Sunday 14 June 2015

Whiplash Review (PS2)

Another day, another 3d platform title hits the shelves. At least this time however, the developers have aimed to make a game that stands out from the normal hum drum trudge of 3D muck we are so often presented with. ‘Whiplash’ is the story of a Weasel and a Rabbit who break free from a scientific lab and rush for freedom. The two are Hand cuffed together and this is where the twist comes in, the weasel (Redmond) is obviously considerably larger than his rabbit counterpart, he is also completely insane- thus he uses the poor rabbit (Spank) as a kind of medieval war mace. If you have ever dreamed of bashing a scientist to death with a live rabbit this could well be the game for you.

If nothing else the concept of a mad rabbit-wielding weasel is at least an interesting one. The rest of title follows the same over-the-top mad cap style as our heroes rush around trying to free other creatures trapped in the lab (Hamster cannons anyone?). The style of the game is completely insane and there is genuine humour that comes through on numerous occasions. However, with regards to the main characters there is only so many times you can hit someone with a rabbit before it simply is not funny any more. It may be hard to believe, but it does ware thin quickly.

The graphical style fits the theme well with decently animated characters all looking slightly insane and uttering stupid things. Levels are full of destructible scenery to be smashed and there is a decent variety of enemies to fight and creatures to rescue, each more tortured and mad than the last. While the look of the game as a whole is varied from area to area individual levels do have a habit of looking familiar all too soon and follow the basic format of a central hub, with various doors leading off them.

Movement and combat is solid enough, though at times it can be a touch tricky to do exactly what you want to- this is mainly caused by the camera being at some highly irregular angle. This does not happen often and the camera can be moved using the right analogue stick should it become too much of an irritation. Combat is fun yet limited, though you theoretically have a wide range of moves to amass and use it seems highly unlikely you will deviate to far from the standard practice of hammering the X button to dispatch foes.

Our heroes have a wide range of moves with which to navigate the lab, including the standard double jump etc found in all platform titles by this time. There are also more unique moves such as the ability to scurry along wires and zip line using the handcuffs. Think Prince of Persia with a Weasel and Rabbit set in a scientific lab, without the time manipulation and you would not be to far wrong.
Indeed the comparisons do not stop there, most of the levels in Whiplash, Like Prince of Persia, need our heroes to climb to the top of something. Whatever the something may be, it is normally a round shape and involves a section of scurrying, a section of jumping and hooking onto something and a section of double jumping. 

Here lies the biggest problem with Whiplash. No matter what you are doing it all feels like exactly the same thing after a while. You walk along hit some things, jump this, hover over that, hit this, and hook onto that. The formula is repeated in every single level in an almost identical pattern. One Hub section has you doing exactly the same thing in the five corridors leading off to other rooms and it just seems pointless and dull after a while. The few decent ideas in the title have been stretched way too thinly across the somewhat huge game, leaving you with a feeling of ‘so what?’ before long.

The Ideas behind Whiplash are good and there is no denying that the title is fun in small bursts. But in the end the absolutely crushing level of repetition just turns the whole thing into a dull exercise. If levels had been more focused it would not have been such a problem, but there are simply too many unnecessary sections in there. Each section contains the same ideas, repeated over and over and over again. Whiplash is by no means a bad game but is way behind the market leaders. The title is worth playing as it represents an original idea, unfortunately though, that originality has not been converted into an overall original gaming experience.

Overall 5/10

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