This was a title that caught my eye when it first came out. I mean, I loved Snoopy as a kid, I'm not going to lie. Snoopy and Garfield were holiday standards for me. It's been out about a year now, and I picked it up a couple of months ago on a whim and finally started to play it last month and am very glad I did. This game was a surprise to a lot of people and reviewers when it came out, but I have to admit that despite knowing that going into things, it was as good if not better than I had expected.
Graphics - 8:
For an Xbox Live game, there is a lot happening here. There is a metric ton of activity on the screen. Moving backgrounds, lots of players, gunfire and the various effects that go with it. The detail is not overwhelming and the animations are pretty simple, but I never really encountered any sort of tearing or slowdown, which is awesome considering the intense action.
Sound & Music - 6:
Not a lot of variety to the sound effects and music here. It's not bad really, but it's gets repetative fairly quickly. In addition, the sound effects never really 'help' the way they do in say, Modern Warfare 2 where the gunfire and explosions often take advantage of surround sound in a way that actually translates into gaming performance.
Gameplay - 8:
The controls are precise, and feel familiar yet different. Your ability to aim and use alternate weapons all resembles other shooting games, but the way your plane actually handles gives the shooter a unique feeling. Some of the combat manuevers are a blast to pull off, like the barrel roll. Some of the menu/customization stuff was a bit difficult right at first, I didn't quite understand how the secondary weapons were selected and set up, but once I was familiar with them, it was pretty quick and easy to choose what I wanted.
Intangibles - 8:
The campaign mode is nothing special. It's not bad really, but it's not the reason to play this game either. You can unlock a couple of achievements and such, but it feels more like training for the online mode, which is pretty robust. I'll admit, I was a bit surprised by that. I've played a handful of slightly older games lately that had little to no active online players on it. Heck, I haven't found a single online pairing for Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, which is about the same age. With quite a few different online modes to go with the people still playing, there is a good deal of fun to be had here.
Overall - 7.5:
It seems like this should be a higher score. I picked it up on a discount week, so it was only 400 points for me - but even at 800 points the game is a lot of fun. I generally just play it in small 15-30 minute bursts, but I enjoy the matches I play in. It's not as good in my mind as a Modern Warfare game or something like that, but you gain levels and that sense of progression online is still a fun one as is the core gameplay and combat. That they've skinned the whole thing with a Peanuts theme only enhances the game's appeal overall.