|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2||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 15, 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|
by Maria Montoro
Another month, another movie tie-in. Are we done yet? Certainly not! With the summer around the corner, family movies are popping out like mice in a cheese factory. Just a few days ago, I went to the theater to watch the follow-up to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I didnt think Prince Caspian was quite as exciting as the first movie, but its a decent one to watch with the younger ones, as long as they arent too scared of weird creatures and such.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian video game is inspired by the movie, though it puts more emphasis on the battles than the actual movie does; it also includes some deleted scenes that didnt make it to the final cut in the film. However, I didnt find this game as entertaining as other movie tie-ins, so I recommend people who enjoy this kind of family game to proceed with caution.
There are a few reasons why someone would choose to play this game. First of all, it follows the same story as the movie, so it extends its enjoyment a little further. In the movie, we saw how the kids (once kings and queens of Narnia) are back in London and living a somewhat normal life. While waiting for the train at the Underground station, the forces of magic pull them back to Narnia. Its been a hundred years since they left, and Narnia has since been invaded by the Telemarines. These heartless humans devastated the lands and killed all the Narnians who couldnt escape. But, who brought the Pevensie siblings back to Narnia? It was none other than prince Caspian, who summoned them with Susans horn. His life is in danger, and he summons the kids in a desperate act to defeat his evil uncle and return the land to its original people. Little did he know the kings and queens of Narnia hed heard about were younger than him!
Thats basically the story, but in the game everything starts with the battles between the Narnians and the Telemarines, just before Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy return. Players will be able to choose one of four Narnian characters to start. Theres a dwarf, a faun, a minotaur, and a centaur. Each of the characters has its own abilities, which plays an important role when it comes to solving puzzles. The second reason why someone would play this game is the multiplayer co-op support. Up to four players can participate at the same time and take on the role of one of the four playable characters. As you advance through the game, youll be able to control different characters in the story, including, of course, the Pevensie kids. Its a good way to keep the gameplay fresh, though overall its not very interesting or fun to play.
The controls are easy enough for anyone to pick up. The combat moves dont require much more than mere button-mashing, and the puzzles are usually solved by finding something somewhere and putting it somewhere else, sometimes using character-specific abilities like the dwarfs grappling hook, the minotaurs strength, etc. The gameplay is rather simple and I have no complaints in this regard; if anything, it was a little too easy for those looking to be challenged. The camera angles were a bit fiddly sometimes, but they never became truly annoying.
The main problem I found with the game was its simplicity. Simplicity can be understood as kids-friendly, which is good for family-based games; however, theres more to it in this case. The gameplay is utterly monotonous. Theres a lot of button-mashing during the very repetitive battles, and the puzzles are not very clever. To top it off, the graphics leave a lot to be desired. The environments and characters lack detail, and the textures look a bit primitive. In addition, I came across a few glitches that were just cheesy as can be. One of them is when the dwarf and the satyr retrieve Susans horn from a chest I was playing with the satyr and had him open the chest. Once they showed how he opens it, a cutscene backtracks to before the chest was open and the dwarf opens it instead. Whaaaat!!? That will just give you an idea about the overall quality of the game.