Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is a third person action game developed by Heavy Iron Studios and published by Activision. The game takes place in multiple realities all with a Family Guy theme to them; the game is heavy on jokes and is very referential to the source material.
The game begins with an alternate dimension Bertram appearing in Stewie’s room and unveiling his plan to amass an army to defeat Stewie in this reality. After equipping themselves with the “appropriate” weaponry (genius tech for Stewie and boring usual weaponry for Brian), the pair head off to foil Bertram’s plans. They go “Back to the Multiverse!”
First off, the game is a third person shooter; you play as either Stewie or Brian Griffin and can swap between them on the fly. Each has their own set of weapons and special ability; aside from that they only have a few different lines of dialogue that they spout here and there.
The first level is a universe populated by Greeks; as in the Frat house, and as such is host to the American college environment and culture. It’s a smallish level and a far cry from many of the later levels as it comprises of a linear quest line that takes place wondering around the small area.
Because of the culture it’s inspired by, the enemies here are frat boys and sorority girls. Both of which are portrayed as air/meat heads and the jocks will constantly shout homophobic abuse at you. It’s not really funny or fun to play in this level at all or the two that follow it as they contain the worse abuse/offensive humour and worst of the gameplay/ level design.
After the first level, it starts to follow the more linear shooter level designs. You’re given an objective; you complete it, go to the next point and carry on in that fashion. You fight against various factions; including pirates, Amish and the disabled. As said before the first three levels are not good; it does however get better after that in terms of humour. The fifth level is where it starts to get better and it’s a pretty average from then on with one particularly well made level.
Throughout the campaign you will earn cash by killing enemies, more for headshots or picking up various money bags etc. Using this you can either spend it on upgrades in the campaign which includes stats like health, ammo, weapon capacity and grenade capacity or you can buy costumes for Stewie and Brian after they are unlocked by meeting the requirements for each costume.
The other set of things to spend money on is in the main menu, this includes multiplayer characters, skins for them and new maps. They all have their own unlock requirements and aren’t particularly interesting unless you wish to spend time in the multiplayer.
There are some challenges available to play; it’s separate to the multiplayer but you can also play in local co-op. It works on a star based system and depending on the difficulty level you play will reward you with stars equal to the difficulty on completion. You begin with just three unlocked but as you play and earn stars, you’ll unlock more challenges.
The multiplayer has a few different modes but all in local only. Aside from the humorous take on the standard set of multiplayer modes, you’ll also find horde mode here. Horde mode is more difficult and frustrating than it should be and due to the small cluttered environments the AI gets stuck often and will just run into walls.
The story cutscenes are actually pretty good, it isn’t always that funny but it is reasonable. There are call-backs to the show littered around the place and the first three levels are filled with most of the offensive unfunny comment/jokes etc. After those levels it becomes less offensive and the comedy is more hit and miss; like the TV show.
Presentation and Audio
The voice acting for the main characters is pretty spot on; the enemies though, aren’t quite so good. The graphics are much what you expect from a cartoon made 3D, though there are some oddities on the characters where the “outlines” aren’t quite right.
The shooting and melee elements are ok but not particularly great and AI can be quite poor; running into walls or getting stuck on objects. The level design can be a bit tedious at times with the combat but the first three levels are the worst for it; it does get a little better as you progress. There is multiplayer and horde modes but neither are online; so you’ll have to find someone who will play through them with you.
The game isn’t completely lacking in “good” Family Guy humour but it is sporadic and most of the levels aren’t particularly fun or funny to play. There are some average levels and one really good level that comes in a little too late for most to see. The single player is easier and slightly more fun in co-op but the multiplayer modes aren’t really appealing at all. It won’t really appeal to anyone who isn’t a big Family Guy fan; even then it’s subjective to what you make of the humour in the game.
I enjoy Family Guy and I did enjoy some of the humour in the game but the first few levels are just too offensive without having any real jokes to back it up. It probably doesn’t help that the “jokes” are often bits of dialogue that are spouted out too frequently to go largely unnoticed. It comes off as just hateful speech and made me feel uncomfortable playing the game. It does pass however and there are still some funny moments for Family Guy fans to find.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.