Jul 9, 2015A game where every mechanic is awkwardly implemented. Cool ideas run rampant only to be brought down by bad game design. I mean the idea of running around and shooting up stuff as a plastic army man toy is awesome. Sadly this game can't even get a pass as a "so bad, it's good" shooter like other games in the series have.
The good in the game is sadly lacking. I do have to give props forA game where every mechanic is awkwardly implemented. Cool ideas run rampant only to be brought down by bad game design. I mean the idea of running around and shooting up stuff as a plastic army man toy is awesome. Sadly this game can't even get a pass as a "so bad, it's good" shooter like other games in the series have.
The good in the game is sadly lacking. I do have to give props for the level design though. Team 17 took the idea of running around as a toy in the real world and ran with it. The results are levels that turn things like a simple grass lawns into sprawling, maze-like forests. There are some really cool sights to see from the game's much smaller viewpoint. The only other praise I can give is that the game is technically playable. However that is cancelled out by the fact that the game is only awkwardly playable.
The controls are kind of a mess. Thanks to a stiff camera and a lock-on system that isn't always as cooperative as anyone would like, sometimes you just can't see where you are going or hit the right target in an easy manner. It's especially noticeable in confined spaces and corridors. The camera will often get hung on the game's geometry and the actual character movement controls will occasionally freak out causing you to move in a direction aren't trying to go. Mix one or both of those in an area where platforming is present and you'll most likely be in for a quick death.
Speaking of death in this gam, when it happens prepare to restart the level from the beginning. No checkpoints here. Initially this isn't a bad thing. The levels throughout the entire game are brief. However later ones require you to fight through multiple waves of challenging enemies. Dying in one of these levels, or any level when you are close to completing it, is frustrating because you have to go back through all of the previous motions again. Thankfully it's not a very tough game. Although some of the later levels will get you with the multiple waves of enemies that use heavy fire power and have big health bars. Having to go through all of that mildly difficult combat again is when the tedium starts to set in.
To be honest it actually starts in sooner. Combat just really isn't any fun. Whether it's the boring weapons, simplistic, yet awkward mechanics, or the uninteresting enemy design, there is always something here to ensure that the firefight you are in is far from exciting. Ok, so I have to give some props for the enemy design. While they do look goofy and aren't as satisfying to fight as the Tan soldiers in previous Army Men games, they are some pretty solid parodies of real life toys. I found myself thinking things like "Yeah, I've seen something like that in a store" or "I had a toy like that once" whenever I would encounter a new enemy type. Of course none of that matters as they are all basically uninteresting to fight.
As far as story goes there isn't much to say about it. It's told through crappy and intrusive cut-scenes that pop up too often. The story is incredibly simple so most of what we get is just bad dialog that is basically all just a bunch of crappy jokes. Seriously, why are there so many unnecessary cutscenes in this game? I can't believe how many there are. There are so many instances where one will pop up after you defeat a few enemies in a level just so you can see where the next few have spawned. This is pointless because nine times out of ten, they've spawned almost right next to you. You often don't even have to turn around. The actual size of the levels are small anyways so what's the point? If an enemy with a missile launcher or a tank spawns then as soon as the cutscene ends is you don't move immediately then you will get blasted. That's cheap and irritating.
To make matters worse these cutscenes are not voiced at all. That wouldn't have been a bad thing had they just been silent. But no Team 17 couldn't do that. Instead we get awkward garbling sounds and grunts from the characters that make the adults from Charlie Brown cartoons all sound like they have the voice of Morgan Freeman. It really sucks. All of this makes you grateful for that "skip cutscene" button.
Basically this game is an all around failure. While it does bring on an initial sense of amusement due to it's awkwardness and overall theme the bad gameplay and boring missions will quickly kill any enjoyment one might have otherwise had with it. It's a title that everyone is just better off skipping. It's pretty clear Team 17 had some good ideas for the game, but didn't know how to execute them. The result is a just a really bad game.
I give "Army Men: Major Malfunction" a 3.5/10.… Expand
Games Master UKTedious in a way we can barely describe, and almost broken in places. Don't buy this. [Sept 2006, p.76]
Official Xbox Magazine UKThe done-to-death concept and boring missions don't do the game any favours. [July 2006, p.67]