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Pacific Rim Review

  • First Released Jul 11, 2013
  • Reviewed Jul 18, 2013
  • X360

Big robots and big monsters are no match for boring gameplay in Pacific Rim.

Movie tie-ins may be the laughing stock of the gaming world, but Pacific Rim seemed uniquely poised to succeed where so many dozens of others had failed. At heart, the film is little more than an excuse to see massive robots clobbering monsters in the style of Voltron, and therefore the game had no need to bog itself down in convoluted plots or even, thanks to Guillermo del Toro, bother itself with memorable character design. All it needed to do was get the clobbering right. Unfortunately, the gameplay always feels as though it's sitting on the rim of something better, although in the multiplayer matches, it's sometimes possible to catch a glimpse of what might have been.

Pacific Rim wisely avoids any attempt to follow the film's storyline to the letter, but the repetition of playing as the same three Jaegers (or robots) and two Kaiju (or monsters) throughout its mere 12 stages sours the experience. Without explanation, it soon pits you against other Jaegers instead of the monsters threatening human existence as we know it, and to make matters worse, each of the five combatants in the core release cling to patterns so predictable that it's not too much of a challenge to score a gold ranking after but one failed attempt. That's less true of the harder Survival mode, but even mastering its additional challenges amounts to little more than making smarter blocks and throwing well-timed punches.

That's partly because the combo-free combat's so simple, to the point that its monotony outweighs its accessibility in the campaign. Jaeger or Kaiju, you're limited to blocks and strong and light attacks that amount to little more than swiping or stomping whatever's in front of you, which occasionally has no effect thanks to Pacific Rim's poor collision detection. Power attacks for each fighter spice up the action a bit, if almost to a fault--let your energy meter build up all the way, and you can unleash a devastating attack that downs most of your Chrysler Building-size opponents within seconds. In a surprise twist, it's actually more fun to fight Jaegers than monsters, because there's at least an extra element of strategy in depleting the two health bars that represent the machine's two pilots. With the Kaiju, it's just a case of whittling down one bar.

Flame-broiled kaiju, anyone?
Flame-broiled kaiju, anyone?

Even so, facing an opponent with two health bars certainly isn't enough to counter the drudgery the campaign presents, although the multiplayer options for local play or on Xbox Live at least benefit from the challenge of fighting opponents whose attacks aren't as predictable as watching a clock. Fighting other players is also a good way to earn more experience to buy gear for your fighters, although doing so involves a long and tedious process that easily extends far past Pacific Rim's meager threshold for fun. Instead, considering Pacific Rim's limited appeal and sparsely populated multiplayer arenas, you're probably better off spending your experience on one-use boosts and a handful of barely noticeable stat upgrades.

On the bright side, Pacific Rim lets you customize your preferred Jaeger or Kaiju using the parts you've earned from playing; on the downside, it keeps many of the cosmetic options (such as the ability to change colors) locked behind a roughly $2.00 downloadable add-on. And so it goes with the three extra Kaiju available for purchase, including the flying monster Otachi that you encounter early on in the lightweight campaign. Not that downloadable content is necessarily bad; it's just that Pacific Rim makes the unwise decision to lean so heavily on it that the core game ends up feeling like an extended demo.

Why play the game to become more experienced when you can just spend money to do it?
Why play the game to become more experienced when you can just spend money to do it?
That's a shame, since the concept behind Pacific Rim brims with untapped potential. Unfortunately, this release comes off as a sluggish imitation of 2011's Real Steel, complete with environments on the Xbox 360 that look as though they were lifted from Pacific Rim's similarly disappointing iOS incarnation. With more time and potentially more resources, this could have been an exciting and enjoyable experience with the power to stand on its own, independent of the film. As it is, its pleasures rust away long before it finally gets moving.

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The Good
Customizable fighters
Decent multiplayer, if only for short bouts
The Bad
Visually weak environments
Grindy gear progression
Heavily DLC dependent
Few fighters in core game to choose from
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Leif Johnson (pronounced "Layf") is a freelance writer whose works have appeared on GameSpot, IGN, PC Gamer, Official Xb
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Avatar image for incredibomb

Should have been more like the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen game with lots of free-roam.

Avatar image for Sparky_Br

Some big company should invest in pacific rim. Think this title has some future with properly work on it.

Avatar image for poviku

is there a game for pacific rim in the computer?

Avatar image for demian742

@poviku I think there is a browser game somewhere.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride

RIPD, Fast and Furious, Pacific Rim, Star Trek, it goes on, Why are people still making these crappy games?

Avatar image for penpusher

@The_Last_Ride because there will always be lots of people stupid enough to pay money for them.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride

@penpusher sadly it is the case. Though bad things produce everywhere don't deserve the money they get

Avatar image for hadlee73

Another missed opportunity. Just as the Star Trek game would have been better off ripping off Mass Effect, this license would have been better off ripping off XCOM Enemy Unknown.

Avatar image for Zevvion

@hadlee73 That makes no sense. Pacific Rim is an action packed movie. Turn based strategy is about as far off as it can get.

Avatar image for hadlee73

@Zevvion @hadlee73 Well they made an action-packed game, and just look how "awesome" it turned out to be. I'd rather have a game that put across the actual global conflict in which you could design and build your own Jaegers, as well as hiring new pilots with varying skills and compatibilities, than play this fighting game rubbish.

