Videogames-To-Flix #41

VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!



Developer: Eurocom Entertianment Software
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Systems: XBOX 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, DS, PSP, PC, and Wii


PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END brings the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and the Black Pearl to multiple video game consoles. If you've seen the movie, you'll understand the story, but expect to see plenty of plot holes and jumps in the storyline keeping the game moving. The general premise of saving Captain Jack and uniting the Pirate Lords is there, it just doesn't always make complete sense on its own. It is pretty apparent that you're expected to know this story well enough that the plot jumps won't leave you confused.

Whether or not there will be a fourth installment of the film series is undetermined. One thing we know for sure is that this is not the last game based on the PIRATES characters. This review of AT WORLD'S END is of the PSP version. You can also play this game on the DS, Wii, XBOX 360, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3.


I was completely prepared to give the gameplay an average score. That was until I played the hideously flawed final level. Its failures reveal something you might not catch on first glance - this game is broken. Gameplay is similar to a million other games that you have played before. You play a protagonist in the third-person perspective. You kill enemies with various combos and secondary attacks. You collect random crap and attempt various side missions. This would all be fine and generic if everything worked as it should.

Here's the rub. The gameplay is broken because the game's design was obviously not thoroughly play-tested. It only becomes apparent after I played the same level repeatedly that I saw problems. The artificial intelligence of the enemies can't navigate the maps and the game plot progression doesn't know how to compensate for that.

For example, on the final level a series of your fellow pirates are attacked by bad guys. Your job is to kill the bad dudes and save your friends. You'll have to do this three times. After you've saved pirate number one you have to save pirate number two. However, if the enemies are not spawning around pirate number two, you can't save him. You, therefore, have to go back to pirate number one, draw the bad dudes over to pirate number two, and then save him. This would be fine - if AI for the enemies was even remotely functional. Instead, I found myself in a never ending loop of frustration trying to save my pirate buddies.

In a nut shell, the gameplay in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END is a complete bust. The generic design would have been bad enough but since it isn't even implemented correctly, I'd rather spend more of my free time with SHREK THE THIRD.

Gameplay: 4.8/10


Portable game graphics tend to look ugly and PIRATES isn't an exception. The gameplay graphics are on par with those of 300: MARCH TO GLORY and no better than the best offerings on the Nintendo DS. When your game doesn't look better than your console's under-powered competition, you've got a problem.

The one thing that might have redeemed this game (and helped out 300) would have been nicely rendered cut scenes. While 300: MARCH TO GLORY went with comic book art to stylize the storytelling, PIRATES lazily did their cut scenes with in-engine bits. I would have preferred actual footage from the movie to these worthless attempts at storytelling. Since the detail in the backgrounds and sets are so underdeveloped these cut scenes age the game a lot and suck even more life out of the experience. At least with comic book art or live action scenes, players would have had something to look forward to after struggling through a level.

It is pretty apparent that PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END took the easy way out in graphic design. Sometimes you wonder why they even bothered to add color to the frame. Why not just make it look like a game for the original GameBoy?

Graphics: 5.3/10


While the audio in PIRATES isn't as embarrassing as the graphics, you still won't be blown away. It appears that none of the voice work was performed by the original cast members, but that isn't entirely bad news. The actor who portrays Captain Jack does quite a good job despite poor writing and problematic story progression. Meanwhile, everyone else that chatters bring nothing to the table, leaving Captain Jack out to dry.

In the realm of score and sound effects I was disappointed to see that the original theme for PIRATES is nowhere to be found in this game. At least if that had been included it could have added a smidgen of authenticity to this game. Instead, I heard nothing but repetitive drivel. And, oh yes, this game has sound effects.

Sound: 5.6/10


A bunch of movie games came out this summer and I (was forced to) reviewed all of them. If you've tried the others you'll already know what to expect from this game. This game might be entertaining for a kid too young to see the movies or blinded by mediocrity. Everybody else will be saddened and disappointed that crappy movie games continue to flood the market just to exist as a waste of time (for the developers and for us). If you have expendable income and are considering buying this game, I'd rather see you buy 300: MARCH TO GLORY. At least that game has some panache.

Final Verdict: 5.3/10


PIRATES made $300+ million domestically. It has made nearly $1 billion worldwide. Expect a sequel some time soon. Johnny Depp told Newsweek he was interested in more Captain Jack and he'll likely get his wish. And if you want to play some more in the PIRATES universe, check out PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN ONLINE when it comes out this Fall (maybe).





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