There are those who can’t stand the Family Guy show, and those who hold it dear to their heart. I happen to be one of the latter. Family Guy is one of those shows that never fails to make me laugh. Still, I had my reservations about this new game, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse (FGM). Really, how well do games based on TV or movies ever really translate? Poorly. Sorry fellow fans, no matter how much you like the show, it’s not enough to save this game from being less than mediocre.
FGM follows Brian and Stewie as they jump between multiple parallel universes to stop Stewies’ evil twin, Bertram, from destroying their personal universe. Now, this concept was fleshed out in the show at one point, and to much better avail. These parallel universes are fairly devoid of humor and feel free from inspiration. One universe is run by warring frat-houses and another is a world populated by the “handi-capable”.
FGM found a formula they liked and they stuck to it. Every universe you enter follows the same script: dialog and cutscene, fight, get a new weapon, fight, search for collectibles, fight, fetch missions, fight, and blow up the boss. You can switch between playing as either Brian or Stewie on the fly, and each has their own set of personalized weapons at your disposal. Some are critical to finishing your current mission, adding to the linear gameplay. You are given small maps to roam around, allowing for a decent struggle in finding collectibles, but there is still only one true path for moving forward and no real side missions or optional missions.
The gameplay itself is rather tedious. Headshot damage varies wildly, though you are encouraged to make them as often as possible. Otherwise, lots of ammo is wasted while trying to kill the dozens of enemies that are thrown at you at one time. Though most of the weapons will get the job done, Brian’s shotgun is the best one by far, however you don’t unlock it until about halfway through the game. The mechanics work fine – rarely did I have any issues with that. There is only so much collecting and shooting that you can do in 45 minute levels. Nothing is really difficult about FGM, and there are no difficulty options in the menu. Buying items and upgrading your profile keep things from ever becoming too challenging.
Multiplayer is offered, but it is local only. I was shocked at first, but quickly realized why this was done. How long would an online community last for this game? Probably a couple of weeks. Being ‘local only’ allows you to turn this into a party game, at least. There are modes like Deathmatch, CTF, and Horde. They are typical, allowing you to spawn as different characters from the show with a small inventory of weapons. It’s very straightforward and completely old school.
The graphics look like they belong on the previous generation of consoles rather than the current one. The images are blocky, somewhat cell-shaded, and painfully bland. The best part of FGM is the audio. Thankfully, all of the characters in the game are voiced by the actors from the show. Some of the dialog is mildly entertaining, recreating jokes that you’ve heard on the show or adding on to them. The banter between Brian and Stewie is fun, though not really funny. This carries over through the whole game, leaving you to wonder what went wrong. If you are familiar with the show, you will know what kind of humor to expect. There are plenty of offensive jokes littering each level of the game, but they often times seem a little out of place or forced. You will also see plenty of familiar characters doing odd things in each universe, but again, the humor falls flat.
The only really good thing about FGM is that the achievements are relatively easy to get. Is that worth paying $60 to be frustrated, bored, and grind through level after level of lifeless humor? Not really. It’s too bad that this just wasn’t up to par with the show.
I give Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse 2 “Baby Quagmire’s” out of 5.