Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Xbox 360 Review

I am not even going to bother trying to come with a clever opening paragraph for this one; I am just getting straight to the point. At World’s End is a terrible, terrible game to play. It is filled to the brim with bad ideas, broken ideas and ideas that should have never manifested at all! It is the definition of a game that is not fun to play and for anyone that buys it, it is a waste of whatever amount of cash you took out of your wallet and handed over for it. Weirdly, it is also a beautiful game to look at and if you were to watch someone play it you’d be forgiven for falling in love with its charms. However, the second you get the controller in your hands any illusions of playability quickly falls apart.

Although the game is called ‘At World’s End’, the story it tells actually covers the events seen in the final two films of the PotC series where you, with your sword in tow, relive the adventures seen in both films. It all sounds very interesting but unfortunately the game has simplified the sword fighting aspect of the game to such an extent that they have made each and every enemy encounter in the game both boring and a chore to play. The first mistake that the game makes is that basic enemies are far too easy to kill, all you have to do is run up to them, attack them with the A button of death two or three times and they fall down. You then do this again, and again, and again, and again multiple times throughout the game, possibly numbering in the thousands, until everything in your way is dead. There is literally very little else you can you can do with these enemies and you are forced to fight wave after wave of identical spawning enemies until the game graciously allows you to move on to the next section.

In this next section you may find a few new ledges and levers you have not met up with before and you may also meet up with one of the game’s ‘special’ bosses for a one-on-one dual. These duals could be labelled the game’s second mistake, that is if you have not already counted up all the other AI flaws and numerous bugs you met along the way. For these duals all you can do is defend or attack as you follow a set of on screen prompts to let you know if your foe is aiming, and then you move the stick into the correct position to block. Once you block (which is very easy as the game intentionally slows down to give you the best chance to do so) it is then up to you to fight back using the same process you used for blocking. Unfortunately this is also not much fun as the slow pace ruins any epic feel the combat could have had. If you’re interested you could also throw a spin attack into proceedings but you will most likely have lost any small bit of interest you had in the game by this point.

Even though you spend most of your time in the game playing as the heady Jack Sparrow, you do get a chance to take control of the other big names from the movie from time to time. There are even times when you get to fight as Sparrow, Elizabeth and Will at the same time (picking which one you want to control with the d-pad) but sadly even this spectacle is ruined as the characters you are not in control of seem to have no AI and die very easily, and if you don’t keep jumping back and forth between them to try and keep them alive they will die within seconds.

Apart from the swashbuckling sections, ‘At World’s End’ also offers a few more gaming options to give players a chance to get away from the inane sword fighting for a while. Firstly there are some puzzles, but none of them are really that taxing. Probably the most interesting of the bunch is trying to work your way through a maze built by the kraken’s tentacles when he attacks The Black Pearl, but in all honesty none of them really stick out as highly memorable. Another section sees you collecting items as you venture through a level which is a task you have most probably accomplished in every multiple game ever, since the dawn of time. Unfortunately, the collect-a-thon in At World’s End is also not much fun to take part in as it is yet another reason in the long line of reasons for not spending £50, £40, £30 or even £20 on this title.

Ok, enough hating. I will now move on to the graphics which, as you can see by the screenshots, look rather good. In fact the whole game is visually stunning with well modelled characters, beautiful environments, nice lighting and top quality animation. In fact the game looks so good I sometimes wondered if Eurocom spent so long on the graphics that they forgot to add some interesting gameplay to the mix! The game also puts up quite a respectable performance in the audio department but the main reason for that is that it rips off most of the tracks from the movies and just uses them ‘as-is’ in the game. It would have been nice to have seen a few remixes of the tunes but instead we just get a collection of themes faded in or out depending on what is happening in the game. I personally think the seminal PotC main theme is one of the greatest movie compositions ever, but in all honesty you can only hear it some many times before it gets a little bit boring! Voice work is not as hot as it could be because not one of the main cast – Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley or Orlando Bloom – bothered to lend their voices to the game. However, the sound-a-likes do an ok job of mimicking the stars but any big time fan of the series will instantly notice something is amiss with the characters’ voices.

When all is said and done, ‘At World’s End’ is nothing more than yet another flawed attempt at translating a successful movie series into a successful game. The only plus point the game has going for it are some nice looking graphics and a few nice theme tunes, beyond that things go steeply downhill to being a half finished, ill conceived mess. If you forced me, possibly at sword point, to say something nice about the gameplay I may admit that it could be slightly enjoyable in the shortest of short bursts when played in co-op, but in the same breath I’d be very quick to admit that even one level felt far too long to spend with it.

Buy something else, anything else!

3.5 out of 10