Voltron: Defender of the Universe Review (PSN/XBLA)

November 30, 2011

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Voltron: Defender of the Universe has finally received it’s first game almost 30 years after it’s TV release back in 1983. Fans have clamored about why such a series has never received video game treatment…until now. Published by THQ and developed by Behavior (known for Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime which we reviewed earlier this year), a Voltron game has hit the PSN and XBLA. Does the Voltron Force receive a solid first attempt at a video game adaptation or is it a “drule” effort?

Story: 3/5

The game starts off with the exact opening from the cartoon which will easily put a smile on all the Voltron fans out there. The story borrows entirely from the original series with actual scenes from the cartoon. While it is nostalgic, the actual game doesn’t blend seamlessly. It jumps around through the story during gameplay. One example is that Sven starts out as blue lion pilot but is then replaced by the princess with no explanation. There are many easter eggs for fans which we will not spoil for you.  The ending even has a special treat for old school fans.

Gameplay: 3/5

Voltron: Defenders of the Universe is an old-school, twin stick shooter in which players will assume the role of the lion of your choice. Every lion has their own pros and cons, as well as differently forms of weaponry. As you’re running through the levels, you will be destroying every “drule” enemy that you come across and rescue civilians in need. However, the game’s objectives are incredibly repetitive. Every mission will essentially consist of moving to the next objective marker, destroy the drule forces, destroy the drule commander, destroy the drule reactors, escorting and then repeating everything all over again. It’s actually quite predictable and you’ll find yourself laughing at guessing the next objective because you’ll usually be right.

At the fourth level of each episode (there are only three episodes), you will start off by shooting down the Robeast until it’s health depletes and from here, Voltron begins to form. During this sequence, you will be treated to the original footage of Voltron being formed but there’s a slight twist to it. Players will partake in a QTE (quick-time event) in which you have to press a certain direction on the analog stick to “form” Voltron. If the player messes up, there’s no consequence at all. The only reasoning behind this is if you press the correct direction on the control stick, you’ll receive additional bonus points to your overall score. During the boss battles, players will realize the gameplay has completely changed into a turn-based battle system which works okay. The problem here is the game does a pretty poor job of explaining how it works.

The lions all have the ability to lunge onto enemies, whether they’re airborne or on the ground, which proves to be helpful in situations. The lunge ability is actually one of the most satisfying elements of combat in this game. If you lose all your health while being in the lion, you will enter “survivor mode” in which you’ll have to run around as the character for ten seconds until the lion is active again. If you get hit once as the character outside of the lion, you’re dead. While the premise is neat, the character is miniscule on-screen and due to the insane amount of action occurring at once, this can prove frustrating.

While everything here sounds negative, the overall experience is meant for fans of Voltron and those are the ones who’ll get the most out of the game. I found myself still enjoying the game for what it was, despite it’s shortcomings. As long as you know what to expect, then you’ll find some solid enjoyment out of the game.

Graphics: 2/5

Voltron’s graphics are pretty basic and inconsistent. The game has the 80’s style look to it which is cool but everything looks very bland. The lions all animate pretty well, as does Voltron and the enemies. However, when the action gets intense, the framerate begins to stutter and disrupts the flow of action. Also, when you’re forced out of your lion, the character you’re using is a tiny dot on the screen that can barely be seen which is a questionable design choice. The space missions have slightly better visuals, as do the Voltron boss battles but the ground missions look poor.

Sound: 4/5

Voltron’s audio department is easily the strongest element of the game. All the voice actors from the original cartoon reprise their roles including Peter Cullen as the narrator. The original theme song returns and even when you pause the game, Peter Cullen states “Voltron will return after these messages.” which is really neat touch to the cartoon when it was cutting to a commercial. The game’s soundtrack is very well done in which it utilizes the cartoon’s soundtrack and gives it an 80’s rock style to it. It’s catchy and fits all the scenarios very well.

Overall Score: 12/20 = 6.0 out of 10

Voltron: Defender of the Universe is not a great game by any stretch of the imagination. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game either. The game has it’s flaws but Voltron fans will thoroughly enjoy the game throughout the experience.

PROs:

+ Nostalgic factor

+ Great audio

+ Decent gameplay

CONs:

– Poor visuals

– Tiny characters

– Disjointed story

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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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4 Comments on “Voltron: Defender of the Universe Review (PSN/XBLA)”

  1. Gordo Valiente Says:

    I like how, “However, when the action gets intense, the framerate begins to stutter and disrupts the flow of action.” is one of the reasons given for bad graphics. Obviously reviewer FAIL. Please get another job preferably one you understand.

    Reply

  2. sabrefox Says:

    I’m dissapointed in the lack of control of Voltron. It works for Costume Quest, but as a kid trapped in an adult’s body playing the ebmbodiment of one of my favorite cartoons, i actually want to be able to CONTROL Voltron, not simply choose his next attack! Lame.

    Reply

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