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Movie tie-in games are a notoriously mixed bag. By that I mean a bag containing mostly rubbish games. From as far back as E.T. games publishers have realised that they can ride the publicity wave of a major motion picture and sell thousands of units no matter the quality. If you look at any summer games chart you will see the top ten containing games like Spiderman 3 or Cars. However, every now and again a movie based game actually surprises the public by being decent. Games such as The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay actually improved on the film. Could the latest Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End game be a maltezer and not a coffee cream in the Revels mixed bag of games?
Pirates is one of a rare breed on the current next generation consoles a 3D platformer. The only games that seem to be made into this genre are movie tie-ins; this is why I end up playing these games as it is one of my favourite genres. The nearest comparison games wise is a mix of Prince of Persia with his athletic ability and fighting, and Jax and Daxter, with its continuous item collecting.
Across the game you take the roles of Jack, Will and Elizabeth and you must fight your way across a level to reach the end. You can jump, climb and hang on to ledges to get to the next area. In between platforming you will come up against bad guys including Davey Jones' fishy undead and the evil Brits. The game then turns into a button mashing sword fighter which is repetitive, but fun.
Added to the platforming and fighting are a couple of extra modes that break up the gameplay. Jack is able to collect voodoo heads which give him powers to kill men in one hit. You also stumble into boss fights that represent key elements of the film. These are a button pressing mini game that see you in a 1 on 1 fight with the main villains of the film.
The game takes place over both Dead Mans Chest and At Worlds End so as the game progresses you work your way through the different film sets. Its certainly very generic and straight forward, however as I am a platforming fan I actually found it quite fun to play. Saying that, if this is not your genre you could easily take a dislike to the repetitive gameplay and unimaginative structure I would remove at least 1 star if this is the case. (3 out of 5)
The benefit of making a game of a film is that the characters and story are pretty much designed for you already and this is the case here. You follow the plot of the last two Pirates film pretty closely as you go from set piece to set piece. Its fun to take part in epic fights that you saw on the big screen especially the fight on the giant wheel.
Because the game is so closely bound to the films Pirates actually suffers from having a pretty poor story and bland characters. A large part of what makes the films so good is the action and special effects and not the story. Will and Elizabeth are not very interesting but Disney have done a decent job of encapsulating Jack into the game. Jack has several quips he uses and the best part is the motion capture. This is the process that games makers use to capture how a characters walks and moves. The character of Jack swaggers around camply just like the film and gives the game a little extra quality that lots of movie tie-in games sorely lack. (3 out of 5)
When buying a game like this its best not to expect that much from the length of the game and that is certainly the case here. On initial play thru you will probably complete the ten or so levels in 6-10 hours. This is not a great length of time, but for me it was perfectly long enough as the game would have become far from interesting for much longer than this. As a means of extending the games length Disney have added lots of secret items hidden around the levels. If you find all these items you will not only unlock achievement points but also added videos and other extras in the game itself. This method of item collection has been increasingly frowned upon in games as its pretty dated and pushes the player out of the experience. I am not someone who goes back and replays a game just to pick up every last piece of gold. Therefore, the lifespan of this game is probably 1 play thru as you are unlikely to want to revisit the levels again. (2 out of 5)
Like Davy Jones himself the online aspects of this game are dead! There is no co-operative play or online functionality apart from a series of score boards that allow you to compare you notoriety with other 360 pirate types. You gain notoriety by collecting gold in the game, finishing levels and killing bad guys in a more piratey way. (1 out of 5)
If there is one area that Pirates manages to crawl out from under the umbrella of averageness is the graphics. In many ways this is due to the lack of imagination in level design (see later) as the makers can concentrate on what you can see and make it look good. The realisations of the sets in the films and the character models look really good. Everything has a lived in feel and you can imagine that they took photos of the sets and copied them verbatim into the game. If the time and effort spent on graphics had been brought through to the various other aspects of the game we could have been looking at something better than just average. (4 out of 5)
