Game Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Steven Sifert

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Eurocom

FYI grade: D+

Movie tie-in games are a tricky affair. Usually released alongside their respective movies, game developers are forced to put out a product whether they’re ready to or not – there’s no stopping the money machine. So usually, the end result to a potentially good game is lackluster. It’s happened a hundred times before and the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” game is no exception.

The game’s storyline loosely follows the plot to both “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End,” as well as throws in a few new story elements. But don’t worry, you’re not missing anything.

Most of the game consists of your character – whether it be Jack Sparrow, Will Turner or Elizabeth Whatever-Her-Last-Name-Is – running around and picking up items that do little more than add to your 360 achievement points. You’ll flounder from one boring objective to the next, such as walk around until you find this guy, walk around until you find this thing or walk around until you find this group of baddies.

When it comes to combat, the game takes its biggest misstep. There are essentially two different buttons used to attack – one for swashbuckling sword swipes and the other for an ineffective punch.

And now a brief battle tutorial: When engaging a foe, press the button that swings your sword. After doing so, press it again. Got it? Keep pressing the button until your opponent perishes. More enemies? Jam on that sword button. You should get through it all with little trouble. Good work.

Every now an then you’ll engage in a one-on-one sword duel with a dastardly foe. Three different circles will appear on the screen representing high, middle and low. When one of them lights up, that’s where your opponent will be attacking you and you should move your analog stick in the same direction to parry. Once you’ve parried enough blows, you’ll have an opening to attack. Basically you’ll just hold the analog stick up or down and your character will start attacking. There’s not much strategy involved here, just boredom.

Thankfully, the visuals in the game are well done. Water effects and textures look great and game characters actually look like their movie counterparts. However, level design inhibits the visuals from presenting truly breathtaking scenes.

The audio is also nicely done. You’ll hear plenty of grunts coming from the characters without being too repetitive. Gunshots and explosions sound appropriate and even the sound of rain changes when moving from the open air to a sheltered area. The game’s voice work is also well done despite the fact none of the movie actors reprise their roles within the game.

While “At World’s End” may look and sound nice, the clunky, rushed gameplay keeps the player from having a good time and instead presents them with what feels like a chore. Perhaps Captain Sparrow should set sail elsewhere until developer Eurocom is ready to deliver a quality game.