Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 Review (PSN/XBLA)

February 3, 2011

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Bionic Commando for the NES was considered a classic and a genre-defining game when it was released in 1988.  20 years later, Bionic Commando Rearmed was released for the PSN, XBLA and PC as a remake of the original.  Developer GRIN did an excellent job recreating the original game with updated graphics, remixed music, new bosses and the addition of coop.  It garnered a lot of praise upon release.  GRIN was also the developer for the Bionic Commando reboot for the PS3 and 360, but was met with many mixed reaction…more negative than positive.  GRIN was then shut down as a studio, however a chunk of the employees formed a new company called Fatshark.  That brings us to where we are today.  Fatshark has just released a proper sequel to the NES classic.  But is this game the sequel fans have waited for?


Story: 3/5

We find that Nathan “R.A.D.” Spencer has been called in for another mission.  Dictator Sabio is threatening to attack the FSA (the organization Spencer works for).  Colonel Brubaker and his unit were sent in to take care of the situation, however, Brubaker goes missing.  It’s at this point where Spencer, along with four other bionic soldiers, are sent in to find/rescue Brubaker and stop Sabio.  As you play through the game, there will be a few dialogue scenes here and there just like the first game.  The story does get interesting as you play through the game though and there’s a few plot twists in store for the player.  It’s also worth noting that the game’s ending ties in with the Bionic Commando reboot, which is a nice touch.

Gameplay: 4/5

Bionic Commando’s gameplay mechanic always focused on swinging around with your bionic arm.  It was a genre-changing mechanic back in the NES days and it still holds extremely well over two decades later.  The game has made level progression much more linear, without having to backtrack to certain levels that might have required a certain upgrade to advance.  Also, the top-down levels are completely gone, but I was ok about this design choice.  Instead, the game has added a “sniper” post throughout a few levels that allow you scope and pick out soldiers on the map.  It’s a great addition, especially since for die-hard fans of the series, they’ll notice this was from Bionic Commando: Elite Forces for the Game Boy Color.  Also, there are a few stages where you get to man the machine guns on a helicopter as it flies through the level for you.  The biggest addition to the game however, is the ability to jump.  Besides the Bionic Commando reboot, Spencer has always been strictly grounded unless utilizing his bionic arm to grapple his way through areas.  The jumping definitely makes the platforming seem more fluid, but I’m old-school, so I played the entire game without jumping once (and yes, there’s a trophy/achievement for doing that).  The game is much more challenging without jumping, but Bionic Commando was never an easy game to begin with.  Even on the casual setting, players will be tested, in particular the boss fights.


Each boss fight will make you utilize everything you know about Spencer’s moves.  Upon completing a boss fight, I usually felt pretty rewarded afterwards, a rarity with a lot of games today.  I mention “usually” because the first few bosses aren’t all that tough, but by the second half of the game, you better bring your game on cause it doesn’t kid around anymore.  There’s two bosses that you’ll fight twice in the game (Capcom loves to rehash their boss fights), making them only slightly harder the second time.

If you ever need hints on certain objects, Spencer can now scan the environment to let players know weak points on certain enemies, bosses and objects.  It’s a pretty handy addition to the game.  However, what hurts the gameplay score a little bit are the controls.  The swinging mechanic still works great…for the most part.  The one thing that really threw me off was that I had to press the grapple button again to detach the grapple.  For fans of the original, all you had to do was push the d-pad in the direction you wanted Spencer to jump to while swinging.  That’s not even an option now and it took me most of the game to get used to that.


Spencer now gets “perks” that can be equipped such as “health regeneration”, “uppercut”, “grenade launcher” attachments, etc.  However, these are hidden throughout levels and even then, I found myself sticking to the “health regeneration” and “grenade launcher” perks the whole game.  The other perks are well…kind of useless for getting through the main game.  The additional weapons Spencer gets are also limited to ammo this time, but the main pistol (which has unlimited ammo) will get you through the game just fine.

Graphics: 4/5

Bionic Commando Rearmed looked excellent for a remake of a 20 year old.  It ran at a rock-solid 60 FPS, texture work was very good, the environments were full of color and the character animations were great.  Rearmed 2’s graphics have been slightly enhanced, at a cost though.  The framerate is inconsistent, going between 30 and 60 FPS, but very rarely does it get to 60 FPS.  It’s odd considering it’s running on the same graphics engine.  Otherwise, the visuals look great.  Character deaths animate with ragdoll physics (just like the original Rearmed) and Spencer’s swinging animations are as fluid as ever.

Sound: 4/5

Simon Viklund, the composer of the original BC: Rearmed, has once again put together an extremely upbeat soundtrack.  While most of the tracks are remixes of the original tunes again, they all sound unique again.  The 8-bit vibe mixed with techno just works really well.  It’s not as classic as BC: Rearmed’s soundtrack was, but it’s very close.  Sound effects are what you would expect, gun shots, explosions, etc.  Pretty much the same sound effects that were in BC: Rearmed.


Overall: 15/20 = 7.5/10

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 is pretty much the sequel Bionic Commando could’ve had 20 years ago.  Die-hard fans will definitely get their money’s worth ($14.99 PSN, 1200 MS Points) out of this proper sequel.  It’s definitely longer than the original game, has some really cool moments and a decent plot that leads into the PS3/360 reboot.



-Story serves as a bridge between Rearmed and the “reboot”

-Awesome, upbeat soundtrack

-Nice visuals

-Gameplay mechanics still hold up very well to today’s standards



-Swinging mechanic not as fluid as original

-Most perks are useless

-Secondary weapons have limited ammo

-Framerate isn’t 60 FPS like the original

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About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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