Of course, the downside of all that joyous smashing is that those puny humans in the smart green uniforms are guaranteed to intervene, and the more destructive you are, the more they’ll get in the way. Luckily, Hulk has a decent repertoire of moves to hit them with, from the classic punch to the grab and hurl to picking up a car or lamp post and bashing them with it. At first it seems like the combat system is weak in comparison to Ultimate Destruction, but in fact you can still mash cars into steel gauntlets or turn taxis and chunks of buildings into shields; you just need to wait until the game unlocks the moves necessary first.
There’s a similar issue with movement. Initially, the less-than-jolly green giant feels a bit slow and tied to the ground after Ultimate Destruction’s Hulk, who raced up the side of skyscrapers and leapt several tall buildings in a single bound. However, a few speed upgrades soon cure the first problem, while getting used to the charged jump and high-speed bouncing moves will sort the second. And while I can’t help but miss the wall-running antics that made getting from A to B such a joy in Ultimate Destruction, you can still scale buildings at speed through the power of the Hulks mighty arms.
All of this is good, but it’s the dozens of small niggles that bring The Incredible Hulk down from the level of that earlier Hulk game. In nearly every important respect, this is a game that nearly, but never quite, delivers. Take the graphics engine, for example. At street level, most of the time, you get exactly the sort of visual richness you’d expect from an HD era game, with a detailed, nicely rendered Hulk, some solid-looking buildings, decent lighting and a sizable collection of cars, pedestrians and hostile troops or vehicles sharing the screen. Head up to the skyscrapers, however, and instead of the huge draw distances we expect after Assasin’s Creed or Crackdown, you get dull rooftops with obvious texture tiling and an awful lot of fogging to keep speeds reasonable. And when the action hots up, the frame rate slows down, going from occasional jerks to full on fits of stuttering when there are too many foes in the immediate vicinity, or when the missiles start raining down. I’ve even heard talk of complete freeze-ups, though luckily I’ve yet to have one of these happen to me.