As CBR News discovered Thursday afternoon at the E3 convention in Los Angeles, that curse may finally have been broken. Which is odd, because it was broken not only by Electronic Arts, a company not known for it's quality superhero games, but by EA Tiburon, which while known for quality sports and action games, had never designed an action title.
That said, "Superman Returns" isn't going to win any titles for originality. The game is basically the Superman version of "Spider-Man 2." Superman protects and explores Metropolis, occasionally saving it from random events, while working through a story that follows the movie plot, while inserting "movie-ized" versions of comic book characters, like Metallo and Parasite.
While the basic game format may have been lifted from Spidey, the rest of the game is pure Superman. Kal-El doesn't have to stop any purse snatchers. He's too busy saving dirigibles from being attacked by flying monsters, and flying water towers over fires to put them out. And instead of swinging through the city, Superman flies at speeds up to 800 MPH (faster than a speeding bullet!).
The game takes its Superman lore seriously. The Daily Planet globe towers over the city. Suicide Slum is a division of Metropolis. There is at least one franchise of Superman's favorite hamburger joint, Big Belly Burger, in the city. And although EA Tiburon producers refused to confirm or deny Mongul's existence in the game, one of the levels takes place on Warworld.
Although the game is only 40 percent complete, it looks absolutely amazing running on an Xbox 360. Superman is a slightly buffed up dead ringer for Brandon Routh. His cape alone contains more polygons than the entire stadium and full set of players in "Madden NFL" for PSP. And for those complaining about the costume, "Superman Returns" appears to be using a brighter red than the movie. Metropolis covers 80 square miles, with over 10,000 fully destructible buildings. An elevated train winds its way through the city, and although currently non-functional, will eventually play into game missions.
And the best part is the game isn't coming out with the movie. Its set to hit stores with the DVD release, so there's a decent chance the game won't get an ugly rush job. It sounds like EA may have learned a lesson from "Catwoman."