David Klein On February 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

I’d like to start off this review speaking of ravings memories I have of the first Bionic Commando Rearmed but I never experienced it besides trying and never completing the first level. I guess I was turned off by how fast the difficulty ramps up way too quickly and then I had a giant pile of games that were vying for my attention so I put it aside and never got around to playing it. But now the sequel to it is here in Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 with a brand spanking developer Fat Shark and I decided to give it another go. I’m hoping that jumping adds something positive to the game maybe the difficulty is a tad more forgiving this time.

As I alluded to before, the most talked about the change from any other non-3D Bionic Commando is the fact that Nathan Spencer can jump this time around. A quick look around the Internet before he game came out had forums filled with complaints fearing this will ruin the game and make the game way too easy. Now in my humble opinion it’s pretty damn harmless in fact you can finish every level in the game without using jump once, which is worth an achievement or trophy depending what system you’re playing it on. So if you’re up for the extra challenge you can just pretend the jump button doesn’t exist and you’re right back to classic Bionic Commando. If you decide you want to take advantage of the jump, it does make the game considerably easier but even still it’s not one the easier platformers I’ve ever played either way.

As for the actual campaign it kind of brings back memories of playing Contra 4 on my DS. You move across the level shooting down enemies and using the hook where appropriate. That said it’s slower paced in both movement and gunplay and you don’t use the hook to crawl on walls instead just swinging the levels. It concentrates more on using the hook to your advantage than being skillful with your gun. In fact you can only shoot left and right with your gun not giving you much to work besides ducking. Where I have the most problem though is the swinging mechanic can be a little on the unintuitive side including seemingly latching solidly onto a platform and then instead of swinging off it you end up falling to your death which shouldn’t be happening. There are a variety of different primary weapons and secondary abilities/weapons you can use. As for the primary I used the basic pistol most of time finding I didn’t really want to worry about the ammo and my pistol was usually good enough. As for the secondary powers I used the basic grenade launcher and only switched it up when the game made it obvious it wasn’t the best choice. A big complaint for me is the AI seems to be dumb as dirt, the enemy soldier will shoot you but they rarely do anything to try and protect themselves except run for cover, which isn’t that effective. The bosses in the game are the kind fun platform recognition you’d usually find in a Capcom game (ie Mega Man) like a giant crazed robot and a insane bionic enhance opponent. I had fun trying to get my timings right to beat them and I had that sense of accomplishment you’d get in these type of games. What I liked most about the campaign though was the exploration of the levels, there’s always weapons and lives lying around the level to find and you’ll go through the same level multiple times to try and find them and sometimes even needing weapons only available later in the game to get them. That is probably the most interesting part of the campaign. I’d like to quickly mention the story isn’t that interesting and generally just avoided it.

The game has a coop mode if you’re so inclined to play with a friend. The biggest disadvantage though is it only applies to a local 2 player game. It’s kind of a disappointment that you download the game over Xbox Live yet you can’t actually play the multiplayer over it. I couldn’t rustle up a friend to play with me so I just messed around with it using two controllers and tried to understand the finer points. From my observation it seemed to work really well, both players got to play at once and had their own set of lives so you’re not at the whims of the how good the other player is. You can turn on and off co-op whenever you want so you’re not stuck being unable to continue if your friend isn’t around. The only complaint is the camera follows just player 1 if player leaves the screen he dies after ten second. All in all solid addition to the game I just wish it went online as well.

The only other play mode to be had is the challenge mode. There are 24 of them where you’re running from point A to B gradually increasing in difficulty as you move along. While the first few are purely time trials to see who can do basic hooking faster it gradually turns into both a time trial and skill test of your hooking skills that’s more interesting as you go along. There’s plenty of replay to be had here since this includes the only online aspect of the game and that’s the leaderboards. It’s as full featured as you can get being able to check the worldwide and friend’s leaderboards trying to get the fastest you can. It’s tons of fun and I’ll probably go back to it for the new few months.

The graphics of Rearmed 2 are definitely nothing to write home about. Fat Shark seems to have started scratch with their graphics engine and it’s a step backwards in my opinion. The character models seem to be less detailed and lower res then what I played of the first game. The screen also seemed to occasionally flicker which doesn’t really hurt you that since it wasn’t that frequent but it was annoying and a clear lack of polish before the game’s release. On the plus side I can say the environments are varied and interesting. Going from a dock to a prison you move across the island of a generic dictator graphically explore the different facilities you “tour”. As for the sound, Capcom has kept with their modus operandi of using 8-bit style music in their retro-based games. The songs that are there are fine nothing offensive though not exactly memorable. The problem is they start to get a little unnerving since there’s about handful of them that start getting repeated over and over again to tedium in each level.

Overall I’ve got some mixed feelings when it comes to Rearmed 2 but in the end I’d probably lean towards the positive. There’s definitely problems when it comes to this game that I wish weren’t there but the bottom line is I had fun playing the game. At the end of the day even with the issues fun truly is the number one priority and something I haven’t lost sight of.


The grappling can be a little flaky but ultimately the exploration felt satisfying


They’re a step down for the series and I really don’t see why my screen is occasionally flickering


The 8-bit music is nice but they really need a few more songs.


Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 is a pretty fun game, if you’re starved for 2D platformers you an do a lot worse.

One Response

  1. alienepic says:

    I’m with you, not as great as the first one.