The newest Bionic Commando revives the series through a multitude of changes and improvements to the gameplay, the most notable of which was dropping the 2D sidescrolling premise and developing the game entirely in 3D. The final result is quite pleasing, as the game offers a delightful mix of action, adventure and exploration while keeping the good, old-school platformer feeling despite no longer being confined to two dimensions.
Bionic Commando is played in 3D, with the character having various abilities that allow him to traverse the terrain with ease – the most notable of which is his “bionic arm”, which is primarily used for attacking but can also serve various other nifty purposes. To keep with the platformer style of play, falling damage has been completely removed, which has been explained by the character’s specialized boots. Some of the levels’ elements are designed to keep you moving along the main path, as otherwise, the game could’ve become too non-linear, which wouldn’t have fit its style that well.
The storyline is a major aspect of Bionic Commando, and it’s been developed very deeply and intricately, managing to keep you guessing until the very end. The end of the game (we wouldn’t really count this as a spoiler) hints at a possible sequel, but nothing has been officially confirmed by the developers yet – so we guess we’ll have to wait and see about that, but if they manage to continue the story in an interesting enough way, they have our thumbs up for this.
The game runs on the company’s own engine, called Diesel Engine – so far it’s only been featured in a handful of games, and Bionic Commando seems to represent it best so far – the advanced graphics effects can draw you to the screen with ease, and the level designers have really done their jobs well – the environments are rich and believable, and you feel truly immersed in the world that surrounds you, unlike what some other games achieve when they go for a linear plot.
In order to handle all this eye candy properly though, you’ll need the proper equipment if you’re a PC gamer – a relatively good computer is required to run Bionic Commando smoothly, and the engine isn’t particularly well-optimized for low-end hardware, so even though you can change a few graphics settings, you’ll still be left with mostly low framerates if your machine is a few years old.
Be sure to give the multiplayer a go – it includes some of the classic game modes, like free for all deathmatch and team-based modes, and if you get bored after you’re done with the single-player campaign, this should keep you interested for a good while afterwards.
Some of you may be a bit disappointed that they’re losing the sidescrolling aspect of the game – others will surely welcome the change and the innovations to the gameplay. Regardless of how you see the new style of gameplay, make sure you give Bionic Commando a try.