As with most beat 'em ups, you have the option to break things. Less items than expected were destructible, but things like vases and crates give your characters life or experience orbs as a reward for breaking them. The life and experience distribution was automatic, filling up whoever needs it most. So, if Kick-Ass has full life but he's the one to break open a crate, the life will still go to Hit Girl if she's lower on health. This system was extremely handy since I just really like breaking things.
Experience goes toward leveling up your character, where you add skill points into one of three categories; Defense, Attack, and Special. Finding balance here was also a bit of a challenge, and we may have benefited from replaying some previous levels for some experience grinding. But, all of the leveling was very quickly noticed. Your health bar grows immediately, your attack power is more satisfying, and your special meter (for special attacks) replenishes much more quickly.
Another co-op benefit for Kick-Ass is the ability to revive. It took a while to find a balance between reviving each other, and not dying. As the reviving party, you have to stand over your downed partner and hold down the Circle button, which means the amount of time to revive is set - no quick-time button mashing for you. A quick hint here would be the ground-stomp that incapacitates enemies for a few seconds. Simply jump and hit an attack button to bring your character crashing down on the enemies heads, scattering them just long enough to hold down that Circle button for revival. It takes a little while to get used to, but once you master it you'll be able to keep your buddy by your side for the duration of some fairly long battles.
One of the challenges in co-op was keeping the screen and camera in order. Player 1 has control of the slow-moving camera, so if they are not paying attention or too camera-happy, that can mess up the feng shui of the game pretty quickly. Sometimes you lose track of your character behind a wall, or sometimes you blindly run face-first into a burning wall of flaming lumber. There was also the shared screen that was a bit of a challenge when we couldn't see or get to some of the enemies off screen. Since almost every punch or bullet fired would launch an enemy off screen, it was hard to keep track of what enemy was shooting at us from where.
It was also difficult to share the screen when we didn't know which direction we wanted to go when the heat was on, because you're being attacked from all sides. This left us stumbling over our own camera/screen issues for a large portion of the game. After we mastered a few of the levels giving us trouble, we were able to move through the areas fairly well - it just took more getting used to than we would have liked.
Being a licensed game, it's expected that some form of another medium would be present here. Kick-Ass did a nice job of blending movie and comic book elements into the game. Most of the voice acting came from the actors in the movie, as well as the music and a few cut scenes, while the rest of the cut scenes and style came from the comic books. This gave the game a nice feel that was still its own, but didn't betray its roots.
In general, I'd say Kick-Ass had its share of a few issues, but it was certainly not a bust by any means. I'd throw this one happily closer to the "gem of the gaming world" than the mutilated Watchmen game. Kick-Ass for PSN lived up to its name, and made us co-op comic/movie geek types proud.
The Co-Op Experience: Players can play as Kick-Ass, Big Daddy or Hit Girl in this isometric beatem' up.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.