G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch – here’s our take on the PS4 version.
These days, we’re seeing a lot of cartoons come and go, but some of the classics of the 1980s have proved to be very enduring. Transformers is a great example, and G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout brings back another classis franchise that many young fathers fondly remember with a game they can play together with their kids thanks to a local co-op mode.
Obviously this “real American hero” wasn’t as popular in other parts of the world, but the toys and cartoons were a worldwide phenomenon for many years and you can still find brand new action figures if you know where to look. The latest range was part of the basis for this brand new videogame from Gamemill and Maximum Games, but although it’s based on brand new action figures there is still plenty of retro flavor to this one.
Operation Blackout doesn’t waste much time in re-introducing Cobra as the main villains, as they successfully attack an aircraft carrier and seize control of the USS Flagg. Pushed back, G.I. Joe has to regroup and fight back, and a training simulation introduces you to the core mechanics and controls that will help you do so.
The new G.I. Joe game is a third person shooter, which feels like it would be a good fit for the franchise (just imagine Gears of War with a G.I. Joe look and feel) but is plagued by overly floaty controls and fairly generic level designs. Besides the occasional vehicle-based section, the bulk of the gameplay is a series of uninspired fire fights against enemies with poor AI. They’re functional fights, and they’re fun, but they’re lacking in terms of the set pieces and action sequences we see in other games in this genre. The floaty controls, especially when aiming, don’t help either, but we assume this can be fixed in a future update for the game.
But although the gameplay isn’t terribly varied, you do get the option to play certain levels as part of the Cobra forces, even including the iconic Cobra Commander himself. As such this game makes excellent use of the G.I. Joe license, even catering to those not invested or even interested in the latest line of action figures and who are more fueled by nostalgia – which extends to both the characters and the level locations you visit.
And although much of G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout can be described as generic, this is definitely not a quick tie-in. The license was used well, and the game even has multiplayer modes beyond the core campaign. You can play competitively (though, surprisingly, not online), but you can also tackle the game’s story campaign together with a friend (or child), which is rare for third person shooters and a good way to enjoy the game.
For those who have little interest in the G.I. Joe franchise this will feel like a overly generic third person shooter, but those who fondly remember the glory days of G.I. Joe will certainly have fun with it, especially if you have a chance to play it together.