Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End (PS3) Review

It’s time to check out Pirates of the Caribbean! This one sat on my backlog for ages because I technically already played the PSP version a while back so I didn’t want to effectively replay the whole game too soon. This way I gave it enough time where it pretty much felt like a brand new experience. It’s a fairly solid cash-in. It suffers from some of the issues you’d expect like some of the mechanics not being thought through all the way but on the whole I would say that the game is fairly fun. The length is decent for this kind of game and since you can probably get it for just a few bucks, it’s not a bad deal.

The game’s main plot deals with Jack being in trouble once again but after being betrayed by a close ally he is actually destroyed this time. He is now in Davy Jones’ locker which is sort of like another dimension. The land of the dead is like an endless desert and so the characters decide to quickly go back and save him. They’ll need to save his life once and for all before finally taking down the heart of Davy Jones. Can they really handle this kind of pressure against such a dangerous opponent?

So the gameplay is your average 3D platformer. You run and jump across levels while occasionally using the action item to operate levels and such. The levels mainly feature a lot of combat as you take out scores of minions that try to get in your way. Most of them you can beat in a single combo so for the ones that you cannot, you must beat them with one of your super attacks. Otherwise they will continue to get up endlessly while also summoning an army of the undead along with them. You’ll want to always target the super fighters right away because otherwise the fights really are endless.

Since there is no EXP system here there isn’t a value in fighting against those extra enemies so you’ll definitely want to keep it moving. You can even try to skip enemies when the level is in a platforming section but at least beating those is very quick so that shouldn’t be a big issue. The best attack to use is two sword strikes, one punch, and then a sword strike. This 4 hit combo will defeat any enemy so it’s really good to memorize it. As you can probably guess, the combat itself will be very repetitive in the end as a result since that’s what you will be using in each level over and over again.

There are 11 levels in the game and each one is around 15-20 minutes long. After that there is no replay value though because there is no level select or anything like that. It’s too bad since there are secret collectibles and treasures in each level but you’ll need to play with a guidebook because otherwise just missing one would mean that you have to play the whole game over again. There aren’t any trophies to try and earn either so you don’t really need to worry about that.

The soundtrack has all of the usual Pirates themes within it so they can be catchy enough. The game does a good job with the constant cinematics as well. If you haven’t seen the movie there are a few parts that will likely confuse you as the game will randomly skip some things but otherwise has a good amount of detail. In that sense I thought it had a bit more of a budget than the average movie-tie in. Perhaps not by a lot but I’ll take what I can get.

I enjoyed the combat quite a bit during the levels and the platforming wasn’t bad. Pro tip, make sure you turn off motion controls. There was one level where I was stuck for ages before finally turning that off in the settings and then everything was real smooth. Motion controls are almost definitely not worth it and this is a classic example of that. You have to balance on beams and such so with motion controls it was a bit too delicate. There is one big gameplay weakness either way though.

The boss fights! So the way these work is a bit different. You’re playing a reaction game where the opponent hits high, medium, or low. You have to quickly swing the joystick in the direction he does to counter it but the timing is incredibly precise. Often times you will feel like you made the move in time but it just didn’t work. This happens again and again and when you lose you have to usually watch a quick unskippable animation. I died many times to one of the boss fights and had to watch the death scene countless times.

I do like that the game always respawns you close by but the boss fights didn’t feel well designed. The reaction windows are way too small and when you’re attacking it all seems very chance based. Sometimes you can land a lot of normal attacks without waiting for supers and other times the computer will block every strike. The boss fights just aren’t fun and are the only thing that really felt like there wasn’t enough time put into it. If the boss fights had been just like the normal fights then I dare say this would have been a blast. It’s just a shame that this was not the outcome.

Be that as it may, the boss fights are a small part of the overall experience so as long as you have fun with the other gameplay styles then you’ll have a good time with this one. It definitely adds a bit of a difficulty spike to what’s otherwise a very easy game. For the most part you’ll be breezing through everything so this will at least prevent you from beating the game too quickly. Just in a very artificial way.

Overall, At World’s End definitely plays better on the PS3 than the PSP. I feel like there were also a lot more cutscenes and depth here so it really is the definitive version. If you’re going to get this game, make sure you get it on the home console. It’s so cheap that it’s worth a purchase and you should walk away fairly satisfied. I’m not the biggest fan of the pirates series but in a video game any franchise can shine so long as the gameplay is on point. I suppose we’ll see if there is ever another console pirates game in the future.

Overall 7/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

It’s time for another Pirates of the Caribbean film. This series has never been synonymous with quality and this film certainly doesn’t change that. It’s a bad mash of characters trying to be funny along with crude humor. I’ve never been able to get along with the franchise and at this point I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s dead in the water at this point. I like to think that the sequel will be better…but it won’t be.

