Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse Review

January 23, 2013

/ by Tin Salamunic

Developer(s): Heavy Iron Studios
Publisher(s): Activision
Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360
Review Platform: Playstation 3
Release Date: Novermber 20, 2012

There’s been little talk about Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse prior to its release. The developers have done nothing to promote the game and there’s been a shocking absence of gameplay footage. As a big fan of the show this got me worried since the lack of advertising effort could only mean one thing: a complete failure. Well, to call the result a complete failure would be unfair as the game does manage to capture the charm of the show quite well with even a few moments of brilliance scattered throughout. The problem is the embarrassing lack of polish and complete disregard to gameplay diversity that carries this title to bargain-bin status. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse might be a potential purchase for die-hard fans who want to collect any relevant memorabilia, but anyone else looking for a fun satirical platformer should look elsewhere.

The game begins just like a typical episode of Family Guy, which is a good thing, but quickly falls off the tracks as soon as you’re “treated” to the in-game cut scenes. To call the graphics simplistic is an understatement. I’m not talking about the stylistic presentation, which mimics the show rather well; it’s the PS2 era engine that powers this game. Jagged edges around characters, low detail, slow loading times; it’s a complete mess. Honestly, I was expecting something along the lines of EA’s Simpsons game (which came out several years ago) but this doesn’t even come close. This might be some of the worst cell shaded visuals of this generation.

The premise is serviceable to say the least and feels very much like a direct sequel to the Multiverse episode. Bertram shows up from another universe in which he hasn’t been killed and decides to go Universe hopping to build an army and defeat Stewie. It’s enough to lay the foundation for the plot, but the problems arise the moment you take control. The awkward and robotic movement makes it feel like the characters are moving on a pivot and the poor aiming mechanics take away any joy in playing. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is a bare bones third person shooter that lacks variety and challenge. Semi open-world levels provide collectible items here and there and a few cool weapons are thrown into the mix, but there’s absolutely nothing here beyond the rudimentary.

You can switch between Brian and Stewie on the fly and the co-op option provides some additional split-screen fun. The overall tone of the game does carry the Family Guy charm, but every joyous moment is quickly dragged down by repetitive one-liners and flat sound effects. The jokes are not bad by any means, but after hearing the same line for the nth time, it only becomes infuriating.

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is a slap in the face to fans of the franchise. It has potential and it has its moments, but it feels unfinished and broken. You can beat the entire game in less than six hours and there’s absolutely no reason to ever go back. If you feel inclined to make a purchase because you need to own everything Family Guy related, then wait until it drops down to five bucks, which I’m guessing will be only a few months from now.    
Final Score “Only for the most Hardcore Fans” 5.5
Stylistically, it does a fine job of mimicking the shows aesthetics, but technically, it's a complete disaster. Cell Shaded graphics don't get much worse than this.
It's functional and somewhat fun in very small doses, but it lacks any diversity and challenge. A real shame, because the game certainly has potential…it just never does anything with it.
As a huge fan of the show, it was nice wreaking havoc in the Family Guy universe, but it was over too quickly and left me utterly disappointed. If you find it in a bargain bin, it might be worth checking out.
The voice acting is very authentic and some of the jokes are great. Unfortunately every joke repeats several hundred times and the sound effects are just awful.

Review by Tin Salamunic

Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator by night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Artciles by Tin. 

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