Building on the success of Capcom’s reboot of the classic franchise, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 marks the return of Nathan “Rad” Spencer and his adventurous, bionic arm ways. The game is once again a 2-D side-scroller that focuses on the shooting and grappling action that made the original 1988 Bionic Commando such a hit . This time around, Rad is facing new enemies and the dreaded General Sabio, bent on taking down Rad and his allies with the launching of a missile strike.
Rearmed 2 brings new mechanics and abilities, weapon upgrades, and fresh puzzles that show just how much Fatshark and Capcom care about making not only a new title sequel, but a game with enough new material that will satisfy any gamer’s need for some classic NES style action that holds up in today’s gaming universe. One big change to the Bionic Commando Rearmed universe is the addition of a jump ability. It is nothing drastic, but can alter your approach to how you will complete levels and solve puzzles, if you choose to use it. Jumping is certainly not a requirement, but can come in handy in certain situations, as for some battles it almost feels like it was designed to take advantage of a jump ability. Even with this move, the game doesn’t feel any easier. Jumping is kind of sluggish and if that bionic arm weighs a ton, it certainly shows as your character almost seems to struggle and the jump feels very heavy. Don’t count on using a jump to quickly escape or maneuver around anywhere. It is more like a move that will take you half as far as using the grapple ability.
Upgrades also add some depth to the game, and you can now change-up your bionic arm’s upgrade loadout at any time during play, via a quick change menu, to best suite your style or personal preference. As you progress and explore in the game, you come across these various upgrades scattered throughout the levels which can either be actively changed out or passively applied to your skillset. The active upgrades outfit Rad with things like a grenade launcher, upper cut ability, or even an electric claw. Some of the other upgrades simply enhance your character with health/ammo regeneration or speed boosts, among others. I found the changeable upgrades were really only effective against the regular enemies you face during the levels, and even though I tried out a few others, I really just stuck with the grenade launcher. As you complete levels, you automatically receive new weapons which you can use at your leisure with limited ammo, but might find effective at completing certain areas in the game. Besides the collected upgrades, as you defeat enemies, they leave behind health and ammo, giving you yet another safety net and helps to keep the game moving along.
The graphics are even more detailed than before, with improved character models, better textures, and a color scheme that gives the game an almost cartoony, comic-like appearance. Nothing really looks revolutionary, but the visuals are up to par with some of the more popular titles in the downloadable game market. The soundtrack reminds me of the old-school Bionic Commando theme, and if you enjoyed the music from the first Rearmed, then you are going to enjoy more of the same style that this game has. This should come as no surprise as the music was produced by the same team responsible for the original Rearmed soundtrack.
There isn’t a whole lot to do in some of the levels, except for going back through and finding the upgrades. Multiple level playthroughs felt kind of uneventful in certain cases, as once you passed a series of regular soldiers, you reached the end and the level was over. For more of a challenge, you can ramp up the difficulty and jump in with a co-op partner, but if you are not looking for collectibles, you will find yourself carefully choosing already completed levels just to ensure that the level boss or particular scene you are looking for is going to give you the gaming you desire. There are levels with heavy artillery, but jumping in the weapon or vehicle simply gives you a set of controllable cross-hairs on the screen, with the ability to fire at will and no other actual weapon movement controls. Of course, if you really enjoy the bionic arm grappling mechanic, there are multiple challenge rooms that can keep you busy for quite a while.
Overall, the game is still fun and was successful at capturing what made the classic Bionic Commando so addicting. Sure, fans of the original 1988 classic and Rearmed are going to get their money’s worth with all the new content this sequel includes. If you just couldn’t get into the previous titles, I have a feeling this game isn’t going to do it for you either. For me, it was ever bit as satisfying as firing up my old NES for that sense of nostalgia that makes video games so enjoyable.
*Capcom provided SlimGamer.com with a promo code for a review copy.