Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 Review
Capcom offers up more entertaining arm-swinging action with this follow-up to their remake of the classic NES title
Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 is a follow-up title to the 2008 remake of the classic NES title, Bionic Commando, which offered updated graphics and a few tweaks to the gameplay and level design, as well as various difficulty options that made it at least slightly more forgiving then the original title. That said, it was still quite the challenging game, and that hasn’t changed terribly much with this sequel, though the difficulty is somewhat lessened due to some new control options and other factors. For myself personally, while I’ve only fairly recently got into the series, I find it overall enjoyable, as I enjoy the swinging mechanic of the games, which I feel is largely where most of the appeal of the series comes from, and at the least that is preserved here in this installment.
The presentation of the game is for the most part very similar to the first Rearmed title, though there are some key differences that set it apart. The most readily apparent change is that Rad Spencer now sports a mustache, though a more significant difference can be found in the level designs of the game, specifically in the variety of settings and backdrops that can be found, though overall the areas feel a lot larger and more open than do many of the levels presented in the first game. Sound design is solid enough, though not really much different from what was offered in the first game, with the exception of a boring and far inferior main theme, as far as the music goes, which could to some degree be said of most the music in the game, which is decent but ultimately kind of forgettable.
Gameplay is also overall similar to the original Rearmed title, though there are some updates to the controls that make things a little more easy, or at least suffice in general to take the blame of accidental deaths away from the somewhat clunky control scheme of the original game. That said, the controls aren’t perfect, and some added game design choices, not adequately coupled with proper controller shortcuts, work against this title in taking away some of the action and ultimately a little bit of the fun away from the game. One significant change in the controls is the ability to jump, which may be upsetting to Bionic Commando purists, however it is overall possible to get through the game using only your bionic arm (and there is an achievement for doing so, as well), though there is at least one boss fight that makes it impossible to do this without getting hurt by one of its attacks.
Other changes in the way the bionic arm is operated works at the same time to make it a little more fluid to use, but at the same time somewhat complicates the control scheme in a negative way, especially for fans who are familiar with the way the bionic arm worked in the first Rearmed game, as well as probably the original NES version. Also, while switching your main weapon out can be quickly and easily handled by using the right and left bumpers on the controller, there is no short cut for switching your active or passive upgrades. This means pressing the “back” button on the controller in order to switch out your abilities, which is overall largely unintuitive and presents a decisive break in the action, marring the pacing of the gameplay considerably.
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