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Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew of pirates returned to cinemas recently in the third instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series entitled At World’s End. Along with returning to cinemas, they also returned to games consoles and made their first appearance on the Xbox 360. Is the game an enjoyable game true to the story of the movie, or would it be better if we just threw the game to the depths of the sea?

Players start off the game inside the prison fortress that Jack (Johnny Depp) escapes from near the beginning of Dead Man’s Chest. This level is a tutorial that will teach you about the basics of the game and things like your captain’s log, movement, combat, duelling and
Notoriety Points. Notoriety Points are what players earn for doing things such as collecting items, killing enemies in various ways and so on.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

After escaping from the prison, wannabe pirates get to enter their first duel. It is here that one of the game’s major downfalls presents itself. To defend themselves, players have to move the left thumbstick up, down or away from their character depending on the type of attack their opponent is using as shown on screen. After defending themselves for a while and building up the meter in the top left corner to half-full or full, they can then counter their opponent and start attacking back. Unfortunately, this gets considerably boring after a mere few attacks because this is quite repetitive and not very challenging.

After being bored and disappointed with the duelling system, it was hoped that the game might make up for the monotonous combat system in other areas such as sound and vision. The game’s graphics are very impressive, especially the Flying Dutchman, and it was nice to see that the animations were nicely done. For example, the animation of the Flying Dutchman rising up from the water is identical to the way it is done in the film. As well as this, it was good to see that there were no frame rate drops.

However, the sound in the game isn’t as good as its graphics. Apart from the fact that when characters speak it is few and far between, when they do speak they sound nothing like what they did in the movies. Some characters such as Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris) don’t sound too bad, but characters like Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) sound nothing like they should do. This is annoying and would of been much better if the real actors and actresses did the voice acting for the game.

Being able to interact with some of the surroundings and use them to defeat enemies is a nice feature. For example, if you are on a ledge and don’t feel like killing your opponent with a sword, then it is very easy to simply throw them off the ledge. Other fun examples that are enjoyable are the way a gun powder barrel can be rolled towards enemies, and shot to blow them up and the ability to throw objects like knives and bottles of rum.

To the disappointment of fans of the movies, the game unfortunately doesn’t stick that close to the storyline of the film. While the story isn’t a million miles off what it should be, it is annoying that not just were parts left out, but some parts were completely changed. One part that would have been particularly excellent to play is from Dead Man’s Chest. Jack, Will and James Norrington (Jack Davenport) were fighting on a big, moving wheel, but unfortunately the game just has players defeating Will at the top of a building in ruins, then watching a cutscene of the three having said fight on the wheel.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

One good point about the game is the way that in certain parts of the game different characters can be controlled. Sometimes which character is controlled by players can be chosen and in the areas that the player can choose their character, they must keep all available characters alive. This provides a fun challenge if one or two of the characters are about to die. There is a good range of characters who can be controlled throughout the game and these include Jack, Will, Elizabeth, Gibbs (Kevin McNally), Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Pintel (Lee Arenberg) and Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook) in the single player game, as well as them being available (and more) in the mutliplayer. Sadly though, the characters handle no differently from one another, other than a final finishing move.

Unfortunately, multiplayer is another area of the game which suffers. A big disappointment is that players can’t play against other pirates around the world on Xbox Live. However, it is possible to track and compare Notoriety Points via the Xbox Live leaderboards. While there is no Live multiplayer there is local multiplayer. In local multiplayer you can take on your friends in a duel or Challenge Mode. Luckily, the duels are a bit more fun when you have the challenge of another human mind. In the Challenges Mode players choose to team up or take on a buddy to see how many Notoriety Points can be gained within a certain time limit.

A major part of any game is the replayability. After the game has been finished players can go back and try and find the hidden items in each level to earn Achievements. In each level there are seven of a certain item to find. These items vary from level to level and examples of them are rum and sea charts. As well as this, there is a hidden piece of a Calypso puzzle in each level to be found. Trying to find all of these can be a fun challenge and will probably keep players at the game so that the unlockable extras from the menu can be unlocked.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is a a bit of a disappointment for fans. Xbox Live mutliplayer options is something that would of been great for this game. This is because it would of made it easy to play a couple of quick games now and then with friends, rather than having to get them huddled round your console. Overall though, this game really won’t appeal in the long term, since there isn’t enough features like Xbox Live multiplayer to make you want to play again, but it will keep players occupied for a couple of hours despite the terrible voice acting and the fact that the game drifts from the film. Don’t throw the game into the deep depths of the sea, but throw it into a small pond where you can retrieve it every now and then.

Final score: 5 out of 10 - Below Average (How do we rate games?)

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18 comments on 'Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'

Comment by Arian on 2007-06-16 15:46:53

Ah another example of a film to game adaptation; Catwoman? Superman? Spiderman?! and now this, anyone surprised?

Comment by Curtis Jackson on 2007-06-16 16:48:04

Goldeneye, The Chronicles of Riddick…O wait….

Comment by Arian on 2007-06-16 17:57:28

Small fishes of success in a sea full of failures.

Comment by Curtis Jackson on 2007-06-16 19:02:53

Except that it proves the fact that movie-to-game adaptations can be good, even amazing.

Comment by Arian on 2007-06-16 21:16:25

A rarity in and of itself.

Comment by Kate Loire on 2007-07-02 15:04:53

I thought King Kong was good too. Nice terrain

Comment by HylianHitman on 2007-06-16 15:49:49

What reason would there be to stop them though? I mean, people still buy Sonic games.

Comment by Arian on 2007-06-16 16:06:34

What does playing Sonic have to do with Movie-to-game adaptations? As far as I know, there aren’t any Sonic movies playing in Theatres.

Comment by Aert on 2007-06-17 09:20:57

The point is that people still buy these crappy games.

Comment by Renato Mosca on 2007-06-16 15:57:30

stupid game just like the movie both STUPID

Comment by SilentAssassn87 on 2007-06-16 17:53:11

I don’t know about that one. The game did suck (gameplay), but the movies were great.

Comment by StGermain on 2007-06-16 17:22:00

I liked the demo, one day this game will be in the bargain bin and then I’ll take it home with me :)

Comment by Paul Tancred on 2007-06-17 10:44:52

Yeah, I’d recommend that to anyone that was kind of interested in the game.

Comment by Sage on 2007-06-16 17:24:45

They made a CATWOMAN game?! wow what a waste of money

Comment by Veritas on 2007-06-16 17:27:30

I liked the dueling system. Agreed, though, that it would’ve been cool to have live multiplayer with it…

Comment by x El Scorpio x on 2007-06-16 17:44:32

throw it in to the depths of the sea

Comment by zarbor on 2007-06-16 18:57:52

Rented it once it was launched. Could have been great, end up being a waste. It really didn’t need much more work to make it at least a thought. Move on lad….nothing here to see.

Comment by darkrom on 2007-06-17 01:44:16

I liked the movies but this game is HORRIBLE.

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