Bakugan: Defenders of the Core Review
Bakugan: Defenders of the Core essentially acts as the big brother to its DS counterpart. Other than keeping the gameplay largely the same, it has obvious advantages in presentation.
This is no longer a game involving marbles. Instead it focuses on the monsters inside, and their gargantuan sizes when unleashed to do battle. You are the only Bakugan Brawler unaffected by the evil Vexos Crystals that were implanted all around the world. It becomes your duty to join the resistance, reclaim all the stolen Bakugan, and bring down the Vexos and their dastardly plans.
The game’s structure is equal parts stealth missions and giant monster battles. While traveling all around the world to places like China and Egypt, you will need to sneak past guards standing in the way of your goal. Your trusty Bakugan marble can be thrown to distract them or to pick up unreachable loot. Other gadgets, such as a cloaking device and goggles to view invisible barriers, help you throughout your quest for liberation.
The camera has fixed positions and moves on its own, which gives players a major handicap and results in more than a few missteps. You will find Vexos passes, which act as “get out of jail free” cards if you get caught, that are handed out with suspicious frequency.
There are always two things to worry about when brawling with Vexos villains: other Bakugan enemies and the safety of a landmark that must be protected. To help your cause, you can place down hologram buildings that act as distractions to your enemies. It’s a nice dose of strategy added to the usual mechanics of monster battles. Of course, you can also expect the usual rewards by way of stat bonuses for successfully completing missions since a weak Bakugan simply won’t cut it.
At your disposal are light and heavy attacks as well as projectile blasts which can be charged up for higher effectiveness. Ability cards represent your Bakugans’ super moves. Each has four ability cards in total, while only two can be picked during battles. Once charged, they can be activated with a tap of the d-pad to launch a barrage of unstoppable hits or an explosive attack destroying everyone in the area.
You and a friend can go head-to-head in various local multiplayer modes including one-on-one, two-on-two, or a destruction battle that tasks both players to destroy as many Vexos crystals in a given time. The entire roster of 20 Bakugan need to be unlocked through the story mode, making it a necessity for those who want to make the most out of multiplayer.
The game retains the Bakugan look that fans will instantly recognize, from every member of the battle brawlers to their respective Bakugan. There is quite an extensive amount of dialogue between characters in-between story missions, and unlike it's little brother on the DS, the Xbox 360 version features full voice-acting. The series may have began as a glorified game of marbles. but Defenders of the Core shows that it has the potential to evolve into the next great series of dueling monsters.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]