If you are from the “baby boomer” generation like me, or even early Generation X, then there is probably a great chance that you are familiar with the 1960’s line of G.I. Joe toys. G.I. Joe was originally a line of action figures owned and produced by Hasbro. The initial 12-inch action figures represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Action Soldier (U.S. Army), Action Sailor (U.S. Navy), Action Pilot (U.S. Air Force), Action Marine (U.S. Marine Corps) and later on, the Action Nurse. Several generations later the franchise blossomed into comics, animated TV series, and movies including the popular The Rise Of Cobra from 2009. Now in 2020, Gamemill Entertainment hopes to rekindle that flame with Joe and COBRA fans with it’s newest G.I. Joe based third-person shooter game on multiple platforms. This is our PlayStation 4 review of GI Joe: Operation Blackout!
Diverse Gameplay Modes
Operation Blackout consists of several diverse play modes but essentially breaks down into two buckets; a roughly 6-8 hour story campaign with local co-op support and several 4-player versus player modes.
The story campaign progresses along as chapters and gives you access to play as both members of the G.I. Joe team, as well as their rival military group, COBRA. A violent attack on the G.I. Joe headquarters results in the disbanding of the “Real American Heroes”. This series of events leads to COBRA’s Commander becoming President of the United States. As the G.I. Joe team is scattered around the globe it’s up to you to reunite the members of G.I. Joe. Then you and your team can launch a series of covert missions to free COBRA’s hold on the United States. The story sounds and plays like one right out of the TV show.
The developers take it even a step further as the dialogue and characters you control are true to the series you most likely enjoyed growing up with You’ll end up playing twelve different characters across seventeen campaign missions, a Joe Fan’s treat! Each of the playable characters has their own unique set of weapons as well as a custom special power so that helps break up any monotony. Especially since the gameplay here is a bit mediocre as campaigns consist mostly of surviving against waves of similar enemies in the vein of “hold this position” for several minutes. There are some campaigns where you take control of a vehicle or two to help break up this common chain of play events.
Player-Versus-Player (PvP) Modes
There are several multiplayer options as well. You can play the campaign with a friend in local co-op, as well as compete in four-player PvP local matches. There are four multiplayer modes to choose from including; Capture the Flag, Assault, King of The Hill, and Deathmatch Arena. Sadly, being a local co-op only multiplayer game, i.e. no online play, we weren’t able to try any of these multiplayer modes.
All Systems Go!
Operation Blackout is filled to the brim with some nicely done comic-book-like visuals that give it that Saturday morning cartoon feel. One of the biggest hurdles is the control of the crosshair aiming isn’t as crisp as one might like. Even dabbling with the breadth of control settings it takes some effort to get something that works “best”. Movement felt a little slow as well, not as crisp as say a Gears Of War.
A welcome addition is that there are things to collect. Players can unlock multiple skins for each character that pays homage to epic moments from the show. You can also unlock play modifiers as well as classic comic book art of fan-favorite characters.
Fellow journalist Chris Bowman joined in on the game and wanted to include his impressions as we share his opinion:
I have always loved everything G.I. Joe and now we have an unexpected pleasure in GI Joe: Operation Blackout. This third person shooter pits COBRA versus the Joes as you play through a single player campaign and multiplayer levels. I really enjoyed the mechanics of the game as it was very similar to other shooters I have played in the past. The one thing I found a bit too clunky was the character movement. Even when I adjusted the sensitivity of the joysticks I still didn’t feel like I was moving as fluidly as I should be. The story is pretty good and I would recommend this title to someone who has a similar childhood love for GI Joe.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Gears Of War