The film starts off with Jack attempting to rob a bank. Unfortunately it seems like he let the door hit him on the way out so he fell asleep while getting drunk inside. The cops open the bank vault and notice him, but don’t do anything about it so Jack gets away. He gets kidnapped and captured several more times after this until he eventually runs into Henry and Carina. Carina wants to find this legendary treasure and Henry wants the treasure so that he can bring his Dad back from being an undead zombie. Jack just wants a good beer. Meanwhile, Salazar and his crew are hunting for Jack. They want to destroy him once and for all since Jack defeated Salazar back when he was just a kid. The race is on!

Yes, we finally get Jack’s backstory. It doesn’t add anything to the film though so we can skip that. Jack is still a very terrible character. He’s always drunk and everyone ends up pushing him around. He can fight to an extent, but usually just remains alive due to plot armor and writing shields. He helps people cheat on their significant others just because he can and seemingly has no morals. He’s always joking but since the writing isn’t good the lines don’t work well. It’s just a mess and that’s putting it lightly. There really isn’t anything likable about Jack.

As for the other main lead, Henry is fairly generic. I guess it’s admirable that he completely ignored Salazar’s threats and went to go get Jack anyway. Saving his father is a noble goal as well, but getting mixed up with these pirates may not have been his best move. He didn’t do a great job of saving Carina either. Henry is a huge step up from Jack, but he’s just pretty generic and there aren’t any really great character traits that he possesses to make him memorable either. You’ll just remember him as another pirate with a sword.

Carina talks a good game as the main heroine, but can rarely back it up. The defiant personality trope can be quite good when handled well, but you can’t just talk the talk. She insults everyone and is constantly bragging about how smart she is, but at the end of the day she doesn’t contribute a whole lot. Her inclusion into the film seems to mainly have been for fanservice and iffy dialogue so I definitely don’t think the film used her all that well. As with Henry, she can just be rather generic.

Next up is Salazar, the main villain. He tries to toe the line of being a funny villain as well as a super evil one. Unfortunately he falls down as a result. His funny scenes aren’t very funny and while he does murder a bunch of people, it’s hard to enjoy him as a villain. Between his design and the fact that it has taken him forever and a day to get revenge on Jack, you have to wonder what he’s been doing all these years. An old villain/rival, Barbossa shows up as well and gets his character arc. I wouldn’t say it’s a great one either as I just don’t like the character. It’s probably a good thing that he didn’t mention the plot twist out loud because that would have been very shocking for all parties involved.

This franchise may try hard, but at this point it’s probably going to need a full reboot to get good. One of the main problems as I mentioned earlier is how there is so much crude humor here. The characters are all rather grotesque. It’s not as extreme as in previous films but enough to make you shake your heads. The designs for the villains prioritize looking dead and old as opposed to scary. The writing is very bad and that ends up hurting the film as well. Throw in the fact that the film is super long and you don’t have the most pleasant of experiences.

I mean, the film also takes place in the olden times for extra salt. Can’t I at least have cool buildings to look at in the meantime? Part of the problem is that pirates aren’t interesting and this whole historical period isn’t very interesting to watch. Everything is very old and dirty. The ocean looks the same after a while and I just miss my neon glass towers. At least we did get an evil ship that had fangs and ghost sharks. Those were interesting enough I suppose. Jack and friends probably should have died during the encounter but the villains can’t catch a break.

There is an after credits scene so if you actually watched the film then I guess you should stick around for it. It seems like the MnMs villain is back which isn’t very exciting. Again, it was a crude humor gimmick where he litters everywhere as he walks with old candy and stuff. I guess they’re going for a horror element with that ending, but this series won’t be able to pull it off. It’ll be back to comedy mode before you know it.

Overall, The writers for the Pirate series must like playing it safe. I feel like just about every Pirates film is the same and they just don’t do anything new. It’s the same old story of Jack making a mockery of everyone and somehow managing to live into the next film. It’s a cycle that just never ends and the films keep making money so that’s not going to stop anytime soon. I just don’t even remotely see the appeal of the franchise and until I do, it’s probably a lost cause for me.

Overall 2/10

Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End Stats and Records

Stats Time!

