IGN Review of Ben 10 Alien Force Vilgax Attacks
Being a kid is tough enough, considering the pressures of school, building friendships and other growing pains. But imagine how much harder it would be if you and your friends also had to fend off interstellar threats to all life in the universe? For Ben Tennyson, the hero of the Ben 10 cartoon series, these are daily issues that he has to face. The latest adventure from Papaya Studios and D3 Publisher, Ben 10: Alien Force -- Vilgax Attacks pits Ben against a returning nemesis that plans to destroy the Earth. Although the usefulness of the various aliens in the game can be a bit limited, the mix of action, puzzle solving and platforming is a decent adventure for fans of the show.
The story behind Vilgax Attacks revolves around one of Ben's worst enemies invading Earth in an attempt to destroy the entire planet with a weapon known as a Null Void Projector. The plan succeeds, and when Earth seems lost, Professor Paradox arrives and turns back time so that Ben and his friends can track down the power sources of this weapon so Vilgax can't put his plot in motion.
For the most part, gameplay across the seven included worlds is a balance of action and puzzle-solving that revolves around the skills of Ben's alien forms. For example, Ben might need to change into his Humongousaur form to break through doors, or use his Swampfire form to ignite flammable substances. Each form has different combinations and special attacks that it can execute, and Ben can unlock new abilities by defeating enemies and collecting glowing energy orbs. However, there is one gameplay element that players should be aware of: using a form's innate abilities drains energy from Ben's Omnitrix meter, preventing them from continually being used until the meter can recharge. As a result, players will need to focus on combos and save their special attacks for finishing blows instead of constantly wielding them in battle.
As appealing as the different forms are, it exposes perhaps the largest issue with the gameplay, which is that there isn't really a reason for using every single form. I found Spidermonkey to be the most useful because of its speed and Humongousaur because of its strength. I rarely touched the other aliens, besides using them for puzzles.
If you're a hardcore Ben 10 fan, you may find that it's better to use one of your personal favorites in different situations, but many of the other aliens feel like an afterthought. The same diminished importance can be said about the game's Ship sections, where you fly through space, blasting asteroids and satellites. Not only do you not receive anything for participating in these segments, but you're automatically given the option to skip these transitional moments to get right back into the action, which makes them seem useless. Considering the fact that there's no reason to jump back and replay this game once you've finished playing, the inclusion of these sections doesn't extend the gameplay.
Although some gameplay sequences might feel neglected in Ben 10: Alien Force -- Vilgax Attacks, the visual presentation is quite good, with an animated style that resembles a cartoon episode. The animation is fluid, particularly the transitions between Ben and his forms, and the worlds that he'll explore stand out with their unique environmental hazards. The one thing that could be much better is the camera, which is locked very closely around Ben and only slightly moves to focus on specific "places of interest" with the touch of a button. This doesn't really help you at times when you're trying to explore the environment looking for energy or health power-ups, and can also result in you losing track of where incoming attacks originate from. The sound effects and voice acting, however, are good, particularly because the voice cast from the show decided to lend their voices to the game.
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