Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Loot #6: PS3 Games

I also got a pair of games for the PS3. One is a game I've played (and enjoyed) the demo from, and wrote about it before: Stuntman: Ignition. I haven't installed the full version yet or done anything with it. Mostly for lack of time (and what time there was, the PS3 has been busy.... Siobhan got LittleBIGPlanet.) When I do, I've also got a driving controller with foot pedals to try (didn't get that as a gift, bought it myself a week or so before Christmas when it was on a deep discount at MidnightBox.)

The other one is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. I played it a little bit, though unusually, it was while people were over for our nominal Christmas "party"/gift exchange. It's odd playing a solo game in front of an audience, at least for me, but they didn't seem to mind, and egged me on. Most gamers are probably very used to this kind of game and interface. Heck, I'm not even used to the PS3 controller quite yet. So I probably was pretty frustrating to watch as I didn't do obvious things.

The game did a good job of teaching me how to play it by letting me play it, though. Kudos to the designers for managing that tricky task with panache, particularly given how it worked even on me, someone who's been out of touch with computer games since the days of the Commodore 64. The game itself is vaguely interesting, not super-engaging, but interesting. I find it weird to see shots from the movie matched detail for detail as computer animation, instead of just playing the original clip; but Joe pointed out that using the real clip would break immersion when it transitioned to computer animation afterwards, so that makes sense. The animated Captain Jack Sparrow seems to exaggerate his tendency to weave and shift and bob to the point where it becomes distracting and goofy: I don't know if they have him moving too much, or if it's just that, things that Johnny Depp can pull off, a computer animation built from him doesn't quite pull off. Maybe his movements are in the uncanny valley (even if he himself isn't).


litlfrog said...

I actually thought you were patient beyond the call of duty with all the backseat gaming folks were trying to do. I was initially impressed with the movement of Jack Sparrow's character, but it began to look odd as time went on. Those were well-scripted, but they're still scripted--there are only a limited number and the repetition becomes quickly noticeable

Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

I played it more later and there were some interesting bits, but it's also true, as many of the reviews say, that there's far too much redundant play of the same fights over and over. There just aren't many new elements to add to the fights; most of them are just more of the same, and the extra techniques available, like throwing daggers, are ineffective enough you'd almost never use them.

In later fights, you control more than one character at once. Which is crazy. You have to flip the camera back and forth, and while you're controlling one of them, the other works on autopilot. Sometimes they actually fight better that way -- presumably because their opponents don't do as much -- but they're also maddeningly stupid. I spent the longest time trying to get both Jack and Will to one spot because each time I moved the camera to one, the other would double back to join the first.

In a later scene you're controlling Jack, Will, and Mr. Gibbs, but this is a red herring. The camera starts on Will, but if you don't switch immediately to Jack and move him out of the fight he's in, everyone will die in minutes. In fact, there's no point at all in ever leaving the camera on Will or Mr. Gibbs; only Jack can end the fight, and only by leaving the one he starts in and taking over Will's fight.

The soundalike actors are really remarkable accurate to the ones in the movie, enough that in most cases you wouldn't even suspect it wasn't them. (Will is a notable exception, which seems odd: Will's voice seems easier to hit than most of the others in the movie. The Davy Jones voice is so remarkably spot-on I had to triple-check it wasn't the same actor.)