Jackass The Game Review
It's been years since the MTV show Jackass went off the air, but the success of the two movies and their strong sales on DVD have fueled these sophomoric guys to keep making new stuff. Their latest effort is a PS2 game that tries to channel all their goofiness into some ridiculous mini-games that are so over-the-top compared to other games like this. If you didn't like the show or the movies then you're almost certainly not going to enjoy this game, which is probably a good thing to those who are fans of Jackass.
I'm going to say it now, though: I am a fan of Jackass. If you're sick of Bam Margera, don't worry, though, as he's not in this game at all. Nor is Brandon DiCamillo, but the rest are here: Dunn, Knoxville, Lacy, Pontius, Steve-O, and Wee-Man, and even the show's director, Jeff Tremaine. The game starts out with a hypothetical fourth season of the show, and the filming of the first scene goes bad instantly as Tremaine gets put in the hospital with a groin injury. It'll be up to the player to film the season, and you'll have five mini-games in each "episode" where you've got to earn enough money to move onto the next episode.
Money is earned by playing the five mini-games and completing the Tony Hawk-style goals for cash. Most of the games will have you purposely injuring one of the Jackasses, and the game has a pretty detailed injury system that breaks down each broken bone, contusion, and puncture. In fact, sometimes you'll get a goal to max out your hospital bill, and these turn into some of the funniest moments in the game. Toss in a decent ragdoll system, and it actually can wind up being a lot of fun. The first event, called Pachinko Precipice, eases you in nicely as you angle one of the guys (to start, you get to choose between four characters and can unlock more as you go) down a cliff, smashing into cacti and flying off rocks as you eventually tumble down into a ravine. Some of these events go way beyond even what the guys have done in the show and movies, as in real life they'd almost surely end in death, but the feel of the show is still reproduced well here.
It helps to see the mugs of your characters in some events down at the bottom of the screen as a kind of easy way to see how beat up your guy is, and while the cutscenes' versions of the guys are almost nothing like the real people, at least they're not bad once you get into the actual game. The events you go through are usually pretty entertaining to watch, but the goal sets you have will require you to play the event multiple times to try and complete them all. You don't have to finish every single goal on each event to move onto the next "episode", but if you do you will unlock new costumes for the guys and also open up events in the Challenge mode where new goals for the events are added.
One of the more amusing parts of this game is that you're just expected to jump into an event with no knowledge of how to do it at all. A few control pointers pop up at the bottom of the screen and that's pretty much all you get. If this was a more serious or complex game I'd care more, but as it is this is perfect for anyone who's played one of these mini-game collections over the years. It can definitely make for some amusing starts to some of the events, too, when people have no idea what the controls are like.
Some events are total gross-out games, much like some of the scenes on the show and in the movies. Gamers have seen animated characters puking for arbitrary reasons for years, so this doesn't quite have the shock effect that the show probably did, but some of them are still pretty nasty. Overall, I found that the faster moving events with broken bones and the like are a lot more fun than the gross-out ones, but that could just be personal preference.
In the end, are any of the mini-games available worth coming back to a third, fourth, or fifth time? Only a few have any real depth to them, and most are pretty forgettable. But if they made you laugh before you forgot them, then I think the developers probably did their job well enough - they know this isn't high storytelling, so they just tossed together ridiculous human feats of stupidity and hope that players get a chuckle. It worked for me.
The multiplayer options in Jackass: The Game are pretty limited and only consist of a few round-robin games where people take turns on specific events as well as a few "ass-to-ass" games where two players compete at the same time. Unfortunately, Jackass never does any four-player stuff (despite many of the funniest bits on the show having everyone doing stuff together) and considering the potential that a true party game with these guys would have had, this was a bit of a letdown.
Jackass: The Game does deliver a lot of the fun that fans of the TV show have enjoyed, and the overall feel of the game is pretty authentic with rock music blaring at times, goofy cutscenes, amusing antics, and a level of risk and injury that goes way beyond even what the show did. Not much of the personality of the stars comes through - mostly because the developers didn't spend a lot of time getting them just right - but for the halfway-decent price of around $30, some of that can be forgiven. What we get is a brutal, amusing collection of mini-games that you whip out when Rayman Raving Rabbids just isn't going to cut it. Be wary, but check it out if you love Jackass.