Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse Xbox 360 Review
Publisher: Activision Developer: Heavy Iron Studios Genre: Action Players: 1-4
Age Rating: 16+ Other console/handheld formats: PS3
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is unique in the sense that it’s directly linked to two episodes of Seth MacFarlane’s cartoon sitcom. Fans will remember the Road to the Multiverse as well as The Big Bang Theory episodes, and this new Family Guy game has links to both of those. So, the game does have one relatively unique thing about it, although little more than that.
In terms of story, Back to the Multiverse sees the familiar characters of Stewie and Brian Griffin taking on the returning Bertram, Stewie’s evil half brother. This version of Bertram is one that wasn’t killed off in a specific universe, hence the reason he is able to return after being wiped out on the show. As Stewie and Brian, your job is to travel through different universes to put an end to his evil plans of building an army. There are jokes aplenty, some of which are sure to offend, and the excellent voice talent from the show has also been utilised, although much of the lines have been directly lifted from the show, which is unbelievably lazy.
When it comes to playing the thing, Back to the Multiverse is a very basic third person action game. If you’re playing on your own you are able to switch between the two characters, although the game also has a local drop-in/out cooperative option. There is lots and lots of shooting to be done in the game and little else of any real note.
The two characters do have their own unique weapons, with Brian packing a pistol and shotgun for example, while Stewie has a flamethrower and a rocket launcher. The enemies, though, are completely brainless, and they walk towards you as if they are as indestructible as Robocop. With that said, while the game does offer a certain amount of mindless fun, with its stupid enemies and repetitive tasks, it does soon begin to feel overly repetitive.
At least the locations you’ll be visiting throughout the main story mode are varied, with everything from Santa’s Workshop to a future amusingly ruled by alien chickens. If only the rest of the game was as varied as the themes of its levels, but sadly the gameplay is at odds with this, and many will be growing weary of the game some time before it comes to an end at around the five or six hour mark.
The game doesn’t even punish you for death all that much. When you die, you’ll respawn in seconds, only losing some of your cash, of which can be used to upgrade your characters at certain points and between levels. The game is just way too easy and, despite its adult themes, it oddly feels more like a kid’s game than anything else. Staying alive as long as possible in the LEGO games is more beneficial than it is in Back to the Multiverse.
Besides the story mode, Back to the Multiverse also has a challenge mode, which is a decent enough extra in which you’ll unlock additional challenges by earning stars when playing through the other challenges. Then there’s also a competitive local multiplayer mode for up to four players. Multiplayer, while offering nothing we haven’t seen hundreds of times before, is fun enough for what it is. There’s Deathmatch (yes, like always, it’s all about the killing), Infiltration (which has you going against the opposition to accomplish objectives before them, earning you points towards the victory), Capture the Greased-up Deaf Guy (Capture the Flag with a twist, of which has you chasing around a naked and greasy man to get hold of the flag), and finally Multiverse Madness (a Horde like mode, which sees you teaming up to take on waves of AI opponents from the different universes in the game). Unlike the story mode which restricts you to Stewie and Brian, multiplayer gives you access to other familiar characters from the show, too.
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse offers fun in small doses, although never anything more than this. Fans of the show will find certain elements that will no doubt please them, although the game itself soon gets rather dull, with unchallenging enemies and the feeling of doing the same thing over and over. Fans of the show, as well as gamers in general, certainly deserve better than this average effort.