Published on December 7th, 2012 | by Francois Chang1
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse – Crude, witty and downright mediocre
It’s safe to assume that fans of Family Guy enjoy its crude humor, witty references and sheer randomness. If you’re one of the many who do, then Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse may catch your attention. The show’s jokes and memorable moments are all packed into this third-person run and gun action game. Unfortunately, that’s the only aspect going for the title, as everything else fall short of a sound game.
Back to the Multiverse’s story mode is 10 chapters long and can be played alone or with a friend through split-screen co-op. Chapters are tied together with cutscenes made from the in-game engine and it’s worth noting that authentic voices from the show are used. The combination of the two evokes the same feeling and enjoyment you get from the show so fans could surely look forward to that. Oh and the game is rated M, so there are some liberties the game takes with jokes you can’t get away with on network television.
Players control Family Guy favorites, Stewie and Brian as they travel through various times and settings to chase down sibling rival, Bertram. Fans will recognize that the plot of the game springboards off of the episodes “Road to the Multiverse” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Other characters from the show are also sprinkled throughout the game and they’re all in 3D. It’s a little awkward and weird looking as you’d expect a 2D character to look being brought into the third dimension, but it’s not bad.
The variety in Back to the Multiverse is there, but it all begins to feel the same once you realize those changes are simply aesthetics. Fighting off enemies in space, on a pirate ship and Quahog are cool and are inspired by familiar events from Family Guy lore, but the repetition in gameplay eventually turns it into a boring experience. There is only so much shooting one can do with the occasional “hit-a-switch” thrown in the mix before going mad.
Different weapons unlock for Stewie and Brian respectively as you progress and you’ll be using them to complete weapon specific objectives, such as using the flamethrower to burn down a parade float or the sniper rifle to shoot down enemies from afar. Eventually, you’ll run back to the original weapons which are the most effective.
Playing with two players is better than one, especially when one character dies and can respawn right next to the living character. Although, it is irksome when that living character is performing some of the platforming elements of a chapter and the other character has no choice but to respawn into a pit of doom.
Playing with a friend is also easier when waves upon waves of enemies are approaching and when an unexpected spike in difficulty occurs. There chapters that are very easy to clear and then there are chapters that are utterly brutal. One chapter in particular has multiple turrets pointed your way along with not-so-easy-to-kill enemies that add up to an overwhelming challenge. Thankfully, players are allotted an unlimited amount of lives, but much like the LEGO series of co-op games, each death will cost some in-game currency.
Aside from what is a 6 hour story mode, there are also multiplayer modes to visit in Back to the Multiverse and it comes in the form of Multiplayer Matches and Challenges. Multiplayer Matches pits characters against each other with close to a dozen characters total (after using the in-game currency to unlock the others) in deathmatches or objective type games. These offer some entertainment, but being exclusively offline isn’t enough to come back for more. The best game type in Multiplayer is Multiverse Madness, which is an up to four player co-op mode to survive rounds of enemy waves. It’s just too bad the waves end at 30 as hours upon hours could be spent on this if it lasted longer.
Challenges are much like the Spec-Ops modes in games like Modern Warfare 2 where up to two players try to meet a set objective and upping the difficulty rewards more stars. There are 7 challenges total and getting all the stars proves to be difficult.
Story mode is at best playable as nothing stands out enough that warrants Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse to be a full retail game. The best way to describe the experience is that “it at least works”. The overall package also suffers from a couple of jarring design and technical issues that include long and numerous loading screens, as well as some confusing things such as choosing “return to main menu” only to be put into the next chapter of the game.
Multiplayer is passable with only one mode that truly stands out. And no matter how good the multiplayer may or may not be, being offline only makes the entire portion for the game almost meaningless. For a full price game, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse falls very short of many other games out now. If this game were a budget-priced title or an arcade game, this review score would be an entirely different story. However, because the price and the handful of lacking elements, Back to the Multiverse is just shy of being an average title.