Not all it’s quacked up to be

Life is like a hurricane. It slowly turns in a large circular motion, eventually leading all things back to where they started. There’s no better explanation for the recent resurgence of DuckTales, a series which—after lying dormant for about two decades—has seen two new games within the past two months. Unlike its older sibling, DuckTales Remastered, DuckTales: Scrooge’s Loot is a brand new title with a vastly different approach: a team-based shooter.

Scrooge’s Loot starts off with a cutscene of Scrooge McDuck writing a letter to his nephews. Suddenly, he realizes his money vault is being attacked by his greatest villains. That’s the extent of the story, for the most part. The voice acting in the initial cutscene is covered by the original cast, which is a nice touch, but that’s as far as the nostalgia blast is willing to go.

Scrooge’s Loot is DuckTales in name only. After the initial cutscene, you’ll be given a generic, customizable character who will battle other generic, customizable characters. The only carryover from the source is Launchpad running the tutorial and commenting on your deaths. This lack of involvement with the rest of the series makes the main menu’s version of the theme song feel like a lie. The game lacks the charm and character even DuckTales Remastered manages to implement.

The gameplay has the potential to be the title’s saving grace. Not only does Scrooge’s Loot fail to tap into that potential, it ignores it completely. The general gameplay pits two teams of four against one another. Players are to run to the gold pile in a neutral part of the stage, then run to their team’s vehicle and unload their loot. This approach feels similar to one of the Capture the Flag variants in Halo. The difference is that Scrooge’s Loot lacks the intensity and action to captivate users. The large, uninspired stages are too big for the small teams. This results in mostly boring gameplay. A few shots are fired every now and then, but it’s easy to avoid enemies unless someone specifically goes out of their way to hunt you.

DuckTales: Scrooge's Loot

Outside of multiplayer, Scrooge’s Loot doesn’t offer much. The single player mode plays identical to online, with the addition of computer-controlled bots and the achievement-like missions. Completing missions lands in-game currency, which can be used for customizing your character and buying power-ups. Characters can be equipped with new outfits and weapons which change their stats, and each piece can be upgraded.  Ultimately, none of this feels like it makes a huge impact on the gameplay, thanks to the empty maps and controls that never quite feel right.

DuckTales: Scrooge’s Loot is an example of what happens when a developer combines a beloved franchise with a genre that has no logical connection.  Its lack of emphasis on the source material is sure to disappoint DuckTales fans looking for a new adventure, and its dull gameplay isn’t going to win over any shooter fans. Life may indeed be like a hurricane in some instances. Scrooge’s Loot, however, is more like a gust in the middle of an empty field:  its impact is negligible and anyone who noticed it will quickly forget it happened.