The most offensive game of the year, for more reasons than one…
Published on Nov 26, 2012
The notes scrawled down while playing Family Guy: Back To The Multiverse for review are as follows. “Racist stuff about Greeks.” “Joke about disabled people. Disablist? Look up word.” “Flying sperm.” “Cockfight with HUMANS.” “Sigh.”
That’s a pretty good starting point for this review – the humour. Being based on the TV show, you’d expect Family Guy: Back To The Multiverse to crowbar jokes in as frequently as possibly. There are rarely more than a few seconds of silence without some sort of offensive, racist or sexist remark being thrown at you.
Note the word ‘remark’. Not ‘joke’. Jokes are funny. These aren’t funny. Whether you like Family Guy’s humour or not is irrelevant. The writing here is horribly lazy, plumping for dick jokes and racist asides, being mildly uncomfortable at best and offensive at worst.
Family Guy is hardly high-brow humour, so there are bound to be some jokes that hit the mark with fans, but the hit-to-miss ratio in Back To The Multiverse is horribly tilted towards the latter. Shooting down the disabled in the second level leads to a ‘stand-up routine’ remark from Brian. Shooting chickens prompts a ‘I can choke chickens’ aside.
There are some who will feel this is misinterpreting Family Guy’s brand of humour. “Oh NowGamer, don’t be so sensitive! It’s funny! You just don’t get it!” But even if you do get it, being assaulted with constant attempts at offensive humour quickly becomes tiresome. Even reloading your gun is accompanied by “I’m reloading, you dick!”
And still, there’s time for jokes to be recycled. Remember that bit in Family Guy where Peter Griffin holds his knee and goes “argh!” over and over again? Or the bit where he fights a chicken? Of course you do. Everyone does. They’ve become synonymous with the show.
Hey! Guess what jokes made it into Back To The Multiverse? The bit where Peter Griffin holds his knee and goes “argh!” over and over again! And the bit where he fights a chicken!
As For The Game…
This is backed up by an incredibly uninspiring game, which isn’t particularly bad but so, so bland. It’s a third-person shooter where you switch between Stewie and Brian (or play as both in co-op) and work your way through bland levels full of bland enemies by firing bland weapons.
As you chase Bertram through the multiverse, you wind up among Amish, space chickens and dinosaurs. Yet besides cameos from Peter, Meg, Lois and the crew tucked away on each level and the odd flourish (sniping sections or lower gravity in space), there’s no real gameplay difference to tell them apart.
The lack of nuance to the shooting and abundance of collectibles gives Back To The Multiverse the stench of a PS2-era licensed title. Boss battles are passable. There aren’t any difficulty spikes. It’s about as inoffensive as you can get, which is ironic given the humour the gameplay is essentially a vehicle to serve jokes about cripples.
The whole thing is over and done with in about five hours. There are challenges to play through but this is where the difficulty ramps up significantly and becomes frustrating to work through. As you’re playing through the same levels again except with different characters and different objectives, challenge mode is easily ignored.
There’s also offline only multiplayer, where four-player split-screen is dedicated to Deathmatch, Capture The Greased Up Deaf Guy and so on. Because the third-person shooting from the main game isn’t awful – it’s bland rather than broken – multiplayer isn’t actually that bad.
The offensive humour from the main game is stripped away and having selectable characters beyond Stewie and Brian does a much better job of showing off the show’s personality – Meg attacking with her nails for melee attacks, Peter Griffin using his nailgun as a starting weapon and so on.
The lack of an online is a killer that reduces Family Guy’s multiplayer to little more than achievement hunting but it does make you think this game would have been far better positioned as a downloadable multiplayer-only title rather than a retail title with an awful single player attached.
Worst Game This Gen?
Family Guy: Back To The Multiverse isn’t in any danger of being the worst game this generation, not when the likes of Bomberman: Act Zero and Fuzion Frenzy 2 exist. But it is the modern day equivalent of BMX XXX, a game that peddles offensive material as its selling point in place of any gameplay that could be described as interesting or ambitious.
“Fire my body into the sun,” says Brian at one point, exasperated with Stewie’s constant abuse. It’s a feeling you can relate to all too quickly.
Version Tested: Xbox 360
5.4 / 10
2.8 / 10
3.9 / 10
2.0 / 10
5.1 / 10
2.9 / 10
Mediocre gameplay buried underneath awful humour. Even fans will be disappointed by how lazy the writing in Family Guy: Back To The Multiverse and beyond the humour, it's so very bland.