|System: X360, Wii, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Collision Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: RATING||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The infamous summer drought is thankfully almost over, but the pickings have been and still are quite slim. With that in mind, SouthPeak Games (publisher of Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball) and Collision Studios aim to offer Wii owners a grand adventure to see them through the meager times. Does Brave: A Warrior's Tale save the day, or is this a story best left untold?
Upon loading up A Warrior's Tale, you'll be asked to choose to play as either a girl or boy character, with no real distinction between the two in terms of gameplay or story. However, the tale is experienced through the eyes of one of the game's great tribal elders, Brave. You're part of a Native American village, and Brave will convey his trials and tribulations to you in hopes that one day you too may be able to stand strong against whatever evil comes your way.
The game first tasks you with simple goals in order to walk you through the basics, and the pacing and story structure are solid throughout. You'll receive a charm early on in the game that will allow you to consult your mentor at anytime during the adventure, and it's basically a hint system that does a fair amount of handholding.
There are a surprising number of very inspired gameplay mechanics in A Warrior's Tale, though the entire experience is bogged down by an incredibly primitive foundation. The camera system is certainly the main culprit in terms of causing endless frustration during play, and the visuals (more on that later), too, play a large role in holding Brave back from its true potential.
You control your character with the analog stick on the Nunchuk, jump (and double jump) with the A button, attack with the B button, and the Z button plays into a host of extra abilities that are mostly context sensitive. When coming upon a tree sprout, for instance, you can press Z to pluck the sprout from the ground and either wield it as a weapon or ignite it over fire for use as a torch. You can also press the 1 button to go into a first-person mode in order to mimic creatures in the environment. Mimicking certain animals will reveal secret items or passages throughout the game, as well as uncover footprints that might lead you to your prey.
These are all great mechanics, and though combat is rudimentary and button-mashy, it's still quite satisfying. Jumping works fine as well, and the collision detection is doable. However, an almost-broken camera system sucks the fun out of much of the game's exploration. Additionally, though the game instructs you to control the view with the analog stick while in the first-person perspective, control is also mapped to the Wii Remote's IR. Unfortunately, the IR sensitivity is downright horrible, so you'll be fighting between the two inputs to get the mechanic to work as needed. Since you'll be forced to enter this perspective often in order to progress, it's an element of the game that, once again, drags the experience down.
On the plus side, the level design is well thought out and has a comfortable flow reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda games. There's a nice balance of combat and adventuring, and a few throwbacks from Rayman 2: The Great Escape will probably capture the imagination of older gamers.