Ben 10 Omniverse Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 3Also available on Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii-U
If you leave the game’s title screen on for a while you’ll be rewarded with the line: “Don’t worry I’m a superhero.” Unfortunately Ben isn’t much of a superhero; he’s more like a little arrogant boy who thinks he’s the answer to everything. And in a period where superhero games include the likes of Batman Arkham City and The Amazing Spiderman, Ben 10 Omniverse fails to deliver any sort of meaningful experience.
Ben 10 Omniverse is a third person action adventure title that sees you take the role of Ben Tennyson as he sets off on an adventure to rid the world of the evil set upon it by Malware, a destructive villain who has destroyed the timeline. Based on the Cartoon Network TV program fans of the series will be able to play as Young Ben and Teen Ben as the storyline shifts between time periods. You’ll also be accompanied on this journey by Rook, a brand new character to the series. Rook is armed with the Proto-Tool, a high tech multi-functional weapon that can be turned into a Blaster, Power Sword, Quantum Staff or Grappler.
Ben’s unique weapon is his Omniverse. This allows him to transform into one of thirteen different playable aliens. These include the likes of Four Arms and Diamondhead but the game also introduces a number of new aliens including Gravattack and Bloxx. Each alien can be used to tackle numerous puzzles and take down different enemies. Although sadly the variety of enemies available is lacking and the puzzles are anything but challenging.
The game follows a simple level based pattern - complete one level and move onto the next. Similar to the likes of God of War but without the polish and execution that Sony’s series manages to reach. Each level takes place in a show-inspired setting such as the subterranean alien city of Undertown and the new Plumber base in Max’s shop. Interestingly enough the visuals of each of the levels are some of the biggest highlights to be found within Ben 10 Omniverse. The graphics are superbly designed to complement the TV show and each level is designed to look accurate when compared to the show. While looking pretty good the same can’t be said about the soundtrack. Nails on a chalkboard would be a better solution to some of the garbage this serves up. Every level is accompanied by a monotonic drone which changes pitch depending on whether you're tackling enemies or not.
As good a job as the developers have done to make the game feel like the show, the actual game mechanics are poor. Ben 10 is up against the likes of God of War in the third person action adventure genre, unfortunately Ben 10 is so far off the God of War style gameplay mechanics it’s unforgivable. Considering the game boasts about the number of unique combos you can make with each alien you’ll seldom bother to try them. Unlike God of War and Enslaved the combos don’t offer any satisfaction and achieving the higher level combos offers nothing in the way of reward. Hammering square is pretty much the only button you’ll need for combat here. You’ll go through each level doing nothing other than a rinse and repeat action throughout. Each level is then accompanied by a boss but defeating them is nothing but a chore. They have no originality and only require you to hammer away at them with square until a bunch of quick time events pop up on your screen. Although these quick time events while not particularly difficult do allow you use all your aliens at once in order to take down the boss. Each button such as square or triangle has a different corresponding alien attached and can make for some pretty colourful takedowns.
As mentioned above, Ben can take the form of up to thirteen different aliens. Each alien has unique powers which means you’ll need to utilize each in order to progress. Some power up doors, others allow you to freeze lava to create new areas to access and some allow you to sniff out the solutions to some of the more complex puzzles.While exploring the different levels and defeating enemies you’ll accumulate experience points that will allow you to level up your team of aliens, along with Rook’s numerous abilities and once you’ve accumulated enough experience points to level up you’ll be able to learn new combos and moves that are exclusive to the individual. Some of the higher level combos are actually pretty difficult to pull off, however once mastered they do allow for some rather cool combinations such as nose diving and even the ability to juggle enemies around in the air. Finishing them off before they touch the ground makes tackling the groups that much easier.
Have friends who also love Ben 10? Then you’re in luck. You can team up with a friend in local co-op and go through the story with them. They take the role of Rook and while the game lacks any substantial enjoyment playing with a friend always improves the experience. You won’t be able to enjoy the co-op for long though as the game is a little on the short side, with the storyline taking around three to five hours and no online multiplayer mode to fall back on. However fans of the series can discover all the collectables in the game and play through the game on the ‘hero’ difficulty setting if more of a challenge is required. Trophy and achievement fans will have a blast though. If you’re desperate for the platinum on the PS3 you’ll rarely struggle here. Most trophies or achievements are story or combat based. The others are awarded for simply collecting objects. You could easily get 100% in a couple of hours.
Ben 10 Omniverse is a solid enough entry into the Ben 10 franchise, but unless you’re an avid fan of the show you’ll find enjoyment here severely lacking. The game boasts some rather good visuals but they’re spoiled by a forgettable story, grotesque soundtrack and a monotonous grind through levels which just consist of wave after wave of enemies that don’t require much skill to conquer. Ben 10 Omniverse is a good set of ideas spoiled by clumsy mechanics which ruin what could have been a lot of potential.