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Watchmen: The End Is Nigh is an episodic video game series that serves as a prequel to the film adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The game was originally announced for release in downloadable installments on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade, with the first one released in March 2009 to coincide with the film's theatrical release.[3] The second episode was released in July and August 2009.[2]

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh
WatchmenThe End is Nigh game cover.jpg
Developer(s)Deadline Games
Publisher(s)Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Director(s)Søren Raadved Lund
Designer(s)Uffe Friis Lichtenberg
Writer(s)Peter Aperlo
Len Wein
Composer(s)Tyler Bates
SeriesWatchmen
EngineKapow
PhysX
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation Network for PlayStation 3
Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360
Release
Genre(s)Action, beat 'em up
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Both episodes were released together on disc on July 21, 2009 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A limited edition of the PlayStation 3 version was released billed as "The Complete Experience", which also included the extended Director's Cut version of the film in Blu-ray format.[2]

Contents

GameplayEdit

The game allows players to take on the roles of either Rorschach or Nite Owl in single player or cooperative multiplayer. Rorschach and Nite Owl are the only playable characters in the game's first episode, which comprises six "chapters." Cutscenes that look like animated comic panels, similar to those seen in the Watchmen motion comics released on iTunes, bookend each chapter. Two of the film's actors, Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley, provide their voices for their characters Nite Owl and Rorschach, respectively. The game features a mix of beat-em-up and puzzle gameplay, with the two characters having different strengths and abilities. Rorschach is faster with unconventional attacks and makes use of improvised weapons like crowbars and baseball bats; Nite Owl is slower but has a solid martial arts method and uses technological devices, such as "screecher bombs", and the grappling gun. The characters must work cooperatively to pass puzzles and defeat enemies.

The game is set in 1972 during the Crimebusters (for the film adaptation, The Watchmen) era. The first chapter of the game is a tutorial taking place while Rorschach and Nite Owl infiltrate a prison. Underboss, a villain mentioned in the comic book, appears in the game, as do other adversaries who are only mentioned or briefly shown in flashbacks in the original comic. Nite Owl's flying craft, Archimedes, appears, though the player never has control over it during the game.

An article on Comicmix.com emphasized the game's focus on teamwork between the two characters: in single-player mode, the AI controls the other character aside from the main character, while the game can be played in Local Co-op with two players as both characters. The article also mentioned there would be no online Co-op mode.

PlotEdit

The End Is Nigh takes place during the Crimebusters era (renamed Watchmen for the film adaptation), when Rorschach and Nite Owl II were crime-fighting vigilantes before the Keene Act passed in 1977. Upon hearing a police bulletin, Nite Owl and Rorschach make their way to Sing Sing prison to help quell the rioting that has erupted there.

Once there, they find out the riots were a ruse to cover up the escape of The Underboss, a crime lord. They make their way to a bar, the Rumrunner, and question one of the patrons to find out who orchestrated the escape. They find out Jimmy the Gimmick was behind it, so they chase him down the docks to an abandoned amusement park. They corner him on the tracks of a roller coaster, where someone activates the carts to try to kill Jimmy. Nite Owl holds them back with his grappling hook but a mysterious sniper shoots the cable, causing the carts to fly right into Jimmy, causing him to be severely injured. Before his fall off the roller coaster, Jimmy managed to tell them the Underboss is in his old hideout in the sewers, so after calling an ambulance for Jimmy, that is where Nite Owl and Rorschach go.

They don't find him, but they do find a missing FBI associate director, Mark Felt, tied up and bleeding heavily, seemingly tortured. He tells them that someone (who the heroes presume to be Underboss) means to kill two reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the would-be informers of the Watergate scandal. Upon leaving the sewers, Nite Owl and Rorschach are ambushed by the police, Rorschach chiming in that they have been set up.

They fight their way through them to get to the construction site where Felt told them Underboss is, only to find that the reporters are already dead. Underboss claims he had nothing to do with it, that he was set up. The duo chases him up the construction site and manages to corner him, but the Comedian snipes him from afar. It turned out the Comedian was the mastermind behind all the events, working on behalf of the American government to cover up the Watergate Scandal (a reference to a comment made about Woodward and Bernstein by the Comedian in both the graphic novel and film).

In Part 2, Rorschach sets on the trail of a missing girl named Violet Greene. With a reluctant Nite Owl in tow, they infiltrate a seedy strip club, where they discover that the kidnapper is the Twilight Lady, an old flame of Nite Owl's. They break into her mansion (which acts as a high class brothel) and discover that Violet enjoys being a prostitute, however Rorschach claims that she may have been brainwashed. Nite Owl says that if Violet is there of her "own free will" then there is nothing that they can do. Rorschach disagrees, and the pair chase Twilight Lady through the mansion, before she is thrown into a skylight. The ending of the chapter depends upon the outcome of the final battle (between Nite Owl and Rorschach). If Nite Owl wins, then he throws Rorschach through the skylight and rescues Twilight Lady before ordering her to leave town and never return. If Rorschach wins, however, he throws Nite Owl to one side and shoots Twilight Lady with the harpoon gun, killing her. Whichever character is the victor, the game ends with the partnership between Nite Owl and Rorschach being severed, and Nite Owl teaming up with the Comedian to quell a riot (an event which is depicted both in the graphic novel, and the film).

