[Review] G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: IguanaBee, Fair Play Labs
  • Publisher: Game Mill
  • Release Date: 13/10/2020
  • Price: £34.99 / $39.99
  • Review code provided by:
  • Version reviewed: 1.0.2

Introducing: G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout Switch Review

G.I. Joe, the iconic action figures hailing from the US of A are practically unknown to me, simply because I grew up in a part of the world where they were neither marketed nor sold during my formative years. My first and up to now single contact with the franchise was a game called “G.I. Joe: A real American Hero” made by Epyx for the Commodore C64 back in the 80s. I played a hell out of that game, but didn’t know anything about the lore. This hasn’t changed, so what follows will be a review of the game as a 3rd person shooter and not necessarily as a game of the franchise.

The terrorist organisation Cobra takes over the world and only the G.I. Joe special forces team can save the day. Make your way through the campaign by playing both sides of the story or team up for a fight with your friends in a team battle. The choice is yours!

“This is getting tiring!”

Once you’ve waited the rather long time till the game is booted up, you have the choice between fighting through the campaign or entering a team battle. The latter is straightforward: You choose one of the six available maps (Cobra Island, Cobra Facility Congo, Cobra Facility Australia, U.S.S. Flagg, Arctic or Dojo Arashikage), choose the match type (team arena, assault or capture the flag) and set the rules. That’s it, off to battle you go!

G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout is a game set in a franchise full of stories, so the campaign mode should be the meat we want to gnaw from the bones. Playing the campaign doesn’t mean you have to play alone. You can couch co-op the missions with a friend. You play one character, your friend plays the other one. If you prefer to play solo, or just don’t have any friends with a penchant for 3rd person shooters, an AI companion is there to help. This is similar to Wolfenstein: Youngblood and in that game it was a wonderful experience.
Now, just pick a difficulty, set any modifiers and select your character. Yo, Joe, and off you go!

The first thing you notice is the mediocre and mushy graphics. Second are the tiny fonts that are nearly unreadable on the Switch screen in handheld mode. Item number three on the needs-a-lot-of improvement-list is the lack of gyro-aiming. This all feels like a rushed game. If not this, it’s a game that not a lot of thought went into. It’s a total shame in both cases.
Add to this that there are spikes in the enemy difficulty and your AI companion doesn’t cut the mustard. But hey, I’m not even surprised by that at this point anymore.
It’s still irritating, because the missions themselves are quite interesting and drive forward the narrative. Also, the fact that you can replay missions to clear side quests and use modifiers like having only one HP, increased enemy HP and armour, etc. spices up the gameplay. G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout could be so much more, but right now almost everything is tedious.

“Mummy make it stop!”

I’ve already mentioned the slushy graphics. This is in stark contrast to the comic book artstyle the game has and becomes ever more apparent during the cut-scenes. These are done as colourful animated comic strips with basic, but well done animations. They feel like a comic book come to life. Sadly, the gameplay segments don’t live up to that.
The voice acting during the cut-scenes as well the banter between characters during the missions is well done, as is the music. It’s OK, but nothing special.

“Irgendwas stimmt mit Hasi nicht!”

Other than the AI companion being rather useless, I encountered no bugs. There were quite a number of snakes, though.
In all honesty, the long loading time should be considered a bug.

Conclusion

G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout is like one of the bad movie tie-in games. Sadly, it’s even lacking a movie.

PROS

  • review is written and I can now proceed and remove the game from my Switch

CONS

  • fonts are too small
  • mediocre graphics
  • no gyro-aiming
  • a run off the mill game without anything to set it apart from competitors

Verdict

Why would anyone pay good money for G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout when better 3rd person shooters exist? Apart from using the G.I. Joe franchise, there is nothing unique about this game and especially nothing it excels at. Better games are out there and unless you simply have to play as Cobra Commander, invest your time and money elsewhere. No, Joe!