The Stranger Things 3 hype machine marks the return of BonusXP and their video game franchise for the Stranger Things adaptations. No major extras for this title. Just Stranger Things 3: The Game.
What Is It?
Stranger Things 3: The Game goes over the major events of season three, so be warned for any spoilers if you want to play ahead of watching. It cuts out some of the smaller details, but even some of the actual details in order to make the story more about you taking care of things, rather than other characters who aren’t playable at the time.
You play as any character currently available throughout the story, eventually unlocking all of the main characters. The story will cover the major events in pretty much the same way, though they are changed to accommodate boss battles or simplified to cut down on time. There are some other obstacles thrown into the mix, but nothing that really adds more than just filler moments or needless, sometimes optional tasks.
Why Should I Care?
Just like the first Stranger Things game, Strangers Things 3 simply commits to giving you some extra fun with the series through an old-school video game. For that, it accomplishes most of its goal.
It does a great job capturing a certain look and feel through its graphics and sounds. They come across so well for what they are set to, a super old school look and very synthetically symphonic sounds. All this in a setting that faithfully recreates the important areas of Hawkins. But it arguably does the best job including a good variety of characters and items to mix and match.
Characters will be unlocked once you reach that specific person’s major story involvement. They’ll come with their own unique skills and attacks that can have you change your fight approach. You’ll also get the chance to craft a lot of items that will stack powers and attack impacts for either the group as a whole or individual characters. Most items are going to be easy enough to craft, but you’ll need to spend a lot of time breaking items over and over to find loose change, cash, or even items themselves, which plays into the pacing issues I’ll get into in a minute. I also really liked how the game gives you the ability to use a character at any given moment once you’ve unlocked them, rather than having you only have X amount of characters in your party. It’s a nice touch that doesn’t overly complicate the gameplay against a growing set of challenges.
But with some positives to provide some legitimate simple fun, the game can’t quite get over its major disservices. First, there’s just not much more than the base story. It’s a complete rehash and, because of its old-school vibe, vies for simplicity, so there’s no room to do much else. Second, the story cuts or modifies too much of the detail that changes up the tone. It changes up character involvement that just worked so well in the show, such as Robin’s inclusion or even what Billy is doing. What’s left is a game that’s cutting corners and leaving out plenty of the darker tones which makes the final disservice, pacing, all that much funnier. For a game that cuts its corners, it also makes you run constantly back and forth to hunt supplies, or complete tasks far too incrementally. One of the worst examples is when you’re investigating some oddities at the pool and once you need to temporarily leave, you can’t come back in until you get a special milkshake for one of the lifeguards. It adds nothing but filler.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
By no means is the game any major waste of time. It’s a serviceable, if a very predictable, adaption of the season three story. It does a handful of things well to put you into the shoes of characters you may love, but doesn’t spark too much more creativity with the story. Instead, it focuses so much more on having you fight. That’s fine, but nothing overly exciting. You beat up some things, solve the occasional puzzle, then do it again. But, does it ever really try to accomplish more than that? Not particularly, so mission accomplished, to some degree.
If you’re a big fan on Stranger Things and want to commit to a little more fun within the universe, I’d say it’s going to be worth it once the price drops. The current $20 price tag won’t necessarily be for all and I’d consider it enough of a turnoff for what it ultimately brings to the table.