Here's a distressing trend: the full-priced game adaptation that is essentially the same length as the film it's based on. Jumper: Griffin's Story attempts to duplicate the Enter the Matrix framework of intersecting-but-not-replicating the film's plot by spotlighting a supporting player. But the film version of Jumper is no Matrix, and the adaptation lacks the ambition and narrative depth necessary to carry the bland beat-'em-up action.
To its credit, developer Redtribe offers a new take on combat - the face buttons allow you to teleport around an enemy and pummel it in all directions - but that doesn't change the fact that you're still downing anonymous baddies by mashing buttons. You'll occasionally trigger a CG clip in which Griffin (voiced by Jamie Bell) transports an enemy to some terrible fate (like swimming in a shark tank), but that's only mildly amusing/horrifying the first couple of times.
It doesn't help that the game structure feels so frustratingly tired, as the vast majority of the action involves entering a room, watching the door seal shut, fighting off a few dudes, and then repeating the cycle until the level ends. Platforming is kept to an absolute minimum, so the game just becomes a repetitive grind with zero variety or incentive for fighting. And as insinuated earlier, the entire game - barely-sensical, comic-stylized video clips and all - can be finished in less than two hours. Which is ridiculous, but take note Achievement junkies: we nabbed 750 Gamerscore in that single playthrough without breaking a sweat.
Griffin's Story is also one of the shoddiest-looking games to date on the 360, with universally poor character models, unimaginatively designed environments, and flickering, muddy textures. Furthermore, the chugging frame rate gave us the spins, while the lazy camera often damages the play experience (and even got stuck behind a door once). In fact, the visual presentation (and gameplay quantity) eerily reminds us of advergaming gem Sneak King, except without the personality (Griffin's fourth-rate quips don't qualify) or $4 price tag.
All signs point to Jumper: Griffin's Story being a by-the-numbers, quickly assembled cash-in, but selecting poor, early-gen original Xbox brawlers as the template was a grave mistake. Those games at least made us chuckle; Jumper only makes us wince.
Feb 27, 2008