When Bionic Commando Rearmed was released back in 2009, there was purpose to it. The remake was there to introduce the original classic’s charms to a whole new generation of game players. It was also there to push the then-forthcoming reboot of Bionic Commando. Rearmed did very well. Pleasing critics and players alike, even if the reboot did not.
So, it wasn’t a massive surprise that Rearmed 2 has made its way on to our consoles. As Grin has since shut down, the development has been handed over to Fatshark (a studio comprised of some of Grin’s former employees). We were hoping for some of that quality that the first game had. What we got was something that is almost a carbon copy.
Don’t get me wrong, Rearmed 2 is a good 2D platformer. It looks and sounds great; it has an extending robotic arm and it has lots of barrels. It even has a hero with a dodgy ginger ‘stache! What it doesn’t have is any kind of originality. The levels could, quite easily, have been copied and pasted from the first Rearmed game and then just given a slight makeover. You would be hard pressed to find anything new. Oh, wait. There is the ability to jump! That’s right. You can now jump. The thing is, it is an absolutely useless function. You have no need for it throughout the game and it doesn’t make your life any easier. In fact, there is also an achievement for completing the game without jumping. What was the point? With all of the déjÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â vu, it is also odd to note that Fatshark has removed a gameplay element from the first game. There is no sign of the top-down levels that opened up if you were intercepted by the enemy on the map screen. It’s a shame, as I thought those levels were lots of fun and helped break up the 2D gameplay.
The game’s story is also recycled. Colonel Brubaker is sent to some made-up island to try and stop General Stereotype. Sorry, I mean General Sabio. In the process, he is captured and it is up to Nathan Spencer and his amazing arm to save the day. Queue the standard still-framed cut scenes and awful dialogue.
On the plus side, this game is great for those who enjoy a challenge, as it can be a very difficult game to get through. But with perseverance and a healthy supply of controllers (as you will no doubt break a few in anger) you will slowly get through it. There are also several collectable items to find and some of these will give upgrades to Nathan’s arm and weapons, giving him special abilities. You will also find that the challenge rooms have made a return and, along with the added co-op mode, give BC:A2 a full package.
It is difficult to score this game. Technically, it is solid throughout, but the fact remains that this is little more than a carbon copy. The few extra features add value to the game, but the new weapons feel lack-lustre and you end up going back to the standard pistol. Die hard fans of the franchise will no doubt be pleased with it, but the lack of any real new gameplay elements means that, if you are new to the series, you may as well buy the first game.
Review copy provided by publisher.