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Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Compared to the first game, Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder is more of the same. You'll fight through the same types of levels, run into the same obstacles and laugh at the same kind of gags. And yet I didn't mind, because I couldn't get enough of the silly introductions and the action-packed battles. This is a fun multiplayer game, and I love that there's nothing else quite like it on the market. Sure, it feels like a carbon copy of the first game, but that's the thing about history -- we're doomed to repeat it. Rating: 71%
Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder
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Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder
  • Review Score:

  • B
It used to be that kids were told to hide under their school desks in the case of a nuclear war. I'm not sure what good a few inches of wood is going to do against four metric tons of bomb, but it helped to ease the concerns of an entire generation who grew up afraid of the Cold War. Looking back on it now, I think a lot of this fear could have been avoided if instead of fighting wars with guns and nukes, we used the Rock of Ages II approach and settled our scores by tossing giant boulders down a hill. It's not only a more whimsical approach to war, but also safer in the long run. Unless you're a kid hiding under a desk, because a few inches of wood isn't going to do much against a boulder. I guess what I'm saying is that hiding under a desk is really bad advice when a war breaks out.

Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder is the sequel to one of 2011's most unusual action games. It's basically a mix of Marble Madness and Rampart, putting you firmly in control of a large boulder whose sole purpose is to speed down a hill and crash into the enemy's castle door. What makes this so intense is that there's a second person trying to do exactly the same thing. It's a battle to see who can build the best obstacles and break through the castle door first.


Because it will take more than one boulder strike to break open the gate, there ends up being a real emphasis on setting up obstacles to mess with your opponent. You will end up spending money on cannons that will shoot at the other boulder, catapults that will send the rock flying, air balloons that will rain down bombs, wind machines that will blow boulders off course and livestock that will literally stick to the boulder.

Of course, your opponent is also spending money placing obstacles to thwart your plans. This is what makes each round of Rock of Ages so exciting. Not only will you have to traverse long, winding levels, but you'll also have to put up with exploding barrels, wind machines and all of the other obstacles your opponent left for you. By the time you've launched the third boulder, the course will be littered with animals, forts and barrels in your way. It's safe to say that beating this game requires excellent driving and platforming skills.

I liked the original game when I reviewed it a few years ago. It was easy to learn and constantly funny, as well as turning out to be one of the year's most addictive multiplayer experiences. But even with a bunch of one-on-one wins under my belt, I went into this new game a little unsure that we needed a sequel. I worried that the simple concept may not be deep enough to warrant two full game, and that this would end up being more of the same. Thankfully, I was wrong. Yes, Rock of Ages II is more of the same, but it's also a sequel I definitely needed.

Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

A lot of that has to do with the humor. Much like the first game, Rock of Ages II plays out like a twisted history lesson as illustrated by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam. Each stage has you going rock-to-rock against a historically relevant character, each with their own insane intro movies. This time around things get blurry as we check in with both real and fictional characters, including Joan of Arc, Don Quixote, Vincent van Gogh, Baba Yaga, Hercules and even Salvador Dali's The Burning Giraffe.

What I like about this cast of characters is that many of them come from paintings and other works of art, giving the developers the freedom to change up the style from one battle to the next. For example, Medusa's stage is filled with neon green mountaintops that are being pelted by a downpour, while Vincent van Gogh takes us to the beautifully realized fields of Holland. We're able to actually race through the work of art, such as when we take on Edvard Munch's iconic painting The Scream.

Beyond the typical battles, Rock of Ages II also includes a few new boss encounters. This will take us out of our comfort zone and have our boulder jumping on platforms and dodging all kinds of attacks. One example of this is the sea monster, which ends up playing out like a next generation Frogger remake. These boss fights are a little too easy, but they are a fun diversion from the typical downhill fights.

Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Unfortunately, it's not just the boss fights that are a little too easy, but the game in general. This is a complaint I had with the original game, as well. Once you've figured out the level designs and have unlocked enough obstacles, it's incredibly easy to win most of the single-player fights. And even if you don't win, the game has a funny way of letting you advance anyway. I was surprised to discover that I could destroy each tower on the world map even when I was completely routed by the computer. This is a bug that Atlus will need to fix, but chances are most people won't even notice, since the game is extremely forgiving on all difficulties.

Of course, the real fun of this game isn't going rock-to-rock with the computer, but rather battling it out with your friends. There's a real emphasis on multiplayer in Rock of Ages II, with literally every mode having some form of either online or local two-to-four player action. This includes the complete campaign, extra modes and a robust online multiplayer area filled with exciting battles and harrowing obstacles courses. Atlus has done an excellent job building on the elements people liked about the original.

Compared to the first game, Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder is more of the same. You'll fight through the same types of levels, run into the same obstacles and laugh at the same kind of gags. And yet I didn't mind, because I couldn't get enough of the silly introductions and the action-packed battles. This is a fun multiplayer game, and I love that there's nothing else quite like it on the market. Sure, it feels like a carbon copy of the first game, but that's the thing about history -- we're doomed to repeat it.
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