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Old 16-07-2008
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The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

In a move that surprised no one, Disney has released a game based upon the recently released movie: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Many gamers had high hopes for this game since they choose Traveller’s Tales to develop the game. This is the same development team that made the fantastic LEGO Star Wars games. Unfortunately, the developers didn’t maintain the high standards for Prince Caspian that are present in their other games.



The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is based off the second book by C.S. Lewis. It takes place 1,300 years after the Pevensie children left the land, and since that time the malicious Telmarines have taken over. Players will take control of numerous characters from the movie and the book to defeat the evil King Miraz and put the correct ruler on the throne: Caspian.

both in single and co-op multiplayer modes, and overall they were pretty impressed. We all know there is a real challenge in keeping children of this age focused for any length of time, and it is a testament to the designers’ abilities that they have delivered a game which attracts and holds their attention so completely.



At its heart The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian follows the basic story line of the movie, and each new section of the game is linked by the corresponding big screen footage. For you non-Narnians out there the story goes something like this: A year has passed for the four Pevensie children since their last visit to Narnia; however when they are summoned back to a ruined Cair Paravel they soon discover a lot more time has passed in the magical realm. This time around they and the few Narnians who remain must help a young fugitive prince, Caspian, defeat the uncle who has usurped his throne, along with an invading army of Telmarines

Prince Caspian's gameplay is simplistic. Levels focus entirely upon mindless combat and finicky busywork where you pull levers, push buttons, or slap machinery together. You also switch back and forth between characters with special abilities, such as throwing a grappling hook or firing a bow. A second player can also join the action at any time and play through the campaign in co-op mode simply by picking up a controller (there is no support for multiplayer over the net). So you're either hacking and slashing through hordes of eternally respawning enemy knights, or you're looking around for the puzzles that need to be solved to open up the next area or reveal a quest item.



Nothing here is all that tough, though, because the game is geared toward the younger set. Combat is all about mashing buttons and you can wade through foes slaughtering at will, especially with tough characters like Peter and the minotaur or speedy ones like the centaur. Solving puzzles is equally undemanding. You step on a couple of platforms to cause a staircase to rise up out of the ground, pull switches to open up portcullises, smash through a wall by pushing over a statue, or fire an arrow at a far-off target to release a bridge. Essentially, you spend a lot of time performing the same sorts of tasks that you would expect from a traditional action adventure or a 3D platformer.

The adventure spans six different stages and a nice variety of locations, as you might expect given the source material. During the 6-8 hour adventure, you'll guide the Pevensies and various mythical creatures through impressive large scale battles, castle crashes and escapes, and various caves, ruins and forests. It's a fairly linear trek through the tale, but you are allowed to choose the order in which some tasks are tackled.



Though the gameplay can get repetitive at times, all told it has some nice variety in puzzle solving and action. The action is simple each character has two attack buttons and one for interacting with the environment or using a special tool ( as mention ). It's undemanding, and so are most of the encounters with generic Telmarines, but the action does have its moments in the sun. Taking control of trees to smash hordes of Telmarine soldiers or riding around on a giant's back to bash catapults is fun

The co-op mode in this game gives two players the chance to clean up Narnia together, and this offers great opportunities for a little father/son, mother/daughter, bonding over the home console, which is never something to be sniffed at. You just probably won't be tackling it solo, that's all.



Prince Caspian states that the game offers fans 'a magical world beyond anything they have seen before'. A slightly more accurate description would be 'a magical world much like you saw in the last game, and indeed, in the multiple Lord Of The Rings games before it'. This is not necessarily a bad thing - but if you're an adult who doesn't get excited about repeatedly hitting the same two buttons to battle bad guys, or solving the same handful of incredibly simple puzzles time and time again, then there's not a whole lot for you here.

The cutscenes in the game are washed-out clips from the movie, and the editing was a little rough as well. If you haven’t seen the movie, the cutscenes won’t quite help you follow the story. A few key moments that could have made it shine didn’t make it into the game. The voice over work is fine overall, but a bit scarce. On numerous occasions the characters just moan and groan like beasts…including the human ones! I didn’t really understand why it had to be that way, considering the Telemarines are far from being Neanderthals!



The soundtrack is a bit more interesting, especially during certain scenes, but it mostly goes unnoticed. It seems like the whole game is surrounded by an uncomfortable level of mediocrity, and it never delivers a real movie-like experience. We expect much more out of today’s video games, and we can say this one got stuck in the last generation of gaming. If it had come out three years ago, it would still be bad though!



Unfortunately, what you can see in the next-gen console versions of Prince Caspian doesn't look all that great. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game are extremely dark, and there is no way to adjust this in the game because the usual gamma tweaking option is MIA. Cutscenes are shadowy, and during gameplay, enemies are often so thoroughly obscured by the gloom that they're invisible until they attack. So if you're looking for visual clarity, stick with the PC edition, which is crystal clear. It's a shame that the game is so murky because the levels take you to all of the key locales in the movie, such as the ruins of Caer Paravel, Miraz's castle, and the battlefield of Beruna.
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