PS3 Review – Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction

November 2, 2010Written by Corey Schwanz

Ben 10 is one of the staple Cartoon Network franchises out today. But games based on licenses generally don’t end up being the best of titles, or will Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction finally break the mold of mediocre cash-ins?

For those not familiar with the Ben 10 franchise, young hero Ben Tennyson is in possession of an alien watch called the Ultimatrix. This mysterious item enables Ben to transform into one of ten different aliens (see what they did there?) to combat the forces of evil. Together with his cousin Gwen and his friend Kevin, the teen trio rush off to battle various aliens that try to come to Earth. While the story of the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction technically isn’t canon to the television series, the writers of the show were brought on to create an authentic experience.

The only problem is… the story isn’t that engaging to begin with. Like most licensed titles, the major flaw of the game is that it relies too heavily on the player’s familiarity with the series, rather than expanding on characterization to emotionally attach the player. This leaves the player uninterested in the characters if they aren’t already fans. There are even big powerful enemies that Ben obviously has a history with, but after exchanging a few quips the two fight or part ways. Nothing more. The relationship between the two is left for the television series, leaving players of the game feeling like afterthoughts.

The gameplay in Ben 10 is boring and uninspired. For having ten different aliens, there is surprisingly little variety, with the combat generally the same for each alien. While the different forms have different moves, they are all the same. The combo move, the jumping move, the projectile move, etc. There is actually no difference in strength between the giant dinosaur and the SpiderMonkey. For that matter, you can actually play in Ben’s human form and have no advantage or disadvantage than any of his alien counterparts. The enemies are just as dull. Occasionally there is a gimmick to defeat one, but most of them are easily defeated by spamming the Square button.

There is only one type of collectable in the entire game, the rest is just currency to level up your forms. The levels are boring and while the platforming works, it feels dull. Each alien has a different elemental function that works on one type of environmental gimmick and one only. One thing that definitely stands out in the game is that every one of Ben’s aliens has an Ultimate form. These forms usually activate during boss fights and make Ben everything short of invincible. But even in this giant forms, you don’t feel any more powerful than even being human. It’s so incredibly odd that these forms even exist, as they are only story activated. The game is called Ultimate Alien and you can’t even choose your Ultimate form when you want to.

The graphics of Ben 10 definitely feel subpar to traditional current-gen console games. It feels like it’s a PlayStation 2 game, which it actually is. The game was released across all platforms, with the common denominator seemingly the PS2, or even the PSP. That being said, the cinematic modes actually look worse than game itself. The visual style is like the new Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series, except done on a much lower budget. This leads to small things the lips not even syncing up to the voices. You never thought that these would be a big deal, but the current generation of games has spoiled us with phenomenal production quality.

Ben 10 Ultimate Alien ultimately fails to become anything outside of  just another licensed property. Papaya Studios worked hand-in-hand with the Cartoon Network to create a game that would only work for people who are already fans of the franchise. Ben 10 will hardly keep your interest, but it may do well for your children. Or if you really like Cartoon Network.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

– Looks and plays like a last generation game

– Only appeals to existing fans

– Boring through and through

3 out of 10