Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End Preview
Captain Jack Sparrow is the coolest of the cool in the swashbuckling world of pirates, and he'll likely be every bit as appealing in a video game as he is on screen. Brought to life through the ingenious talents of Johnny Depp, the staggering, wisecracking character will once again return to the high seas in Disney's third Pirates movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." And better yet, he'll also get himself a starring role in a video game, which we knew about last year. However, we didn't know much (as you can see by the original preview below), and it's only recently we're seeing more details and information about the promising title.
First off, Eurocom is planning to feature a combination of the storylines found in the last two films, which makes us think we won't recognize absolutely everything in the game, even if we see both movies. As a third-person action/adventure game, the player will assume the role of three major characters from time to time: Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann, and Will Turner. And at that announcement, we immediately began salivating at the thought of multiple and unique character abilities. Perhaps each will use a variety of weapons and skills at their disposal, and cooperative gameplay is another possibility as well. In all honesty, we'd rather have a seamless transitioning between the characters, with all three included in the same areas, rather than having separate missions for the separate characters. That just seems like it would remove us from a lot of the action.
But if there's one thing that should be seamless, it's the large and expansive world we've heard will be featured in At World's End. And when a game is based on a movie that relies heavily on superb characterization, it's essential that we have the same level of detail and development in the virtual characters. In this sense, we expect to see Jack's ambling gait and quirky facial animations on full display, and from what we've heard, the seemingly permanently impaired Captain will appear very familiar, even when battling hordes of enemies. Unfortunately, the game has suffered a significant blow when it comes to depicting these characters in the game: the real-life actors do not lend their voices to the production. And without Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly or Orlando Bloom, we're forced to admit the voiceovers will likely be one of the game's shortcomings.
But on the flip side, we hope the world will be large and free enough so we can do a little exploring, both on foot and, perhaps, by ship...? That'd be a nice thing to have, don't you think? And as we get used to our surroundings, we'll soon realize the primary appeal of the game will center on the combat. After all, it is a third-person action title, and given it will be on the new consoles, we expect good things from the battle mechanic. We're not expecting the absurd refinement and polish of a God of War II system or the insane intricacy of a Devil May Cry 3 mechanic, but we certainly expect a fun, fluid, and relatively deep combat style. And luckily, this is one aspect of the game Eurocom seems to be focusing on - good move, gents - because your trio of characters will be able to swordfight, grapple, and even use your firearms in the midst of hectic encounters.
Oh, so you know what that means, right? Yes indeed, we're hoping with every ounce of our soul that we'll be able to string together combos on the fly; clash away with swords, unleash a hail of bullets, then toss away the bashed and beaten enemy! That's exactly the kind of gameplay that will bring in the fans, of both movies and video games. There will be a standard lock-on feature in the game, and there's a rumor going around about how your swordsmanship skill relates to your overall power. Oh, and you may recall our query regarding cooperative gameplay, and that comes into play during battle sequences; all three characters will often work to help each other when the situation is particularly dire. Lastly, as context sensitive maneuvers become more and more popular (thanks mostly to God of War and Resident Evil 4), we'll be evading in this way in At World's End. Press the correct button at the right time, and somersault away!
As for the exploration, we don't really know just how the world will present itself, but we do know you'll be wandering through a variety of locales. And, shocker of shockers, those locales will be very Caribbean-esque, with plenty of islands, caves, and sandy beaches. It'll probably be a bit more linear than we would like, simply because they have to follow a fairly set storyline, but even so, we anticipate breathtaking visuals from this one. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is scheduled to release on May 15, only two weeks before the movie opens in theaters. And for once, despite the absence of the real actors to voice the characters in the game, we actually have high hopes for a video game based on a movie! Maybe it's just because it seems impossible they'd somehow ditch all the entertainment we get in the films, but seriously, we honestly believe this one has plenty of potential.
...and we'd rather not have to eat those words in a couple months.
Jack Sparrow fans unite, 'cuz he's getting ready for another go 'round for the next generation.
Although not scheduled until May of next year (maybe), early information and sneak peaks have already proved encouraging. Previewed at both E3 and the 2006 Leipzig Game Convention, PotC 3 should feature a straight-up action adventure with some interesting new platforming elements. Sparrow will lead the quest, and one of the more refreshing aspects allows players to use his sword as a stepping-stone to higher areas. One of the more appealing factors of the movies has always been Captain Jack's swagger, and fans may be surprised to see this free-wheeling personality recreated faithfully in the game: There's something called "Jackisms," which draw on Jack's unique demeanor to accomplish tasks and conquer goals.
Furthermore, there should be a strong effort to reinforce the cinematic experience; Eurocom has enlisted the help of William Hobbs, respected fight director for over 40 films. So Jack should have a wide variety of maneuvers when it comes to acrobatic combat, and this should obviously include a bevy of sword attacks. The complexity of the combat is still a bit hazy, but it's expected the action will be traditional third-person with a simple yet effective targeting system. One thing revealed at E3 is a one-on-one duel mechanic, where the weapons change color to correspond with the buttons on the controller. In this way, we can draw some similarities to the context sensitive attacks found in Resident Evil 4 and God of War.
There is no media as of yet, but reports hint at some very fluid animations and a meticulously detailed environment. Parts of said environment will even be interactive, as you'll be able to nab glasses and play around with classic pirate-esque things like chandeliers and muskets. Look for more in the way of screenshots and more detailed information after the PS3 launch. We've said it before and we'll say it again- Pirates Rule.
3/21/2007 Ben Dutka