Review: ‘Jumper: Griffin’s Story’

The tagline for "Jumper" boasts that "anywhere is possible." But gamers excited about that idea will be sorely disappointed by this uninspired, cheap-looking adaptation.

The tagline for “Jumper” boasts that “anywhere is possible.” But gamers excited about that idea will be sorely disappointed by this uninspired, cheap-looking adaptation. Instead of giving players the power to teleport around the world, it shunts them through a series of tedious fisticuffs, one dull room at a time. Odds are slim that “Jumper: Griffin’s Story” will generate even a fraction of the companion pic’s opening weekend B.O. success.

Samuel L. Jackson and Hayden Christensen — the film leads — haven’t lent their voices to the game, which focuses on Jamie Bell’s character. This is actually a benefit, as Bell’s performance as Griffin is the most compelling in the movie. Unfortunately, the plot and dialogue of “Griffin’s Story” do very little to take advantage of the actor’s talent, which is squandered on one-liner taunts and obligatory cut-scene exposition.

Because Bell plays a rogue “jumper” without any of the moral constraints of a lead character in a Hollywood actioner, the game is allowed a certain amount of nastiness. While beating up on a never-ending army of goons, players occasionally trigger a fatality sequence in which Griffin teleports his victim into a shark tank, on top of a volcano or in the path of a nuclear explosion. These mean-spirited kills are amusing, absurd and easily the most gratifying thing about the game. Unfortunately, there are only 10 sequences, so they repeat far too often.

There are no puzzles, no interaction with the environments and no variety in the enemies or encounters. There are also none of the movie’s over-the-top teleportation tricks, like zapping into the middle of a war zone, ripping buildings apart or double-decker buses appearing in mid-air.

Instead, “Jumper: Griffin’s Story” is a bottom-of-the-barrel fighting title in which different buttons determine the direction from which the main character appears and attacks. Only near the end does it require a bit of finesse, as opponents start to block attacks from some directions.

Griffin can also build up bonus power if he attacks from certain angles, which forces players to watch a colored circle under the targeted bad guy and ignore the graphics and animation in the process. This is no great loss, however, as the game looks like it was made in the ’90s.

A couple of barely discernable weapons upgrades happen on the way to the end. There are pointless collectibles that accumulate in an equally pointless loot room, accessible from the main menu. It’s hardly worth the loading screen it takes to visit.

About a half dozen cut scenes drawn in the style of a comicbook try to tell a story, but they do little to make sense of what’s going on. Instead, over the course of the game, players will be confronted with mysteries such as, “Where am I supposed to be?”; Who is this guy I’m fighting?”; and “Why aren’t I playing a better game?”

Jumper: Griffin's Story


A Brash Entertainment presentation of a game developed by Collision Studios and RedTribe, and licensed by 20th Century Fox and Regency for the PlayStation 2, Wii and Xbox 360. Reviewed on Xbox 360. Rated T. $40 to $60

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