Ring Ring. "HEY there! It's Hollywood here, we want a game for the new Fantastic 4 movie." Hi Hollywood, yeah we reckon we could knock one up for you. "Great! It's just these four guys beating shit up, they've been into space or something. One's made of rock. Cool, when do you need it by? "Next Friday. That OK?" Well, we could do with a little longer... how does a week on Friday catch you? "Why the hell not? We could do with a little bit of time to write the script anyway. Later nerd!" Yeah, OK. I'm being a little harsh. Fantastic 4 certainly doesn't chew manbits as much as games like Catwoman or the truly hellish Revenge Of The Sith game on console. It's a traditional, room-by-room beat 'em up, with all the newfangled combos, finishing moves and unlockable fire-power so loved by the be-hoodied, ASBO-tagged youth of today. And it's not really that bad either.
At any time there are between one and four of the fantastic ones fighting evil (invariably all four are called in to shout stuff about teamwork when facing a particularly large boss) and you can swap between superheroes at will. Each character feels different enough to keep boredom at bay, although obviously The Thing and the Human Torch are the most fun, and each has a mind-boggling array of special powers that, combined with the high level of destructibility in foes and environments, feel nicely meaty. Dragonman needs mashing, hoodlums need thrashing, fire trucks need all your heroes to stand around them and press 'use' and Doctor Doom needs politely informing that he is the worst cinematic villain in recent history.
But it clearly screams console from every pore, mysteriously labelling keyboard controls as move icons in its frequent in-game hints, which engenders all manner of frustration. What it does, it does competently - but everything that Fantastic 4 has to offer has been done better and with far more wit and imagination (with a worse camera, admittedly) in Lego Star Wars. It simply boils down to the fact that if you have a child or infirm relative who didn't have the ken to see the Fantastic 4 movie as an unremitting shite-fest, then they'll like its tie-in game. Faint praise, but you have to admit it does the job.
Download Fantastic 4
Fantastic 4 is just about what you'd expect out of any 3rd person brawler; there's enemies to beat, easy puzzles to solve, and, well, that's about it. You've no doubt played this game many times before, just never with the Fantastic 4 license.
That's not to say it's not executed well, because it all works out just fine, but it can be a chore to slog through the missions since they do suffer from repetition and stagnant level design. Some of the repetition is alleviated by the differing ways each character plays out (ie: the Thing is your big melee brawler, while Sue Storm has more stealth leanings, and Johnny Storm is quick if not powerful), but nothing really cures the debilitating problem of the often mediocre 3D brawler gameplay.
And if you're looking for eye candy, then the best you're going to get in Fantastic 4 is the picture of Jessica Alba on the box art, because aside from that Fantastic 4 is a pretty average looking game. The environmental detail is very, very bland, with the same going for the often blocky character models.
Fantastic 4 doesn't do anything atrociously bad, but unlike it's namesake, it never does anything fantastically well either. It's all merely mediocre beat-em-up gameplay with a license slapped over it. True believers, and just about anyone else, would do best to just give it a rental.