DevelopmentEdit

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment was announced to be publishing two downloadable games during the theatrical and DVD releases of the 2009 film. Deadline Games is developing the two properties. WB took this low-key approach to adapting the film to avoid rushing the game on this tight schedule, as most film games are panned by critics and gamers.[4] The game is written by Len Wein, the comic's editor. Dave Gibbons, the comic's artist, is also an advisor.[5]

Electronic Gaming Monthly announced the title of the game to be Watchmen: The End Is Nigh and had the game as its cover story for December 2008.[6]

A teaser trailer premiered on Spike's Video Game Awards show on December 14, 2008.[7]

The PC and PlayStation 3 demos were released on 3 March 2009, available on Steam and the PlayStation Network respectively.

The Xbox 360 version of Watchmen: The End Is Nigh - Part II was released through Xbox Live Arcade on Wednesday, August 26, 2009.[2]

ReceptionEdit

Part 1Edit

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh - Part 1
Review scores
PublicationScore
PCPS3Xbox 360
1UP.comB−[8]B−[8]B−[8]
DestructoidN/A5/10[1]5/10[1]
EurogamerN/AN/A3/10[9]
GamePro     [10]     [10]     [10]
GameSpot6.5/10[11]6.5/10[11]6.5/10[11]
GameTrailersN/A4.9/10[12]N/A
GameZoneN/AN/A6.5/10[13]
Giant BombN/AN/A     [14]
IGN5.5/10[15]5.5/10[16]5.5/10[16]
OXM (US)N/AN/A7/10[17]
PC Gamer (US)71%[18]N/AN/A
PSMN/A     [19]N/A
PSM3N/A34%[20]N/A
Teletext GameCentralN/AN/A4/10[21]
WiredN/A4/10[22]N/A
Aggregate score
Metacritic61/100[23]54/100[24]55/100[25]

Part 1 received "mixed" reviews on all platforms according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[23][24][25] 1UP.com's review stated that Part 1 was a "decent HD-generation beat-em-up" but cautioned that "as gorgeous as everything is, it's also repetitive."[8] Official Xbox Magazine said that co-op was fun, but that they were disappointed no online co-op was given.[17] Hyper's Daniel Wilks commended Part 1 for its "rain effects [and] shadow and character models" as well as its "decent fighting engine". However, he criticized it for "repetitive action and level design [and being] not particularly difficult".[26] Video game talk show Good Game's two presenters gave it 4 and 5 out of 10.[27]

Variety gave the PlayStation 3 version an unfavorable review and called it "a distressingly shallow videogame in which there's nothing for players to do but beat the living crap out of everyone they see."[28] Wired gave the same console version four stars out of ten, saying, "The game requires very little in the way of strategy or timing -- just mashing on the attack buttons is more than enough to get you through half the game. At that point, more and more enemies start piling on you, and getting cheap-shotted in the back is an excellent way to die (and be booted out to a long loading screen while you wait for the exact same level you were just in to be reloaded)."[22] Teletext GameCentral gave the Xbox 360 version a score of four out of ten and said, "It certainly looks and sounds the part but this downloadable game is just as shallow as most retail tie-ins."[21]

Part 2Edit

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh - Part 2
Review scores
PublicationScore
PCPS3Xbox 360
1UP.comC−[29]C−[29]C−[29]
EurogamerN/AN/A2/10[30]
GameProN/A     [31]N/A
IGN5/10[32]5/10[32]5/10[32]
OXM (US)N/AN/A4.5/10[33]
PC Gamer (UK)28%[34]N/AN/A
PSM3N/A32%[35]N/A
Teletext GameCentralN/AN/A4/10[36]
Aggregate score
Metacritic44/100[37]46/100[38]44/100[39]

Part 2 received "generally unfavorable reviews" on all platforms according to Metacritic.[37][38][39]

Parts 1 and 2 (The Complete Experience)Edit

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh - The Complete Experience
Review scores
PublicationScore
PS3Xbox 360
Game Informer5.5/10[40]5.5/10[40]
GameSpot6/10[41]6.5/10[42]
GameZone5.7/10[43]5.5/10[44]
IGN5/10[45]5/10[46]
411Mania6.5/10[47]N/A
Aggregate score
Metacritic59/100[48]56/100[49]

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Parts 1 and 2 received "mixed" reviews according to Metacritic.[48][49]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ a b c d e "Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Announces the Launch of 'Watchmen: The End Is Nigh Part 2'". Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. July 21, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Announces The Launch Of 'Watchmen: The End Is Nigh'". Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. March 4, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  4. ^ Ben Fritz (July 23, 2008). "'Watchmen' games a go". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Stephen Totilo (July 23, 2008). "'Watchmen' Video Game Preview: Rorschach And Nite Owl Star In Subversive Prequel Set In 1970s". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  6. ^ 1UP staff (November 6, 2008). "EGM Watches the Watchmen in Our December Issue". 1UP.com. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  7. ^ El Mundo Tech (December 15, 2008). "Watchmen: The End is Nigh - Spike TV VGA Awards World Premier Trailer - Dec. 14, '08". YouTube. Google. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
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  9. ^ Dan Whitehead (March 9, 2009). "Watchmen: The End Is Nigh [Part 1] (Xbox 360)". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
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External linksEdit