|System: Wii, X360, PS3, PC, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eurocom||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 22, 2007||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|
by Maria Montoro
May 31, 2007 - Ever since the Wii was announced I've been waiting for a good sword fighting game to come ashore. If you add that to the fact that the Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most innovative and fun to watch series of films ever born in Hollywood, the expectations for this game will shoot through the roof. Perhaps I shouldn't have expected so much, but when you buy a new gaming system all you expect is to fill up your library with a good amount of special games, and I have to say with the Wii it's taking quite some time Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End has kept me unexplainably hooked, so it's not that bad, but don't expect too much out of it either.
Disney Interactive and Eurocom brought this game to life; they knew they wanted to do something special with the Wii version and adopt the advantageous motion-sensing controls for an added dose of fun. However, they left some loose ends behind and forgot that motion-sensing controls are not inversely related to good graphics. It's maddening how they keep doing this more and more with Wii games where graphics look worse than an early PS2 title. Are they telling us they can't do better than that? And why does the Xbox360 and PS3 version look so great? - Not only because they have powerful hardware, but mostly because they worked harder on the graphics department. Why can't they at least come close to the beautiful visuals in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess? Someday we'll grow tired of paying full price for a game that doesn't deliver a real next generation experience. I hope they realize that.
Truly, the look of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is quite disappointing; if it wasn't for the decent gameplay and the popularity of the movie, this game wouldn't stand a chance. Throughout the game you'll encounter a plentiful cast of twins and triplets that just make the wonders of the game; and I'm just being sarcastic here. It's not OK to have the same NPCs appear all over the game, wearing the same clothes, hair style, and if that wasn't enough, all of them doing the same gesture at the same time, while pretending to be different characters. That starts with the convicts trapped in the different jails, the women slapping Jack's face, the British soldiers you fight, and the townsfolk you interact with. Other than the characters that play a somewhat important role in the game, there aren't enough character models to make the game diverse and detailed even though Port Royal is crowded with people and the Flying Dutchman is filled with awkward-looking creatures; twin-creatures, that is. The scenarios are not beautifully rendered in their three-dimensional form. There are plenty of blocky elements throughout and very little variety and details to keep your eyes amused.
On the other hand, they did a good job drawing you into the story which, even though it has been slightly modified, is almost as engaging as watching the movie itself. Now you get to be a part of it, move along and fight with the different characters aboard; it wouldn't be the same without the witty Jack Sparrow, charming Elizabeth Swan, captivating William Turner, and even the harsh Captain Barbossa! The video game doesn't really start where the third movie does. A great part of the game narrates the comings and goings of the second movie and, by the time you reach level eight, they finally get to Singapore and the story told in the third movie starts. Have you seen the movie? You should probably watch it first, so the game doesn't spoil it for you; it's a really good spin-off from the first two movies that will leave you wanting for more; thankfully, it looks like we'll have number four sometime in the future. The game will also leave you wanting for more: more levels and more interactive environments is what I would have asked for.
Pretty much everything you do in the game other than sword fighting or walking will be done with the C button on the Nunchuk. The characters can't jump, but if you reach a ledge you'll be given the option to press C to climb up or down; you can't directly go up the ladder, you'll have to go in front of it and press C - the game will get you up there. If you want to open the jail gate and free the poor prisoners, C will do it for you as well. I wish the environments would have offered a bit more interactivity so one can go and jump over a barrel and then jump over the enemy slashing it in two, or jump and go down the zip line all the way to the other side of the island. Instead, you'll see everything happening in cutscenes and there's little you can do other than watch. I felt like they took the control away from me, and I'm just a puppet doing what they tell me to do and watching it happen. This is probably good for younger audiences that don't know exactly how to play just yet; but the game is rated for Teen and anyone can figure out where to go next or improvise a really cool move without risk of getting lost; therefore, more freedom would have been nice.
The characters are controlled with the Nunchuk's control stick, the swordplay is done moving and slashing the Wii-mote in different directions, and you can avoid the attacks by holding the Z button on the Nunchuk. That's about all there's to the controls, and it's good that it remained simple; anyone can play this game, and that's what the Wii is all about. If only the sword swinging on the screen matched the movement of your arms, it would have been that much more realistic and fun. But they didn't even achieve that in the last Zelda game, so I guess it will take a while for developers to figure it out and make it perfect. I know that moment will arrive though, and things will be much easier and enjoyable. Nonetheless, I was still able to enjoy the swashbuckling techniques, using different combinations with the Wii-mote (up-down, left-right, and forward, etc.), and beating the enemies with enthusiasm; not without suffering the "sore arm effect" after playing for a couple of hours, of course - take a rest once in a while!