Jumper, by most accounts, is not a very good movie. It currently rates a festering 14% on the Tomatometer. The Chicago Sun-Times somewhat frothily describes it as “a movie so silly you may find yourself giggling helplessly even as you wish you could magically transport yourself almost anywhere else in the world but where you are, in front of the screen showing it.” In that sense, then, this interactive version is faithful to the original source material. It is not a very good game.
There’s one clever idea underpinning the combat system here, taking advantage of the fact that Griffin doesn’t need to stand toe-to-toe with his opponents. All four face buttons on the control pad are attack buttons – you can just pick one to determine where you attack from, whether it’s the front, the sides, or the back. Attacking an enemy’s weak side builds the character’s power meter a little faster which eventually triggers keen instant-kill attacks. It’s just as easy in the short term to just mix up attacks at random, since the bad guys die about as fast either way. Eventually, this gets pretty tiring. Almost all of the enemies are all just the same, and most of the strategies for dealing with them are all the same too. It’s possible to rhythmically tap the four face buttons in a circle and rarely get hit as a result – the bad guys can counter attacks from certain directions sometimes, but the GUI telegraphs this fact a mile away. An automatic lock-on means there’s always a target in sight, and obviously there’s no real need for a teleporter to jockey for the best position on the battlefield. Things get slightly more complicated when the bad guys break out their Tethers, special anti-teleporter harpoon guns designed to latch on to a target and keep it where it is. Then a little mini-game ensues where you have to time your inputs correctly to break the connection. That’s not going to be enough to hold most players’ interest, though, nor does it help much with the suspension of disbelief. One could sit and poke holes in the premise and plot of this thing for hours on end. Here’s a thought just for starters, though – why does Griffin waste his time beating up on the Paladins with crowbars and billy clubs? Presumably they use the peculiar weapons they use because it’s no good trying to shoot at a teleporter, but they themselves can’t dodge a bullet. Griffin could save himself a load of sweat and shoe-leather just shooting these goons and having done with it. Can he not be bothered sitting through a five-day waiting period?
Thinking too hard in that direction, though, is asking to go mad. What about the graphics? Well, in the very beginning, the game doesn’t look half-bad. This is because the very beginning is a cutscene, one of several neat sequences that mix 2D artwork together for a sort of animated comic-book look. There are also some full-3D computer animated cutscenes, but those are much less interesting.
Unfortunately, the gameplay side of things suffers by comparison. There, the visuals are as bland and repetitive as the combat and riddled with technical flaws. Emergent Game Technologies produces an excellent suite of development tools, but it’s not been used very efficiently here. In some areas, you can bog down the frame rate just by spinning the camera around, and that’s without any enemies or other moving objects on-screen. The camera is the source of some other troubles -- when the game shifts from outdoor environments to some modestly-populated indoor areas, the automatic camera controls go completely haywire, regularly hiding the action behind great big pillars and other obstacles. One more thing to be said in Jumper’s favor, it does provide a quick boost to your Xbox Live Gamerscore. Just clearing the first tutorial level is good for around 250 points and more if you go to the minimal trouble of unlocking some of the superfluous extra attack combo strings. Given that the game still sells for a full $60 price tag, though, you probably want to go and get those points somewhere else. Plenty of other bad movie-licensed games will offer just as impressive a dose of score inflation, and at a much more modest dent in your budget.
• Griffin's accent
• Incredibly repetitive
• Huge gaps in logic
• Dull graphics
• Unsteady framerate
• Not worth the money