All Hands on Deck!
May 29, 2007 – May has been the month where the number three has been the ticket to a lot of success. We have had Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, and now we have the Pirates of the Caribbean 3, subtitled At World’s End. Like the two theatrical releases that have already occurred in the month, Pirates was no exception to the must see list. Equally, like Spidey and Shrek, Pirates has dived into the foray of the world of video games. While we have already told you how the other two fared (some better than others), it would only be fair to tell you what we thought of the Pirates third outing.
The story of the game does not exactly pick up where the third film begins. Instead, we are treated to a few highlights from the second film. For instance, we have to relive the prison break of Jack at the beginning of the second film, albeit in a slight variation of the movie. In fact, astute fans of the film will notice quite a few variations. Most notable will be the inclusion of Will Turner almost immediately in the story. There are a few others, but that would be ruining the surprises of game. Now to some making a variation to the story of a film in the game could be viewed as a bland attempt at increasing game content where there would be none. This, thankfully, is not the case.
Therefore, the story of the game so far does not fall curse of the movie game curse. What about the gameplay? Well, if you wanted to play a game about pirates, you would want to be able to do all of the swashbuckling moves of a pirate. You would also want to be able to use various methods of defeating an enemy, since, after all, what pirate fights fair? At World’s End delivers on both of those two aforementioned desires of a pirate game. This being a Disney game, you should not expect the over the top violence associated with a pirate, and the way that it is handled is respective nod from Disney, admitting that it will not be just the young audience playing through their game. The swordplay is handled with accurate precision from every favorite movie that stared Errol Flynn as a swashbuckling hero. The combat presents itself as a hack-n-slash title, which it mostly is, however, the added variations of controls spring for the other requirement in a good pirate game. These simplistic push of a button pirate mannerisms make becoming a pirate a joy instead of a nuisance, especially when you change characters at certain points in the game. Yes, you heard correctly, you will be able to control nearly all of your favorite characters as you progress through the game. Regrettably, everyone’s combat mechanic is set up the same way. The only variation to this is their special moves, which take a while to build up. Therefore, if the combat system looks like every pirate film fight scene, you will have fun doing it.
Just in case the regular combat system is not your bottle of rum, there is another dueling system. Here you will dive further into the pirate mythos and duel your opponents. The mechanics behind the dueling is simple enough. You follow on screen commands that will help you defend from your would be attackers. While attacking, you will have to use the same tactics you used for your defense. This is also one of the problems that I have with the combat system, both in regular gameplay and in the duels. The swordplay is a little slower than what I would have expected. I would have really liked the sword action to be quicker so that it did not feel like I was watching choreographed fight scene from a film. This actually could be viewed as a good thing if you are looking for a game that captures the way the film displayed their sword fights.
Other than the combat system, Pirates brings with it a puzzle element to the game as well. Not on the same level as a Tomb Raider game, but just enough to please those who do not just want a hack-n-slash game. Don’t worry though; the puzzles are never a game stalling complication. Other than the puzzle side of the game, there is a healthy dose of acrobatics thrown in to please the action fan in all of us. You will jump from ledges, walk across beams, and, of course, swing from ships to obtain access to other ships in true swashbuckling style. These acrobatic ventures we are given add and authenticate the movie and pirate experience all in one.
The graphics for Pirates are some of the best that I have ever seen for a movie-game. In fact, the character models are nicely constructed and even move in the same manner as the characters from the film. To accompany the near perfect character representations are the exquisite environments. Though, a little too bright at certain points of the game, the environments deliver the scenery of the movies in a truly amazing fashion. Even the score of the game represents the films well. Now having said that, you might think that there is a problem with the voice acting of the game. Fortunately, this is not an area that I have to complain about. Given that there are several elements in the game that take liberty with the story, you would think that we would have recycled or poorly executed sound bits of the actors. No the authentication of the film carries over into the game as well.
There are many ways that Pirates succeeds in the representation of the films, and with only a few gameplay issues, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End provides us with a fascinating romp through a section of Disney history that everyone young and old can enjoy. For a movie-game, Pirates delivers the way that some non movie-games should always be delivering, especially on our next-gen consoles. Avast, me hearty’s, and join the good Captain Jack and find your place as a pirate.