Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 2


Epic action, incredible visuals, tightly crafted comedy, and loads of fun. That's the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. The game manages to only carry one of those, and even that's debatable.

Loaded with irritating puzzles, dull combat, and touchy camera, this overly extended movie based title falls completely flat (or directly through the floor if you find one of the many glitches). Though titled At World's End, you'll be forced to play through the second movie, Dead Man's Chest, long before taking part in the storyline of the third Pirates outing.

For Xbox 360 exclusive gamers, this may not be a problem. Dead Man's Chest was never released in video game form on the 360. That said, the game's title logically indicates this is based on the third movie, and forcing the extra levels on the player is a cheap way to push the completion time upwards. It might have made a nice extra once the game was completed and nothing more.

With sharp looking character models and somewhat decent backdrops, this is an impressive next-gen debut for Jack Sparrow in terms of graphics. It's the game play that sends Sparrow to Davy Jones locker, and preferably forever if this is what's considered enjoyable.

Instead of crafting an intricate combo system, fights revolve around hitting the A button three times. The first swipe will be blocked, the second will spin your enemy around disorienting them for no apparent reason, and the third knocks them down. Finishing moves can be performed as a meter fills at the top of the screen, though these add nothing in terms of helping the repetition.

The characters also have a pathetic short range, slow punch at their disposal. You could play through the full game and never use it. Side weapons, such as knives or guns, are constantly available and usually more effective, though not that fun to use either.

More involved sword fights activate a mini-game. Here you'll need to use the analog stick to block incoming attacks from three different directions, and likewise to counter. The analog stick doesn't allow for the accuracy needed to deflect blows, so later challenges in this same vein are artificially difficult.

Breaking up the monotonous action are switch and box moving puzzles. The switch problems can be particularly infuriating, restarting if you fail to pass within a limited amount of time. Climbing controls, coupled with the camera, can make these generally simple tasks one-step short of impossible.

While aesthetically pleasing (and the soundtrack is superb), playing At World's End is nothing more than a chore. It's been sometime since a game has been released with a combat system this mundane. Hardcore fans of the movie series will even have trouble finding something positive to say about this one.


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Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2007 10:45 PM