AGggggghhhHH. Pirates has level design reminiscent of gaming back on the PS1. The next generation is all about open spaces and the ability to go anywhere on a given level. If the makers decide not to allow a person to go off a given map they must try and add realistic barriers, e.g. cliffs, and not just invisible walls. The levels themselves are self contained and are actually ok. However, on several occasions I found myself stuck were to go or not being allowed to jump on a low wall or table. The levels feel like they should be in a game made in 1997, not 2007. (2 out of 5)
Pirates also suffers in the sound department due to the use of voice actors and not the original cast. Things start off ok with the music as it is all taken from the film and gives the game good ambience. It also seems fine when the character of Jack talks as the person used impersonates him well. So well in fact that I only realised it was not Johnny Depp when the characters of Will and Elizabeth sounded nothing like Bloom or Knightly. It is a real shame that the voice acting is not up to scratch as it detracts from the numerous interesting cut scenes between levels. (2 out of 5)
If I am being honest I would not advise you to buy this game, especially not full price. It derivative, lazy, shallow and pretty empty. Saying that, it looks good and there is some fun to be had here. If like me you are desperate for a new 3D platformer in a market currently swamped by FPSs then this could be a decent investment for around £15 or so. I liked jumping from platform to platform and fighting groups of the undead every now and again, but even I could see that the gameplay was stagnant and generic. If you are not a fan of the platforming genre or are not very forgiving of programming mistakes then avoid this game. If however, you play pretty much anything to pass the time and this is 2 for £20 second hand in Gamestation, you could do worse as its a perfectly average experience. (3out of 5)
Maker: Disney RRP £49.99
Amazon uk £26.48
I thought that this game was great! The grahics are of a very high quality and there is a substantial amount to do.
Firstly, this game follows a storyline, but it is fairly free-roaming which, in my opinion, makes the game more interesting as it gives you more freedom in what you do and where you go within the game. The plot follows both films 2 (dead man's chest) and 3 (at world's end) very well. Fighting is well done, consisting of multi-button combos and several finishing moves. When facing a powerful enemy you have to fight in dueling mode. This gets harder throughout the game, but can grow tiresome at times!
As well as completing the main objectives in each level, there are also many hidden objects to find- including 'calypso' chests which help Jack complete the picture in the back of the captains log.
Throughout the game you play as numerous different characters. This makes the game more entertaining, as you have to keep an eye on all characters!
This game does a good job of replicating the eperience I had when watching the film, I thought the film was quite average and slightly disappointing with some good and bad points and the game is just the same, very average and a little disappointing.
In actual fact the game takes it plot from both the second and third film. In the game you take on the role of Captain Jack Sparrow as he attempts to recover the heart of Davy Jones first of against the Kraken and then against Lord Beckett.
Visually this game is great however it is let down by a rather repetitive combat play that gts boring rather quickly. There is little finesse in the fighting as youonly use the one button to deliver a sword strike so it is just a case of button mashing in the extreme. Without a sword you can at least punch kick and throw your enemies and ypu do get the odd special move to enable you to deliver fatal blows but overall the fight sections are pretty dull.
The strength of this game is in the visuals, the characters all look like the movie actors and they have good movement. The scenery is well thought out and realistic right down to the rust on the ships metal fittings.
Overall this is a disappointing game and is worth three stars at best. It is certainly not worth the £34.98 that Amazon want for it new and you are not getting a bargain at £22.99 in the new and used section either.
Despite most gamers enduring affection for all things piratical a breakdown in the usual laws of licensing (which decrees that any movie with an explosion in it must be turned into a video game) has conspired to make this the first serious attempt to actually adapt the whole of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. To make up for lost time this actually tackles both Dead Mans Chest and the new movie. In this sense the bloated narrative of the two Pirate sequels leaves just enough plot to stretch out for a single game. Although you do get to control the other characters occasionally, most of the game is spent in the heavily swaying boots of Captain Jack Sparrow. This is a shame, not because the characters play exactly the same, but because their virtual likenesses are almost scarily realistic. In fact the games graphics as a whole are extraordinarily good, showing a level of effort and attention to detail that sadly isnt really matched by the gameplay.