOOOOOMB "
Posted by Picksnapper

one star get!!
Posted by Skillface
@Seedofpower said:
" Wow, first 1 star. Nice pick..... never fails that video games about movies suck. "
It's not Jeff's first 1 star. He also 1-starred Masters of Illusion: Funny Face and Rock Revolution.
Posted by SmokePants

Destro was always Scottish. Go back and read the file cards. They just never bothered with an accent in the old cartoons.

Posted by Coleslaw893
@PhatSeeJay said:
" Now I know!  And knowing is half the battle. "
Darnit, you beat me to it.
Posted by Luthorcrow

What, 1 STAR!!!   You mean the game is BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!!!

Posted by whatisdelicious


Posted by fox01313

Figured that this one would at least hit a 2 of 5 as it looked functional from the QL, pithy but functional. Still going to rent it through gamefly to see for myself as it could be an easy collection of achievements or at least time to oggle at the Baroness more.
Posted by Psynapse

This review brings back memories of Kane and Lynch... 
...Watch out Jeff! You may be 'let go' from Giantbomb shortly!

Posted by threeolivez

now I really want nothing to do with this game.

Posted by Chewii101

Havnt seen the suicide Jeff in a long time........maybe thats a good thing. 

Edited by dagas

I read an article with an interview from an anonomous person talking about developing licence games like this (In a Swedish gaming magazine called Level). It's most likely not the devlopers fault. They are not given enough time, not enough freedom to do what they do best, the film company is making changes all the time and decide what is good and what isn't even though they know nothing about making games and they even stated that quality was not an issue as long as they could deliver on one.

Posted by Jazz can play as Snake eyes and Stormshadow.... 
And yeah, Destro was always Scottish. Next you'll be saying Scarlett belonged with Duke. BLASPHEMY!!!

Posted by Agent47CSim2

Jeff's 1 star pic is the best thing related to this this game apart from the good reveiw of course.

Edited by Media_Master

go figure                                  %Pr

Posted by TGR

I'm pretty sure Backbone was not involved in the PS3/360 versions. It's from Double Helix in Irvine, Ca. Shiny Entertainment (Earthworm Jim) and The Collective from Foundation 9 Entertainment combined to form one larger studio "Double Helix" to do GI Joe and other "bigger" titles. So this is their first go at any game since combining their talents. I expected their first game to not be polished but a 1 out of 5? That's horrible!  But at least they got their first game out of the way and they can learn from their mistakes on whatever game they work on next. Let's hope it's not a GI Joe sequel.

Posted by Bigandtasty

ah, one-stars, I love them...but I wouldn't love to play them

Posted by queenulhu

jeff... i really want a shirt of you about to smoke dynamite!!!!!!! right on my boobs!!

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