Family Guy is one of those shows where people’s opinions on it are generally at one end of the spectrum or the other. Most people either love it or hate it, there usually isn’t much grey area. Unfortunately, when it comes to Family Guy: Back to the multiverse, your opinion of the television show can’t change the fact that this just isn’t a good game.
You are put into the role of Brian and Stewie as they travel across several different parallel universes in order to stop Stewie’s evil brother Bertram from destroying their universe. The whole universe hopping story was already done in the show and too much better results. Most of the ones you visit in the game seem uninspired and even worse, unfunny. One universe you will visit is controlled by various frat houses, while another one has physically handicapped people running things.
You will see many familiar faces from the show as you make your way through the levels, although oftentimes they seem to be completely out of place in the situation you end up finding them in. Although I do have to admit that seeing Meg as a giant sea creature in one of the later levels brought a smile to my face. The voice acting is one of the few things that Back to the Multiverse has going for it. All of the characters in the game are voiced by the same people who voice them in the show. It’s a small victory, but you learn to take what you can get when playing this game.
The graphics in Back to the Multiverse make it look like it should have been a late era PS2 game instead of a current generation title. Not only do characters move awkwardly, but the all around presentation strives to be mediocre without ever quite getting there. Various technical hiccups further mar the experience, with frequent lagging and occasional freezing being the worst offenders.
If you have ever watched the show then you pretty much know what kind of humor to expect. The game is chock full of offensive jokes and it takes advantage of stereotypes to elicit a laugh whenever it can, which unfortunately isn’t very often. The developers of Back to the Multiverse forgot the main ingredient needed when trying to pull off the type of humor that the show has built its reputation on… Intelligence. The off the wall, offensive, and disturbing humor in Family Guy works because the majority of the jokes are clever or witty. Not so with Back to the Multiverse, as most of their jokes just don’t have the substance behind them that is needed. With that being said, there are quite a few jokes in the game that are ripped straight from the show, and they are occasionally delivered well enough to force a laugh, or at least a quick chuckle.
One of the best parts of the show is taken advantage of in the game, albeit only to a small degree. The back and forth banter between Stewie and Brian isn’t played up nearly as much in the game as it has been in certain episodes of the show, but nonetheless there is still some brand new dialogue between the two during the course of the game, which made me laugh to myself more than once.
If you were hoping the gameplay was going to make up for the negative things I already mentioned then you are out of luck. Both Stewie and Brian have their own set of unique weapons to use during the course of the game. However, the only real worthwhile weapon out of the bunch is Brian’s shotgun, and that isn’t unlocked until at least halfway through the game. The damage caused by headshots is wildly inconsistent, made evident by the fact that you can take down one enemy with a single headshot and then proceed to unload three bullets into the next person’s head and watch him keep walking.
One of the most disappointing things about this game is that it’s simply not very fun to play. Most of your missions feel more tedious than fun, often sending you on fetch quests in order to move past a certain point. The entire “Frat house” universe is made up of nothing but these types of missions. You end up spending half an hour collecting all of these different items, and not a moment of that time is spent actually having fun. The final boss battle in the game actually isn’t horribly designed, although it can be incredibly frustrating to get past the first stage of it.
Things like costumes and weapons can be unlocked by completing various side missions that accompany each level in the game. I did the side quest for the first level and started to do the two for the second level until I realized that I really just didn’t care. It’s hard to care about doing side quests when the main missions are so painful to get through. My favorite part of the entire game was a short 5 minute or so period near the end where you get to control Peter as he has one of his famous bouts against the giant chicken.
Back to the Multiverse has co-op and local multiplayer, although neither are anything special. The co-op is just a way to make sure you aren’t suffering alone while playing through the game, and the local multiplayer has a few game types which basically devolve into just shooting your opponent in the face as much as possible. It gives you the opportunity to play as someone else other than Stewie and Brian, but in all honesty it really doesn’t make a difference who you play as, it’s still boring.
I can’t say I really had high expectations for this game when going into it, but I certainly hoped it would be better than it turned out to be. As a fan of the television show I am disappointed not only because Back to the Multiverse is a bad game, but also because I know with the right team a good Family Guy game could certainly be possible. Maybe one day.
– Same voices from the show
– Dull combat
– Below average graphics
– Just generally not fun