|System: Wii, PS2, PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Traveller's Tales||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
I always had trouble reading the Chronicles of Narnia -- it might have been something about C.S. Lewis -- but that didn't stop me from enjoying the first two movies, both released by Disney. The obligatory video game tag-along for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian has arrived, and for the most part, it's standard movie-turned-video-game fare; it's repetitive, boring, and generally, just not worth buying.
Prince Caspian essentially takes the role of a beat-em-up adventure game, and it's pretty bare-bones. There are a variety of different characters you can control from the Narnia world, from centaurs to dwarves to minotaurs and plenty of others. However, this isn't that great of a mechanic, simply because all the characters are oh-so-similar. The A and B buttons take care of attacks, and attacks don't vary that greatly from character to character. Some, like the dwarf, admittedly suck at fighting, but it's balanced out by the fact that others, like the centaur, can mow foes down with laughable ease.
Additionally, there's a bit of motion control, but it really doesn't help the game all that much. Instead of hitting the A button, you can opt to shake the Remote around to attack. Also, when you grab a lever or a treasure chest you go through this little charade of having to struggle with it to get it to move/open -- this is done with quick taps of the B button, but again waggling the Wii remote can also work. Honestly, this motion control is pretty lackluster and boring, and you likely won't use it. That said, it seldom "gets in the way", although sometimes you'll see your character randomly execute an attack because you accidentally moved the Wii remote a little too quickly for the game's liking.
Prince Caspian actually takes place between the events of the movies The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, and it sets the scene for the latter movie. Plot-wise, however, there's really no character development, so the story is going to be fairly unimpressive to all but the biggest enthusiasts of this series. There are some short clips from the movie (necessary in every movie game, I'm sure), but aside from that, the extent of this game's storytelling is just setting up the next objective.
Where Prince Caspian really fails to impress, though, is its gameplay. The game is divided up into three main areas, each with tons of objectives to fulfill. For example, in the first area, you'll trigger missions by exploring the castle and opening up new areas. Additionally, some missions will be unlocked after a certain amount of time has passed.
Once you've got these objectives, the real meat of the game is its combat. And sadly, it's a really underdeveloped, boring combat system. I've already talked about the simple, disappointing controls. In addition there's the fact that combat just isn't designed all that well, and as a result it feels clunky and awkward. Maneuvering your character works fine, but the lack of a targeting system actually presents a problem. Especially when you've got a slow character, you're left to just mash the A button and hope you hit whomever it is you're trying to kill. It's a really hit-or-miss system in a very literal sense, and it's just not a lot of fun.
The camera does very little to help these problems; part of what's so annoying is the camera is completely unpredictable. In some instances, it's a nonissue; it'll follow you around nicely and presents a good view of the battlefield. But at other times, the camera won't move at all as your character moves. The result is that rather than looking at your character's back, you're looking at him head-on as he moves. This presents some obvious problems, as you'll often find yourself running into enemies that were previously impossible to see.