👊🏻🏀 Review: Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn "The Big Daddy is BACK!" 🏀👊🏻 #ShaqFu

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Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn

I know nothing about basketball, but after Shaquille O’Neil was in his own hot game on the SNES and in that one movie where everyone thinks it was Sinbad, I figured he must be a major star. And that opening line is all we need to mention about the original game, as this second iteration seems to want nothing to do with the classic fighter, other than as material for some jokes. 

Many years and a sprinkle of crowdfunding later though, this dominant athlete is looking to craft a new legend, or at least wants to make something closer to an actual success in the video game world. 

Is it possible though, or are some things in history truly doomed to repeat?

It starts off with a cool title screen, showing off the character and a few options, and then thirty minutes of me trying to get my controller working. 

Playing on PC, the game would not recognize my PS4 controller and was very stubborn when it came to the wired XBox 360 gamepad, but even after I thought we had come to some sort of an understanding, the game never acknowledged my trigger buttons, even after several long minutes of trying to trick it into doing so, and a little begging. 

This made the game much harder, as I had to play with the controller but constantly switch to hitting the W button on my keyboard anytime I needed to perform a special attack on a boss or pick up a weapon. So, due to me having to jump back and forth, many of my inputs were eaten or didn’t register. Saying I was frustrated at this is an understatement, and that doesn’t even cover the small glitches. Also, it only happened to me once, but I read about others having several instances of the entire game freezing. We are off to a fantastic start. 

The presentation is the strongest aspect of this new legend. The story is possibly a bit more involved than anyone expected, but it is a giant bucket of nonsense. Graphics and animations all look good with some solid colour choice and the sprites are smaller but standout, while it’s the animated cutscenes that show off something truly cool while delivering small bits of plot and insanity. The voice acting isn’t bad either. I was a little surprised that Shaq’s performance didn’t throw me off more, but it was his singing that got me, especially that opening song about being the ‘big daddy,’ that was far too catchy. 
Gameplay on its own isn’t necessarily bad. It’s a single button attack with a few special moves that have to be used to be effective against certain enemies while throwing in a dash and rolling to make movement less tedious. The game starts off easy but does get harder, especially when certain enemies begin dealing massive amounts of damage and there are so many that it is almost impossible not to get hit. Thankfully there are these transformation power-ups that give the hero an Iron Man inspired power suit of armour or turn him into a massive damage dealing Shaqtus, and I wish I had made that part up. There are some orbs to pick up that grant energy and health, while Shaq can be fully restored with a jug of Icy Hot—which I hear he endorses, and I’m sure that gave someone a small chuckle. 

The humour of the game is actually pretty good in several spots, except for the times it tries too hard in spectacular fashion. Breaking the fourth wall is probably when the game shines the most, like how they joke about one character not fighting because a certain level of the IndieGogo wasn’t met, or when Shaq stops to address the developers about how many waves of enemies are in one stage, as a couple of those moments—mostly self-deprecation—had me laughing. 

Shaq is a large African American man who continually insists that he is Chinese as he hunts down demonic celebrities that are obviously inspired by real-life individuals, which is a crazy premise that should make sure no one takes this game too seriously from the start, but I can understand if someone found it racially, sexually, or gender offensive. It pushes hard on stereotypes for seemingly little reason other than to try it. I’m just convinced if I asked the developers why they did or added in certain things, there wouldn’t be a good answer—making it a drastically shallow experience.

The game is incredibly short, with most people beating it in just over three or four hours of gameplay, with most of that being repetitive action, just pushing on to see what crazy thing will happen next in the outlandish story bit. 

That’s my polite way of saying that this isn’t going to be worth most people’s time, unless someone is just immensely bored, or just want to embrace this cheesy experience. 

I’ve heard that Barack Obama and Kanye West are in the DLC, and amusing as that is, it won’t have me spending any more money or putting too much extra time into this game—my apologies, Mr President. 

I could see breaking this one out to show a friend who is really curious though, or years later, to remind myself the game actually happened. 

This has proven to be less of a legend and more like a fever dream, and I think if I want to explore any more games with basketball superstars, I’ll re-tackle Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City. 

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

Review By Wilds

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