There are also other special abilities that are context-sensitive to the environment. For example, you can use Mr. Fantastic's computer savvy to hack into computer terminals. Leaky pipes can be welded shut by the Human Torch, and piles of rubble can be pushed aside by the Thing's brute strength. Most of these special abilities are controlled via simple minigames, such as rotating the analog stick or pounding on a button quickly. Some areas will require you to use these special abilities in sequence, but it's usually easy to figure out where to go and what to do, because hot spots in the environment will light up as you approach them, signifying that something special can be done. The controls are roughly the same across the board, but the Xbox version assigns blocking to the controller's black button, which is a little tougher to use.
Fantastic 4's biggest failing is that it lacks a lot in the overall feel of the gameplay, which is important for a beat-'em-up. While you can see onscreen that you're picking up barrels and cars and throwing them at legions of foes, the controls don't make you feel all that powerful. What's more, the controls feel imprecise and floaty. The targeting system in the game is clunky, and it's sometimes difficult to lock on to anything, let alone switch between targets. Characters sometimes clip through solid objects, and enemies can get stuck in the air or in corners that they should be able to navigate. Unleashing combos in combat can also feel robotic and formulaic over the course of the brief, eight-hour campaign. Though the levels attempt to show some variety at the end, allowing you to man turrets or remotely control mechs, the gameplay in Fantastic 4 is largely running from one room to the next, smashing everything in sight, and then moving on. To its credit, the game does include a good number of minibosses, and each of these fights requires a slightly different strategy.
The game's graphics are far from fantastic.
You won't find much salvation in the game's presentation either. The graphics engine allows for some destructibility in the levels, letting you smash furniture and other objects, but the levels look rather bland and are laid out in a boring manner. Things often look so similar that after a long fight in a room you can forget which door you entered from and which one is the "exit." There's no minimap to help you out with that either. The game's sound palette includes voice acting from the stars of the Fantastic Four film, but these don't really make up for the lack of impact in the general sound effects, the tepid soundtrack, and a bug that sometimes causes sound to cut out during cutscenes.
The game does include a two-player mode that lets you make your way through the game with one friend (but not four) or battle each other in an arena. Playing the game cooperatively is marginally more fun and interesting than single-player, but the arena modes aren't all that interesting.
Though Fantastic 4 does offer all the elements of a good beat-'em-up game on paper, the execution of those features leaves something to be desired. The result is instead a short, bland-looking game that doesn't give many compelling reasons for a purchase. If you're really into the movie or the comic and can look past drab environments and controls that aren't as crisp as they should be, then Fantastic 4 might be worth a rent, but not much more.