|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 game also does a really good job of meshing the gameplay with the story and setting. Like in a Zelda game, you can cut down plants and various other objects throughout levels in order to get health back. However, you'll gain new abilities by stumbling upon cave paintings. These ancient stories will teach your character the ways of the warrior, and it's a neat mechanic that ties everything together nicely.
You'll gather new weapons and abilities as you progress through the game, and you can power yourself up temporarily (when your spirit gauge is full) by pressing up on the D-pad. There are spirit feathers hidden throughout the game, and your ability to power up will get stronger as you add additional feathers to your headdress.
No matter how you slice it, though, Brave: A Warrior's Tale feels incredibly dated. For all intents and purposes, this is an N64 game for your Wii. The camera is re-aligned behind your character's back by pressing the C button, but like many of those older games of generations past, the camera will often flip and flop wildly or not respond at all when in tight quarters.
The presentation, too, comes to Wii as something of a relic from yesteryear, and the story often takes substantial leaps from plot point to plot point, leaving the player to fill in the gaps. It's a method of storytelling that worked a decade ago, but feels sorely out of place in today's world of epic production values.
Perhaps the biggest offender of the game in terms of feeling outdated is the visual presentation. The game is two generations out of date, and with the exception of the added bonus of texture filtering, it's a game that probably could have easily been produced on Nintendo's handheld system.
Truly, A Warrior's Tale looks as though it was made 10 years ago and then pulled out from a vault somewhere, only to be partially dusted off. The character models are blocky and exhibit very little detail, though to the game's credit, the animations are fairly competent. The environments, however - though they would be pretty on DS - look laughably archaic on Wii. On the extreme end of the visual equation, the cutscenes sometimes stutter so badly that they may cause real problems for folks who have issues with spastic lighting.
On that note, the lighting will often be another sore spot as you make your way through levels. There were ample moments throughout the game when we could see nothing but our character onscreen, leaving us to fall blindly into chasms and such. Even with the polar changes in contrast, however, the lighting does nothing to enhance the appearance of characters or environments.
Unfortunately, the game's aural elements don't fair much better. The voice work is well delivered and has a fitting charm for the game's art style, but the music often gets lopped off suddenly when moving from one area of a level to the next. The sound effects, however, do a fine job of adding visceral satisfaction to combat and platforming.
SouthPeak is asking about $30 at retail for Brave: A Warrior's Tale, and though that's a substantial savings from your average Wii release, it's still about $20 too much. There's a solid adventure here, one that will offer hours of playtime, but it's far from up to snuff for this generation of games. From top to bottom, A Warrior's Tale feels like a Virtual Console game, and as such it should be priced accordingly. It's a shame it wasn't presented as a WiiWare offering, as the game has plenty of potential for folks hungry for a more classic-style adventure. It might still be worth a rent if this sort of thing is what you're hankering for, but we think purchasing the game would send the wrong message to the publisher. The Wii is all about innovation in gameplay, and Brave opts, instead, to take two steps backward.
CCC Freelance Writer