Review: Rocketbirds 2: Evolution
It’s been nearly four and a half years since Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken first released on PlayStation 3. What’s made this one so memorable for me wasn’t just the fun I had whilst playing it, but also the way in which the game implemented New World Revolution’s full album to coincide with many of the game’s story beats. Witnessing Hardboiled’s origin story with the backing of “Illuminate Me” and chasing down a boss to “Double Agents” just worked so well for me. Rocketbirds 2: Evolution brings improvements to nearly everything in the previous game and aims to take the story into an even crazier direction. The final product makes the subtitle Evolution feel quite appropriate as Rocketbirds 2 is a better game in nearly every way.
The story picks up sometime after the events of the original Rocketbirds. Putski has miraculously survived his previous encounter with Hardboiled and it’s up to the original Coq-of-War to find out how. Along the way you’ll uncover some suitably insane twists as well as the presence of a larger evil group working behind-the-scenes. The humor is as sharp as ever, the voice work is solid across the board, and the narrative is just as crazy as you’d want it to be.
The campaign this time around sees a large increase to Hardboiled’s arsenal of weapons, refined controls, and the ability to move and shoot at the same time. Shooting as you move means you’ll be dealing with more enemies at once and it sees the introduction of a number of completely new enemy types. It’s important to stay on the move in larger firefights or else Hardboiled will be treated to a quick death. The previous game was a bit too easy so it’s nice to see the enemies provide a larger threat this time around.
Hardboiled’s ability to mind-control enemies is back in the form of a phone or more traditional mind-control device. Both devices allow you to take control of an enemy and solve some sort of puzzle that’ll allow Hardboiled to progress through a stage. Much like the first game using the mind-control device will end with the death of the victim once the mind-controlled sequence is terminated. However, if you use the phone you can simply ‘hang up’ to switch control back to Hardboiled. This allows for some puzzles that require you to switch back and forth between Hardboiled and the mind-controlled victim, but unfortunately this is only ever used once or twice. There’s potential for some really interesting puzzle design here and it’s something that I wish would have been expanded upon just a bit more.
The stages this time around are also much larger than before while still retaining the level of detail that I’ve come to expect from Rocketbirds. Once again the game features a really striking visual style that’s highlighted by its use of parallax scrolling. Couple this with heavily detailed environments and you’ll find that every location is just as memorable as the last.
Rescue Mode picks up right where the campaign ends and allows you to take control of the members of SARS (Search and Rescue Strike-force). In this mode you can join with up to three other people and go out on missions to rescue fellow SARS members that are held captive in one of four environments. During missions you’ll fight through rooms of enemies, unlock customization items, rescue captives, and discover special artifacts that’ll unlock Rescue Mode’s final area. After missions you’ll then return to the hub area where you can spend money on new weapons, more ammo, compete against friends in the Dojo mini-game, or even hire an AI companion if you want to take on missions solo.
Rescue Mode is a huge improvement over the original game’s co-op mode and is probably the biggest new addition to the game. There’s over a dozen SARS members that need rescued, and well over 100 weapon and customization options to unlock. It’s going to take some time to see this mode to completion, but it’s sure to be worth it considering how fun it is to take these stages on in co-op or with a hired AI buddy.
New World Revolution once again composed the soundtrack for this game and generally knocked it out of the park. I’m not sure if some of these new songs will be as memorable as “Illuminate Me”, “Double Agents”, and “Once I Was Lost” but the soundtrack here is still really impressive on its own.
Rocketbirds 2: Evolution is just about everything I wanted from a sequel. It improves upon just about everything from the original, the story goes in weirder directions while still retaining its dry humor, the game somehow looks even better than before, and we get a new album from New World Revolution. The long wait was worth it.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Great looking game with plenty of detail in each in environment
- Controls have been refined
- Story goes in some crazy directions
- New music from New World Revolution
- Rescue Mode
- An improvement upon the original in nearly every way
What I Dislike:
- I wish the mind-control ability was implemented a little more