A game with flaws, but highly addicting nonetheless.

User Rating: 9 | The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction PS2
I played the demo early this month and immediately pre-ordered it. Now I've got it and played through enough of the game to be able to write a good review. Starting up the game takes a little while, and the menus are a little boring. The loading times take a little too long and come too often for my taste, but once you get into the gameplay, it's smooth as butter. The gameplay is fantastic and was obviously the main focus during development, as it should be. There are so many things to do in the game that I would just get lost in it all and end up playing for hours after I had meant to stop. Thankfully, it's the weekend, so playing a six-hour sitting is possible. The jumping mechanic is excellent, the combat system is great, but the weaponization doesn't match the standards of what I hoped it would be, but only because of the pacing. You have to earn pretty much all the weaponizations. From the start of the game, all the Hulk can really do with items is basically just pick them up and either throw them or hit people with them. I had thought that he'd be able to do some of the simpler weaponizations, like Shield, from the start, but not so. All of them have to be bought with Smash Points, and only some can be bought at a time. His whole move roster isn't open for purchase at the start, but opens up further and further after each "chapter" of the game. It takes far too long for someone like me to get to upgrade not because I can't earn the Points, but because I take time and buy everything practically the second they open up, leaving me with no incentive to get Smash Points other than to save up for when the next few moves are available. The environments are nice, but the graphics and pattern of the city is a little bland. You can actually see the pattern/textures on the skyscrapers because it'll be say, one light on, then two lights off, then one on, then two off, etc. It's very hard to get a feeling for the city as opposed to a game like Grand Theft Auto where the environments differ and you can eventually just memorize where places are and how to get to them without using the map. In Ultimate Destruction, I just kinda wander around destroying stuff, but not really knowing where I am specifically. On the note of destroying stuff, not enough of the buildings are destructible, and the targeting system is heavily flawed. You must use the L1 button to target something, but to switch targets, you have to use the right analog stick. Meaning you have to take your thumb off the buttons to switch targets. Using L2 and R2 like GTA would've been much better, but L2 is also for targeting and both R1 and R2 are for running. What a waste. And about buildings, you can find which ones you can destroy by targeting something and looking around, and if a building is highlighted, it can be destroyed. But too few of them can be destroyed, which really kills the mood for me because I have to wander around the city targeting stuff at random trying to find a building to take down. The cutscenes are God-awful; they really are, but more specifically, the mouth movements and animations. The graphics aren't really that bad, and are at times very nice-looking, but when you've got an angry general yelling and pointing, you want him to look angry, move fast, and his mouth movements to match his speech. The mini-games and challenges aren't that great either. Some are both funny and fun, like Soldier Baseball, but others are just boring and seemed to be an after-thought, like they were about to finish up all the mini-games, then somebody said, "Hey, let's do one where the Hulk kicks cars through a goal post!" or "Let's give the Hulk a crappy blue suit and tie and make him golf," then they just quickly put that in. The golfing was fun for about twenty seconds for me, but the field goal one was horrible and unrefined. However, the missions are also a little disappointing. They pretty much can be separated into like four categories, and can sometimes be really frustrating. There's one where the Hulk has to chase after four convoys with trucks that need to be destroyed (I'm not saying why). Getting to the trucks in time wouldn't be all that difficult and would be a bit more fun if it weren't for the Hulk-seeking missiles being shot at you. I was trying to get there in time but the stupid missiles kept slowing me down and taking a lot of my health; if I stopped to destroy the missile trucks, the time limit would expire. I eventually passed the mission, but still. It's not an easy game to place a difficulty on because some missions are very easy, some are very hard. I'll give it a hard, but a lot of the missions are really easy. But for all its flaws, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is still a highly addicting game worth the buy. The music is great (but too infrequent), the gameplay is hellishly good, the sound effects are great, the story is compelling, and the mindless rampaging is awesome. You can't really express why the game is so good in a simple review, but rather, I encourage you to rent, buy, steal (okay, maybe not steal), the demo or full game and take a little time playing it. It's just incredibly fun. I wouldn't have a six-hour sitting with a crappy game, believe you me. I pointed out all it's flaws, but that's really only to warn people that while this is a flawed game, it's probably one of the most fun games I've ever played.