Pacific Rim: The Video Game Review (XBLA)

Not Great, But Its the Only Pacific Rim Game in Town

Pacific Rim: The Video Game has very specific and easily identifiable flaws, but depending on your level of giant-monsters-fighting-giant-robots fandom you may be able to overcome them and enjoy yourself. It was clearly rushed out the door as quickly as possible to launch alongside the "Pacific Rim" movie in theaters, and a huge chunk of the content is locked away as DLC, but it's still pretty fun. The fighting is solid, the customization is cool, and you get to play as giant robots and monsters fighting each other, which is a decent enough selling point. 

Pacific Rim The Video Game Details

  • Publisher: Yuke's
  • Developer: Yuke's
  • ESRB Rating: “E10" for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Pros: Neat customization; fighting can be fun
  • Cons: Shallow; lack of content; tons of DLC already; so-so presentation

Pacific Rim: The Video Game is a 1-on-1 fighting game from developer Yuke's (WWE 13, WWE 12) where you choose between a selection of giant robots called jaegers (the German word for hunter) and giant monsters called kaiju (the Japanese word for "strange creature.") The jaegers and kaiju are taken from the "Pacific Rim" movie, but the game doesn't have a plot of its own.

Pacific Rim: TVG is available for 800 Microsoft Points  (you can Buy Xbox Gift Cards at  on the Xbox Live Arcade but, unfortunately, you aren't getting much for your money. Three playable jaegers, two playable kaiju, and a handful of stages are all you get for your $10. You have to spend more money on three additional kaiju and extra stages as premium DLC. 

Easing the pain of the lack of content is that you can build your own jaeger or customize a kaiju with special abilities. This customization aspect is actually pretty cool, and building a jaeger with different parts and leveling up the various stats with XP you earn is surprisingly satisfying. Adding new abilities or leveling up really has a tangible impact on how the game plays, and taking your junky jaeger you start with and turning it into something you actually want to use is really fun. Unfortunately, the greed at the core of the game rears its ugly head again here, because if you want to paint your character a different color you have to buy that feature as DLC. 

Pacific Rim: TVG features a pair of single-player modes along with local and online multiplayer. The single-player modes are just a "story" mode where you plow through both kaiju and other jaegers in 1-on-1 fights as well as a separate survival mode where you have to kill multiple opponents in a row without regaining health in between. Both the story and survival modes are worthwhile to play through because you unlock new customization parts and abilities. The multiplayer could have been cool here as you can face off with other players with your custom jaeger, but considering how easy it is to max level everything it isn't as interesting as you'd hope.


The gameplay can only really be described as slow and shallow, but there is something fun and satisfying about it. You have left and right punches, a power attack, and projectile attack. Many characters have more than one form, and each form has its own set of unique attacks. Each character plays slightly differently from the others, so even though the basic controls are the same for everyone, the way the characters play does have some variety to it. The ultra simple controls and overall shallow gameplay means you'll see and do everything the game has to offer pretty quickly, however.

An interesting aspect of the game is that everything you do - attacking, dodging attacks, etc. - drains your energy meter. When you don't have energy, you can't attack, obviously. You regain your energy by landing attacks (they don't count if the enemy is blocking) or by being attacked. It makes the game somewhat strategic because you have to be patient and only attack when you have an opening, and to try to pace your attacks so you don't use too much energy. If you build your energy meter up enough, you'll earn super attacks that do tons of damage, as well as an instant kill move if you build it up even higher. 

The pacing of the game will likely be a turn off for many players, because it is just undeniably slow. Your attacks are slow. Your movement is slow. When you get knocked to the ground you are slow to get up. Considering that these are giant monsters and robots, it makes sense for it to be slow, but as a videogame there is no denying that the pacing is absolutely glacial. 

Graphics & Sound

The presentation in Pacific Rim: The Video Game is about as bare-bones as it could possibly be. None of the actors from the movie are present (not even as still pictures), but there isn't any voice work of any kind whatsoever. The sound effects are generic. The music is generic. The graphics are simple and not very attractive.

The Bottom Line on Pacific Rim: The Video Game

So, Pacific Rim: The Video Game is an ugly, shallow, slowly paced, half-game that wants you to pay extra to get the rest of the content. Seems like an easy game to skip, right? In spite of these obvious flaws, however, it's still an enjoyable game. It isn't the deepest fighter you'll play, but it is undeniably satisfying to knock your giant opponents around. Going back to replay the story and survival missions to unlock new customization parts is rewarding since it lets you power up your character even more, so you can play it all over again (just faster and easier this time). If you liked "Pacific Rim" in theaters, and you are a fan of the Pipeworks-developed Godzilla games from last-gen, give the demo of Pacific Rim: The Video Game a try.