REVIEW: "You will rue this day. Well go on, start ruing!"
The words of Stewie Griffin have never been more apt.
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is unoriginal, intelligence insulting, boring as hell "fan service". Rue the day you put it in your console.
Licensed games can entertain and stand up as worthy endeavours if treated well, but the majority can fairly be labelled terrible games created only to spin a dollar. Back to the Mulitverse belongs firmly in the latter category.
Developer Heavy Iron and publisher Activision have lazily opted to look no further than what has already been said and done by the dysfunctional Griffins, favouring everything bad taste, offensive and out of context. Want to blow up the disabled? You got it. How about hearing Lois inviting frat boys to "finish on a C-section scar?" Oh, in spades.
The television series has had its moments of comedic genius, but regrettably those real laughs are few and far between in this game. Back to the Multiverse is a Family Guy episode in the form of a third person shooter. Stewie's evil half brother Bertram has appeared in an alternate universe and is building an army to destroy Stewie and all he holds dear. Using his handy alternate reality remote control, Stewie teams up with the family's dog, Brian, to traverse the multiverse to put a stop to Bertram's nefarious machinations.
Something has been lost in the translation from 2D to 3D, and the result is dated visuals that complement the hastily thrown-together feel of the game. Considering the shift, it is surprising Stewie and Brian still have some onscreen chemistry in cut scenes. But that may just be the original voice casting making up for fact their visual representation here is so poor. The original dialogue sounds feeble. The limp attempts at witty banter sound hollow next to the series.
Expect instead to be taken aback by the torrent of hate speech, misogynist and homophobic claptrap disguised as parody. Many might argue that this is what Family Guy does best. It pushes the envelope of what is acceptable. But the feeble delivery here makes it churlish.
Stewie and Brian are the only playable characters in story mode and have the same statistics so it doesn't matter who is picked. Disappointingly, the only difference between the two is their respective arsenals. Stewie has his rayguns and explosives, sidekick Brian must suffice with mundane pistols and shotguns.
The pair arrives in each universe and is shunted along on heard-it-all-before gag-rusted rails to each objective. Shoot through the lumbering enemies, pick up optional secondary objective items, and then defeat a boss at the end. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Back to the Multiverse is so despairingly simple and linear it becomes insulting to its target audience. Heavy Iron seems to believe in treating their audience like one. It has shunned gameplay in the belief that game that does nothing but relive the series' best moments is enough to satisfy fans of the license. Bird is not the word here. The word is repetition.
New weapons are unlocked in each level, as are character outfits linked to particular episodes. These can also be bought with an in-game currency that is both found and acquired through achieving headshots - but only by sheer luck due to the erratic targeting system.
If an extra forced and drawn out dose of unpleasant Family Guy nostalgia is desired, the uninspired local multiplayer is available. Chase the greased-up-deaf-guy. Wail on every other enemy encountered in the story mode. Listen to the Amish discuss their non-existent sex lives again.
Add Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse to the list of licensed games that fail to deliver an experience that challenges, entertains and stands apart from its source material. Every bad taste and immature joke we have come to expect from the series is regurgitated. It is a dumping ground for the show's most frequently repeated gags, and it's difficult to see how Family Guy fans might endure such a dismal representation of the show they enjoy.
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse
For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Ups: Ernie the Giant Chicken, and the wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man are briefly entertaining weapons to use. Mayor Adam West and his cat launcher.
Downs: Everything else.