Avatar image for gamevixxen

@hadlee73 @Zevvion Saw the movie yesterday eve and I have to agree. That would have been f*&^$n' epic if they did it that way. Jaeger customization would have been the way to go with this.

Avatar image for Zevvion

Okay, if any of you guys still has some amount of child left in them believe only one thing: you need to watch Pacific Rim.

Best movie of the year so far... and that's by far. Jesus Christ, it's pure bullshit mixed with bad assery, but it's still pretty serious. It's amazing. Easy 5/5.

Avatar image for gamevixxen

@Zevvion I agree, it's definitely worth watching.

Avatar image for Zevvion

Going to see the movie right now. It's supposed to be the good kind of really dumb. I can't wait.

Avatar image for vadagar1

wtf their was a movie about this game ?? when???

Avatar image for khoofia_pika

@vadagar1 The game is based on the movie, not the other way around :|

Avatar image for hadlee73

It seems like the only way to get a decent licensed game these days is to give it to Rocksteady with a deadline of 2 years.

Avatar image for STARKKASH

Why Its not ON PC???????

Avatar image for demian742

@STARKKASH There is a browser game somewhere.

Avatar image for Venom_Raptor


Avatar image for PsyonicPlague

am i the only one that wants NetherRealm Studios to redo this game??

Avatar image for dramaybaz

Why did this get reviewed?

Avatar image for Zevvion

@dramaybaz This website does game reviews.

Avatar image for EL_Bomberdor


Avatar image for Apastron


Avatar image for Gegglington

the neo geo king of the monsters was a class game

Avatar image for warrner11

Robot. Alchemic. Drive. Superior

Pacific Rim Game Inferior

Avatar image for ScreamDream

@warrner11 Still have RAC. Nice game.

Avatar image for peteyboi29

Movie tie in games are always shit, this isn't a shock !

Avatar image for Zevvion

@peteyboi29 Mostly, but not always. Chronicles of Riddick, X-Men Origins Wolverine, Spider-Man 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Warriors. All pretty good if not great.

Avatar image for peteyboi29

@Zevvion @peteyboi29 the warriors i will give you :) that was a pretty cool game :) but the rest of them are just money spinners designed to cash in on the current hype of a franchise, and personally i don't like when people try to change my mind or persuade me, to fatten there own pockets :) you might say i am allergic to bullshit !

Avatar image for Zevvion

@peteyboi29 @Zevvion

Chronicles of Riddick is, if I'm not mistaken, the best received movie-tie in game ever, both critically and by the userbase.

Ask people who actually played X-Men Origins and the Spider-Man games. They will tell you they are good games. If the reviews aren't enough for you to believe it.

Avatar image for dribblesbarbax

What??? A movie cash-in being bad. Sad thing is that it will still make enough money to be profitable.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

I pitty the stupid clueless parents and tasteless kids that will get into the game

Avatar image for gDamascus

@PETERAKO That's a pretty condescending tome for someone who hasn't even tried the game.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

Yuke's has quite a tradition with fighting games, but a movie tie in is a movie tie I guess

and on top of being bad its also a total DLC PAY2WIN ripoff

Avatar image for PETERAKO

WOAH!!! nobody expected that!!!

Avatar image for SoulSnare

its seem that every movie to game adaptation is cursed to get a bad score

Avatar image for gladin09

Thought this was a movie review for a second and was about to disown Gamespot >:)

Avatar image for NYSailorScout

@gladin09 I agree. That score is way too high.

Avatar image for Zevvion

@NYSailorScout @gladin09 The movie is supposedly really great.

Avatar image for Zoberk

It's like these people are a cult that's bent on failing every single movie tie-in attempt. It seems to be pretty successful so far.

Avatar image for dexxor245

Another bad movie game bites the dust. RIP

Avatar image for CruiserCaptain

A movie tie-in game that totally sucks!? WTF? That has literally NEVER happened before. I am so surprised!

Avatar image for Toysoldier34

Seeing that there was a game based on the movie I was guessing a 4 as I clicked it. Guess I wasn't far off.

Avatar image for dogbert784

Why can't developers just watch movies for fun and not make them into games. Just because it sells in theaters well doesn't mean it'll automatically sell/appeal to gamers.

Avatar image for ruisan101

o look another bad movie to game adaptation.

Avatar image for EmperorSupreme

I had low expectations so not a surprise, the movie on the other hand surprised me and ended up being pretty cool.

Avatar image for soulless4now

The developers should be ashamed they wasted money making this. lol

Avatar image for JBStone1981

Fact: "Pacific Rim" is a direct sequel to 1989's "My Left Foot" starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Pacific Rim More Info

  • First Released Jul 11, 2013
    • Android
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Pacific Rim is a digital downloadable title to be released on the Xbox LIVE that recreates the mega-scale battles between Jaegers and Kaiju depicted in the "Pacific Rim" film.
    Average Rating31 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Pacific Rim
    Developed by:
    Reliance Big Entertainment UK Private Ltd, Yuke's
    Published by:
    Reliance Big Entertainment UK Private Ltd, Yuke's
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Fantasy Violence