As a fan of the Stranger Things TV show, and loved the first 2 series, when the game was announced alongside the third season of the TV show, I was quite happy with what I saw about the game, but still rather cautious as I know how tie in games usually go.
Stranger Things 3 the game, runs alongside and tells the same story as the TV show, so if you haven’t watched the TV series yet, I would suggest doing that before playing. There is a fair few differences within the game where added extras have been put in to extend the play and give more meaning to the missions. I love how the game has that 80’s vibe to it, sticking with the era that the TV show is based in.
I reviewed the game on Nintendo Switch and playing in both Handheld and on my TV was really nice, handheld especially and playing the type of game this is felt good and felt like a very good fit for the Switch.
In Stranger Things 3 you can play with 12 different characters to play as and have within your party but only 2 can be on screen at any one time. You can switch between them by simply pressing down on the d-pad, or you can switch between party members with the ‘ZL’ and ‘ZR’ buttons. Each member comes with their own special ability, so it’s best to try and get to grips with them first so you can understand who is best in certain situations. Nancy’s good for her scissor slash up close, but Lucas and his wrist rockets are also good for distance, so it’s all about finding a good combo. You can also just do what I did most of the time and just attack, the game rarely does break away from the kind of formula of just hit the enemy until they fall over. Which is a little disappointing because as long as you keep moving about and hit, it can be very easy to get past most of those who are after you.
What I enjoyed was the ability to play this in co-op, I played it with my wife a few times and it does provide that little bit more excitement and dynamic to it. When I was playing with the AI controlling the other player, it did the job to the essentials, fought when it needed to, but other than that, nothing. Playing in co-op, both of us were able to make full use of both characters on screen and use their special ability.
You do have the ability to craft or buy trinkets within Stranger Things, which gives your team a passive ability, mainly to do with increased damage or defense, but the game doesn’t really burrow much further than that.
I found that while the gameplay was fun, and it was nice to experience the TV series more interactively, for me the missions were pretty much rinse and repeat and after a while of fetching and finding things, it got a little bit repetitive. Exploring Hawkins was a lot of fun and interacting with the different characters did bring more life to it, but the missions did bring the game down, it’s one of my pet peeves when I can see missions taking on the same form time and time again.
Combine that with combat that really wasn’t the best, I can honestly say that this is really only going to appeal to massive fans of the show, and if you haven’t watched any of the TV series, you’re not going to know what the hell is going on.