GI Joe: Operation Blackout is a third-person shooter featuring everyone’s favorite GI Joe characters. From GameMill Entertainment and Maximum Games, be prepared for the ultimate nostalgic experience when you jump into the fray of the GI Joe versus Cobra conflict.
At the beginning of the game’s main campaign, which in its entirety consists of 17 missions, Cobra finally defeats our team of American heroes. In a rare moment of triumph for Cobra, the collection of rag-tag villains successfully arm their Black Out Sphere, rendering the world’s technology little more than hunks of junk. Only Cobra is left with operational technology. The world’s governments have crumbled, the Joes have gone into hiding, and Cobra is in charge and hunting down what’s left of GI Joe. Despite going underground, the Joes haven’t been knocked down. They’re just waiting for the right moment.
GI Joe: Operation Blackout boasts both 4v4 PvP and a range of campaign missions that allow you to play up to 12 fan-favorite characters from both sides of the conflict, GI Joe and Cobra alike. The campaign allows for up to two players, each mission offering two (sometimes more) characters to choose from. However, if you are a solo player, the character you don’t choose will be controlled by the CPU.
If you can play with a friend, I highly recommend doing so. The CPU controlled character is rather useless. I found that the CPU often ran in front of me, blocking both my movement and bullets, and in general rarely killed enemies. Honestly, this is typical behavior when it comes to CPU-controlled characters. I remember having the exact same problems in other games like Resident Evil 5. But the upside is that, even on the harder difficulties, the game is easy enough to go at it alone and you don’t necessarily need the CPU to work wonders.
I was surprised to find out that this game, despite offering multiplayer, is entirely local. There is no online option. So although the multiplayer has four different game modes (Capture the Flag, Assault, King of The Hill, and Deathmatch Arena), I personally couldn’t play them because of social distancing. And I’m sure plenty of other people will run into the same problem.
Both the storyline and levels are very linear. Overall, this game is very easy-going. Additionally, the combat is pretty middle of the road; it’s a very typical third-person shooter. However, the game does shake things up, offering both auto-aiming and quick reloading similar to the Gears of War franchise. Depressing the trigger will cause your cross-hairs to automatically target the nearest enemy. Although this makes the combat easier, it can also be a pain if you’re trying to focus fire on explosive barrels. Thankfully, there’s an option to turn it off.
The quick reloading was a surprise to see. Whenever you hit the reload button, a bar will appear under your reticle. A blue rectangle intersects this bar and an arrow moves from left to right for a short time after reload. If you want to reload quicker, the player needs to tap the reload button again when the arrow hovers over the rectangle. Although you don’t get anything extra for completing these quick reloads (other than reloading quicker), it was nevertheless a fun mechanic and crucial for harder difficulties.
Despite some of the negativities above, I still had a fun time with GI Joe: Operation Blackout. And the primary reason is because of nostalgia. This game was very much made by fans for fans. The campaign cut scenes are mostly still shots with some small animations here and there. The cut scenes look drawn-in, giving a bit of a comic vibe. But although there are no dynamic, action-orientated cut scenes, they are entirely voice acted which makes these characters shine. The voice acting is not only wonderfully executed, but the voices match each character perfectly. From the high, wispy voice of Cobra Commander to Zartan’s exaggerated Australian accent, any GI Joe fan will appreciate the work that went into matching the voice to the character.
But it isn’t just the voices that will make long-time fans connect with these characters; the dialogue also gives a punch of nostalgia. The chatter between characters is just as cheesy and ridiculous as the 80s cartoon, just with a few memes thrown in. With plenty of callbacks to older GI Joe media, the integration of older character designs won’t be surprising.
Beyond the voice acting, dialogue, and character design, a great deal of thought was put into how these characters move, and this is perfectly realized in the contrasting evade mechanics. Snake Eyes, everyone’s favorite ninja, disappears for a second only to reappear again a few feet away, Roadblock charges straight into the enemy’s ranks, and Sci-Fi erects a temporary, digital barrier. Furthermore, each character has a special ultimate power which not only makes for more interesting combat but also exemplifies each character wonderfully.
Overall, GI Joe: Operation Blackout is neither revolutionary nor complex. Instead, it’s wonderfully nostalgic with plenty of loveable characters to play through typical Joe hijinks. There has been a lot of heart put into this game and it shows. So if you’re a long-time fan of GI Joe, looking for a relatively easy-going game, or searching for something you can play with your kids, GI Joe: Operation Blackout won’t fail to be entertaining.
GI Joe: Operation Blackout is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout
- Rating - 7/107/10
Overall, GI Joe: Operation Blackout is neither revolutionary nor complex. Instead, it’s wonderfully nostalgic with plenty of loveable characters to play through typical Joe hijinks… So if you’re a long-time fan of GI Joe, looking for a relatively easy-going game, or searching for something you can play with your kids, GI Joe: Operation Blackout won’t fail to be entertaining.