Features & News

Hands On: Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse

November 4, 2012, Author: Matt Parker

Family guy has had previous gaming incarnations, but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting them. In fact, you’d be advised to. Not one to give up on a popular franchise, we have Activision who are presenting us with Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse. A 3rd person shooter with some platforming elements.

Taking a cue from the best Family Guy episodes, this is a Brian and Stewie-centric romp through a whole bunch of alternate universes to stop an evil baby. Sound fun? Well, don’t form an opinion just yet, I’ve more to say.

Bertrand, Stewie’s evil step-brother, has managed to create a remote to the multiverse. The multiverse is not a particularly new idea, it’s basically something to do with alternate dimensions, all of which have their own unique twists. You have to chase Bertrand around these dimensions to stop him creating an army which he plans to use to destroy your own universe.

Fans of the show will recognise the premise as it sounds an awful lot like an episode lifted straight from a series of the animation. Well, it turns out, the show’s writers have been at work on the game’s story, so you’ll be getting Family Guy’s ‘unique’ humour throughout each level. Adding to the authenticity is the voice work that’s been done, with the show’s cast having recorded all-new lines especially for the game.

It looks and sounds just like the show. How appealing that sounds is down to you.

Further adding to the illusion that you’re playing an episode of the show is the graphics. The game’s screenshots don’t do the game’s visuals justice as it often had me looking a bit harder just to make sure it was still ‘in-game’ and not an animated cut-scene. Ultimately, this game is pure fan-service. References to minor characters, events and common themes crop up throughout your time within the levels. You’ll not want to rush through the missions as you’ll end up missing the nods and winks placed in there for the fans.

What may make you want to rush through the levels is the somewhat repetitive nature of the quests given. Fetch these, protect that, kill this – all pretty standard. Some ‘objectives’ are barely that, asking you to simply ‘go to the next room’.

Fighting the repetitive nature of the levels is the unlockables weapons, power-ups and items you’ll get as you play through the game.

With each level you’ll be introduced to a new weapon which will be specific to either Brian or Stewie. Stewie naturally gets to have an arsenal consisting of laser weapons and flamethrowers, with Brian having a more traditional load-out of firearms.

No time to dance, there's shooting to be done!

Power-ups are of the standard ‘increased health’ and ‘increased grenade capacity’ variety which you’ll need to be sure you’re purchasing as the fights can get a little hectic. Money can be gained by defeating enemies, with bonuses for headshots and completing objectives during each level.

The usable items consist of further references to Family Guy episodes and characters. One item is a chicken egg which hatches into, you guessed it, the chicken that Peter fights with on a regular basis accompanied by ‘The Bird is the Word’ playing in the background. If you understand what I just said, then you’re probably who this game is aimed at. Otherwise, you won’t really find much for you in this offering.

If you want to play as someone other than Brian or Stewie you'll have to play multiplayer. Offline.

One very strange admission was that there’d be no online modes for this game. The co-op was local only, which you can kind of forgive, but to have multiplayer be local only seems just bizarre. Multiplayer was fun and opened up the option to play as 10 characters, rather than the main campaign’s 2, so it’s a real shame that most people will spend little time in it, if any.

From my hands-on with the game, it all seemed pretty standard fare. Playing well enough and providing a challenge to feel rewarding, it’s the fans of the show that will end up getting the most out of this game when it launches on the 23rd of November. Don’t expect anything deep or revolutionary, just be expecting some simple fun. Kind of like the show.