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Pacific Rim

Guillermo Del Toro’s latest cinematic release, Pacific Rim, is an ode to his childhood. At its core is a thin slice of science fiction that allows for giant mecha robots (Jaegars) fighting Godzilla-eque monsters (Kaiju). It watches as such too, with a mixture of crash, bang, wallop with cringe and wince thrown in for good measure. Giant robots punching giant monsters. It shouldn’t be hard to get right, but weave borne witness to similar summer films that are cynical, if not morally problematic. Del Toro in this instance got it right. It was then no surprise to see a licensed videogame bearing its name rear its head from the app store seas.

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“It’s flatlining throughout”The old movie tie-in. Held in no less regard than the film adaptation of a videogame, it’s a recipe for disaster no matter which way you cook it. Occasionally, this casserole does turn out quite well (see True Lies). But not here.

Reliance Big Entertainment hasn’t so much been influenced by as have directly stolen everything feasible from Chair’s Infinity Blade. The scenarios play out the same. The touchscreen is used to block, dodge, parry and attack during one-on-one conflict. The offensive moves of every beast can be learnt and read, with the purpose of a slow and steady learning curve. You learn their patterns, dodge appropriately and then counterattack.

As interactive entertainment, it’s flatlining throughout. What should be enjoyable if not forgettable is vapid here. The controls can be sluggish and at times unresponsive. Animations are monotonous, many of the monsters have the same two attacks, and the camera will sporadically sway to a position that blocks the line of sight required to read telegraphs. If anything positive can be gleaned from this experience, it’s that it takes a vision to build and execute the nuances that separates the plain from the great. That makes for hardly a glowing recommendation.

During one battle the camera moved off centre and panned into a nearby building, leaving the Jaegar blind and unable to defend itself. Ironically, thanks to the repetitive design, attacks were dodged and blows landed. Earth was once again victorious as the pesky critter was put to the ground. Slowly the financial gains from each round stacked up and initial basic modifications and equipment became available. This process takes a considerable amount of time, and unlocking even early Jaeger models will require patience and a willingness to grind. Yet there is no reason to sink any more time than necessary here.

“Lack of alluring progression”Mugshots of two actors with short, drab accompanying text does not constitute a narrative backbone worthy of ignoring a state of boredom that refuses to dissipate. A glimpse of hope – or anything – came in the disguise of a gift. A present that would be revealed as a Trojan horse. This gift was a stronger Crimson Typhon Jaegar that later becomes available for a single mission. With its superior strength, the Kaiju it was sent to stop was defeated with ease. Back at HQ, ownership of this Jaegar was removed and made available at a high cost. The true lack of alluring progression and composed pacing revealed itself. Worry not though, because Reliance has just the cure – the exchange of real money for in-game credits. How delightful.

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The lack of engagement meant the in-app purchase pop-ups and reminders were met with a mere shrug of indifference, rather than the displeasure of what should have been awaiting them. Infinity Blade shared an ideology with From Software’s cult Dark Souls. The story was not force fed, their worlds bled the fantastical and real together seamlessly, and progressive skill was required to make gains. The same cannot be said for Pacific Rim. Uninspired, dull, and pestering for more money, this fits in nicely with the volume of film tie-ins.

2 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

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