In Which I Attempt to Review a Game

So, I’ve been XBox less for a little while. So in order to prevent myself going into game withdrawal I’ve been distracting myself with my trusty old classic DS. A few days ago I came across an older game of mine that was brought as a Christmas present by my parents but went into ‘I don’t play this’ pile as I found myself completley and utterly stuck on a level which turned out to have a very ‘duuuuh’ solution.

So what is this game? It is the DS game of ‘Pirates of the Carribbean: At Worlds End’ I’m not normally keen on ‘movie’ games as they tend to be rather hit and miss as they’re often rushed out to fit in with the film. However this game is actually pretty good, at least it’s keeping me occupied.

It’s a 3D platformer. So the levels are pretty simple, as in ‘run through, jump, smash up boxes, find chests, beat up enemies, try not to fall into the lava/water/bottomless abyss’ there are some points where I’ve found myself going nuts and in some levels you run through a zone only to find yourself trapped as you realised you needed to light the torch and run to a braiser or something to get onward. Those ‘puzzles’ are the most annoying thing in the game at times as sometimes you just can not get across the map quick enough.

In order to provide variety however there are ‘minigames’ such as lock picking which is done through using the stylus to ‘trace’ a route across the tumblers, unlocking doors by finding the correct area in which to place a gear, liar’s dice which is a minigame which can also be played over wi-fi, matching up map fragments to unlock the next area of the game, dueling pops up in every zone and is done with the touch screen. Although you can unlock plenty of good moves these duels can be very time consuming and somewhat fustrating.

There is also various pieces of ‘special’ equiptment you unlock through the game which perform various functions such as Jack’s compass which of course guides you to treasures, a bamboo pole for vaulting, a torch for you know burning stuff, a grappling hook and hooks. I’ve noticed in order to keep players interested that there are certain zones in levels that seem to call for equiptment that you haven’t unlocked causing you to wish to backtrack to see what treasures are hiding. Especially if you are of the ‘completionist’ persausion and wish to attempt to find everything you can.

Enemies in the game come in three flavours, the slow moving ‘thug’ type with a heavy weapon, the ‘captain’ variety that’s meant to be hard to kill, and the fiddly to kill type that often takes a few shots. These enemies types are repeated through the level and of course will look like ghouls, pirates, or EITC officers depending on what level you happen to be playing though. The game loosley follows the plot of the film you go through the various settings of the film such as Singapore and Davy Jone’s locker, and depending on which level you’re playing you play either Will, Elizabeth or Jack. There are some pretty interesting levels to play through such as the upside down ship where to propel yourself through the level through lighting cannons. Fighting is mostly though jabbing the letter buttons to perform sword fights and kicks and punches, there are weapons to be picked up such as daggers, whips, flashbombs and tar bombs, these weapons can be used but they use up ‘savvy’ which is I suppose like ‘mana’ in a game. Health and savvy don’t seem to regenerate very fast, there are health pick ups throughout the game in the way of apples, these don’t regenerate much health though and there are some points in which I’ve felt like I’ve not been able to get though level sections without dying about 20 times. One little beef I have though is whilst you can plummet to your death by falling from platforms enemies in the game seem to have an ‘invisble fence’ holding them perched on the end of a platform without falling, but this is a common issue in platformers so I can over look it.

Graphics on the game are what you’d expect on the DS, being a mixture of 3D graphics on the top screen and nicley rendered 2D graphics on the touch screen which is the interface for activating ‘special’ items, overviewing the coins collected and ‘Calypso’s tears’ which are a collectible though the game which when 3 have been collected adds more to the health and ‘savvy’ bar. The interface is nice and simple, special tools are selected by dragging them into the centre of the interface with the stylus.

So what is my verdict? This game is actually pretty good. There’s a few annoying moments and the levels and enemies do seem to be variations however though the various ‘mini games’ throughout the levels it keeps you interested, the graphics are what you’d expect for the DS, the dialoge seems to fit in with the vibe of the film (and yes they have got old witty Jack down perfect). It’s enough to keep me interested whilst playing and is I think worth a play. I’m guessing as this game is now a few years old it’s probably in the ‘bargain’ section of video game stores.

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