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Back for more, guest family gamer Daran cracks open Prince Caspian. As he says, the Narnia chronicles form one of the UK's favourite mythical adventures, in both book and movie form. Most of us are familiar with the animal Kingdom's favourite good guy Aslan the lion and the rightful heir to the throne of Narnia Prince Caspian.
In this review we take a look at Prince Caspian for the Wii, based loosely on the second book of the series (although die hard fans will be quick to point out that it was actually fourth in the chronological sequence). The adventure depicts the fall of Cair Paravel to the telmarines. Does the gameplay allow it to hold its own and justify the pricetag in the current competitive market?
After reading the (not too complimentary) write ups on the web, I was keen to know for myself if the game would be vacuous and rushed out to compliment the film, or extremely playable? Well, before you get chance to find out you are subject to around a 75 second load-time. Doesn't sound like too much of a delay, but compare that to Mario Kart's 25 seconds it is certainly noticable.
My four year old daughter loved the fact that swishing the controller through the air can also be used as an attack method.
Those that are unfamiliar with the movie/book are soon brought up to speed. The first scene sees the player trying to defend the castle of Cair Paravel. My impressions here were that the instructions in the manual were not detailed enough, and thankfully these are complemented by in-game tips. The game is lacking a brief tutorial, and more extended in-game assistance. After 10 minutes or so of attempting to digest the tips and controller related instructions, I was ready to give up. On entering each mission, you have to check the main menu to find what the objectives are, I only stumbled upon this by chance. Digging around the web I could see that the objective locating tripped up a lot of people initially. Ultimately though, I was glad that I persevered.
On to the controls, the Wii-Mote and Nun-Chuck are used in combination to good effect. My four year old daughter loved the fact that swishing the controller through the air can also be used as an attack method. We particularly enjoyed the fact that we could plug in the second controller at any time. This co-operative play is a great feature though and can be performed without interrupting gameplay, or having to restart your current adventure. The camera angle is unchangeable and follows the characters from a kind of side-on but rear perspective. Ideally you would want to be able to pan around. The best way to describe the controls would be to liken them to an office timesheet system, at first you don't have a clue, but after a few goes it's second nature.
The action generally revolves around controlling four extremely diverse characters (minotaur, dwarf, archer and even humans at times) in order to combat the baddies. Necessary tasks must be performed to get to the next level. You can switch between characters at any time in order to take advantage of their different attributes. As you go on your travels you will team up with and control up to 20 or so different characters. My daughter loved the giant !
Contrary to other internet content I came across, my opinion was that the fighting scenescapes look pretty swish.
Contrary to other internet content I came across, my opinion was that the fighting scenescapes look pretty swish. In between scenarios, the graphical clips are of top animated quality and clips from the actual movie are used sensibly and add to the game.
Initially I was perturbed about the PG rating, would it encourage playground replicated fighting? This is doubtful, although my daughter did declare at one stage 'Ilove to fight' reminding me a bit of Monkey from the Monkey Magic series. If in doubt though you can always pre-play a level by yourself first, then play it with your kids after if you are happy. A good solution for all thanks to the non-linear nature of each of the games chapters.
I would say it's not really one for adults looking for a mental challenge, but I would recommend it for gameplay with kids ? Play it without your kids first, learn the basics such as how to read objectives, switch characters, reccy the scenes for violence, then get your kids involved and set out on a great adventure.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: