Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A. Review
Quick! Name three licensed (aka based off movie or television show) games that were actually good games. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay for the Xbox, the SNES Star Wars series and Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure on GBA were the first ones I thought of and without a doubt, your answer will be different than mine. Ok… got the three games pictured? Good. Now think about every licensed that has been awful. I bet you came up with way more answers than you did with the original question. What I'm trying to convey is that most licensed games are downright awful, and the skewing of nearly every gamer's answer belies a troubling ratio – and I'm guessing here – but I think its safe to say that about 90 percent of theses games are pretty much worthless, for one reason or another. Sadly, the new DS Code Lyoko game falls into that unfavorable 90 percent.
Here's a little background - Code Lyoko is a Cartoon Network animated program that follows the adventure of a group of students who can “hack into” the “Virtual Sea” and fight bad guys as their respective superhero avatars. Remember Reboot? Yeah… so do I. I'll let you insert your own “series of tubes" joke here. The show is almost unmistakable in appearance; it's drawn in the anime style, but not well enough that it could be confused with actual anime. I believe the show is French in origin, so by watching the program you can see what anime would look like if it came from Paris, rather than Tokyo. And man, it ain't pretty.
I reviewed the Wii Lyoko game a few months ago, and I found it to be a pleasant 3D platform game with a point-and-click interface that we just don't see enough of anymore. That game's plot started at the beginning of the series and really, REALLY tried to accommodate those of us who don't know much about Lyoko. Yeah, it was ridiculous, but at least I could figure out what was going on. You'll have no such luck with this game. The story here picks up where the last DS game left off and makes no effort to acclimate any new players or Lyoko fans. Just like the most recent Dragon Ball Z game, Burst Limit, if you don't go in with a good understanding of the plot, you'll be totally lost from the first moment to the last, boring boss fight. With as much jargon as Lyoko uses (Virtual Sea, Replicas, X.A.N.A… I got nothing), even just a text recap of the story thus far would have been awesome.
Even if you do get the plot, the gameplay still won't impress anyone anytime soon. Instead of the 3D action of the Wii game, this DS sequel goes gung-ho for the same tired turn-based RPG battle system that we've all been sick of for years and years. That, coupled with a top down perspective and more-or-less random, slow paced battles make this game feel like someone took the generic plans for an SNES RPG and slapped the Lyoko license on it. If swapped out the game's graphics for, say, world leaders or Tetris pieces, the gameplay would remain 100 percent the same. Even the laziest of RPGs toss in something to set itself apart from the pack, but you won't find that here.
Here's what we're dealing with: Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A. is an obtuse, for-fans-only generic RPG with no defining characteristics. I won't waste time describing the visuals and sound, they are both about as generic and boring as visuals and sounds get. Ouch. Even though I'm no Lyoko fan, I had high hopes for this game after playing through the Wii Lyoko. What I found was just a boring, tired been-there-done-that RPG with a popular cartoon slapped on. Looks like the ratio of good/bad licensed games will continue to climb unabated.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 49%.