|System: Wii, DS, X360, PS3, PC, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eurocom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 30, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In spite of all its gameplay variation, Dawn of the Dinosaurs never felt discombobulated or slapped together. A true feeling of care comes across in the gameplay mechanics, and some of the platforming levels border on amazing. Theres not much here that hasnt already been done before, but Ice Age 3 is still a mostly fun ride.
Our main issue throughout the game, however, was the camera. Control of the camera is mapped to the D-pad, and you can re-center it behind your characters back by tapping downward twice. Its awkward enough having to double-tap on the D-pad to re-center the camera without it taking a full two seconds to move into place. The clincher, though, is that the camera will also auto-center itself behind your characters back after just a few seconds, which can make navigating the games later platforming levels very frustrating. We did eventually discover an option to turn off the auto-centering, but it seems a pretty poor misstep to have it as a default feature younger gamers might never be aware they can change.
When it comes to the games visuals, first impressions arent great. However, as you progress through the game, its hard not to be enamored by whats been accomplished on the system. Textures arent too impressive up close this is especially true with regards to the character models but a host of effects and some truly incredible lighting make this one of the prettier games on Wii. Cutscenes arent as attractive as the actual in-game graphics, but the overall presentation is delightful. There were never issues with the framerate, which ran fast and steady the entire way through. Unfortunately, though the lighting was often stunning, it was also the cause of a few cheap deaths. When making our way through a handful of levels, it was simply too dark to see anything, making us easy prey for spiders or unable to navigate platforms properly.
One of the elements that cant be understated, however, is the games aural presentation. Though we were disappointed by the lack of rumble feedback throughout the game, its somewhat made up for by a host of great sound effects and music. Throughout the adventure, youll collect berries and other fruits, and the crunching sounds youll hear when gobbling up these treats never gets old. Ambient sounds lend another layer of atmosphere to the games overall vibe, and the music is simply excellent. The voice work, too, is a welcome addition, and theres plenty of well-delivered humor along the way.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has a handful of minor issues, and though the game offers tons of variety thats actually fun, its pacing lacks a bit of polish. That said, this is one movie-based game we can whole-heartedly recommend to fans. Its not quite epic, and it fares on the short side, but shopping elements and unlockables add value to the package. The multiplayer mini-games are less than stellar, but the story-mode level design is sure to welcome you back for repeat visits.
CCC Freelance Writer