Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC | Wii | DS
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs box art
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. There’s not much here that hasn’t already been done before, but Ice Age 3 is still a mostly fun ride.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs screenshot

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 character’s back by tapping downward twice. It’s 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 character’s back after just a few seconds, which can make navigating the game’s 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 game’s visuals, first impressions aren’t great. However, as you progress through the game, it’s hard not to be enamored by what’s been accomplished on the system. Textures aren’t 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 aren’t 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 can’t be understated, however, is the game’s aural presentation. Though we were disappointed by the lack of rumble feedback throughout the game, it’s somewhat made up for by a host of great sound effects and music. Throughout the adventure, you’ll collect berries and other fruits, and the crunching sounds you’ll hear when gobbling up these treats never gets old. Ambient sounds lend another layer of atmosphere to the game’s overall vibe, and the music is simply excellent. The voice work, too, is a welcome addition, and there’s plenty of well-delivered humor along the way.

Advertisement

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has a handful of minor issues, and though the game offers tons of variety that’s actually fun, it’s pacing lacks a bit of polish. That said, this is one movie-based game we can whole-heartedly recommend to fans. It’s 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.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.9
Graphics
The actual texture work looks hastily strewn together, but visual effects and lighting are often stunning.
3.9
Control
Character movement and combat are tight and satisfying, but the camera was often a hassle. Flying sequences, too, presented their own set of unique quirks.
4.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent sound effects; entertaining music. The voice work was also delivered thoughtfully, and the humor really shines through.
3.4

Play Value
Though there are some stellar moments in Ice Age 3, it’s a pretty short adventure, with quite a few elements that don’t quite work. It’s still very much worth a rent for fans of the movie.

3.6
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Revisit the humor, characters and prehistoric environments from the movie -- Players relive adventures from the film and beyond with all their favorite characters -- earnest but goofy Sid the Sloth, big-hearted Manny the Mammoth, courageous Diego the Saber-toothed Tiger and inadvertent troublemaker Scrat -- as they all return and join new friends on a wild quest across the frozen Ice Age to the lush Dinosaur World.
  • For the first time in an Ice Age game, play as multiple characters -- Offering more than six playable characters, the game allows players to master the unique abilities and combat skills of each through a wide variety of gameplay including action-platforming challenges, side-scrolling missions and puzzle solving.
  • Introducing competitive multiplayer mini-games -- Another first for the Ice Age game franchise, players will go head-to-head with up to four friends or family members in the all-new competitive multiplayer mini-games.


  • Screenshots / Images

    X