Notoriety 21897
Rank- Legendary Pirate
Game Complete 30%
Total Kills 633
Highest Combo 18
Highest Notoriety 2005
Best Rank- Legendary Pirate

Level Stats
Prison Fortress 1411
Isla De Pelegostos 595
Port Royal 1665
Pearl vs Dutchman 1820
Tortuga 1606
Isla Cruces 1354
Pearl vs Kraken 131
Singapore 2005
Davy Jones Locker 1651
Sea Battle 1022
Shipwreck City 1147
Maelstrom 1319

Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End Review

It’s time to finally play another Pirates game. It’s been a very long time since I’ve played an installment in the series. I got this game for my birthday 2-5 years ago which shows you just how large the video game backlog is at this point. The game is decently fun and I thought that it went about as far as it could within the realm of the movie cash in. With quick time events and actual fights in the cutscenes, Pirates is a solid step above the average movie tie in while still being below the average AAA game.

Jack Sparrow is a pirate who is disliked by just about everyone. He has made enemies within the government and among the other pirates as well. Still, Jack tries to get past all of that as he works to find the 7-9 pirate Lords so that they can gather up their skills and defeat Davy Jones. There are a lot of betrayals amidst as most of the pirates are corrupt and even the “good” characters like Will Smith and the main heroine can’t be trusted. All of them betray Jack at one point or another.

I can’t stand Jack Sparrow in the movies. He’s incredibly annoying and one of the saddest characters to ever lead a successful film series. (Not number 1 though. I think we all know that James Bond deserves that honor) The game does a better job of handling his character though. Jack comes off more as a troll than anything else here and he keeps hit wit about him even as he faces ultimate doom. Let’s just say that the way that the game ends may prove to be a rather dark fate for Jack. I can a[appreciate the ending here.

The gameplay is slightly 3D while also being slightly overhead. I’d prefer complete 3D of course, but it was fairly close to that so I won’t complain. You’ll spend most of the game just swinging your sword around as that is enough to get the job done. If you want to change things up, you can also throw knives, bombs, and shoot bullets at your opponents. They aren’t necessary, but they can save you a little time once in a while. The time is absolutely minimal though. Most of the levels are combat missions where you will just have to defeat a certain number of foes. Others will have you walk around town as you look for clues. It helps if you’ve seen the movie recently so you will know exactly who to talk too and where to go, but it’s not necessary. The towns aren’t all that large so you’ll be through them in no time.

There are around 12 levels and none of them are very long. A few good hours of playing the game should be enough to beat it. There is some replay value at least as you can go back to try and win all of the quick time events and get all of the treasure and characters. It’s not something that particularly entices me, but I can see the appeal. I’m at least glad that they did add extra characters to obtain. I also still want to give the game some credit for the quick time events. They were definitely pretty fun and added an extra notch of effort to the game. The cutscenes also actually had some fighting in them on several occasions. Some have aged better than others though as one cutscene involves a big fight between several individuals, but none of them appear except for Jack running around and doing a little flip as he attempts to shoot. It’s hard to get what is happening here, but….I guess we’ll assume that Jack won.

It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but it is scary just how many memorable moments they are. For better or worse, I definitely remembered most of the plot here. I still think that the main heroine is incredibly shady since she murdered Jack Sparrow, but later tried to claim that she didn’t mean it. It’s all fine and dandy here since dying just sends you to Davy Jones Locker, but it was a little hard to buy her act. Most of the characters are fairly hard to swallow though and it may just be that I can’t take them seriously at the moment.

There isn’t much of a great soundtrack to be found here. You’ll recognize some tunes from the movies I suppose, but for all I know, they are just public domain music that sound like Pirates. At the very least, it gives you something to listen to as you go through the game. The graphics are quite good though and it reminds me how unfortunate it was that the PSP never got more popular. The console was definitely closer to a home console than anything else and it certainly had a lot of potential there. This game is proof of that, but alas, Sony got destroyed by Nintendo in the console wars and the PSP met an early demise.

My main gripe with the game is that it can get very repetitive. After a while, you’ll realize that you are just slashing drone after drone with the exact same attack. There is no reason to use anything other than the standard slash so you can essentially fall asleep while pressing the square button and you’ll wake up to find out that you’re okay. The enemies deal a good amount of damage, but that’s only when they can manage to hit you and you have a lot of meat to replenish your health anyway. Adding more of the quick time events would break up the monotony I believe and maybe throwing in some minigames as well. I do believe that there are some included in the title, but they either didn’t make it into story mode or the quick time events count as minigames. Either way, I wasn’t curious enough to check them out.

Overall, At World’s End is a fun little game. It’s the definition of a weekend rental from Blockbuster. You’ll have a good time playing it, but once you complete the game, there is no reason to keep on going. You can always find better games if you really want too so the initial play through is all that you need. The production values in this game are impressive so if you don’t own the game yet, then I’d recommend picking it up. You can definitely get it for a pretty good price at this point. I have a few games that I’m working on at the moment so I probably won’t be playing the sequel for a while, but it is definitely drawing closer now.

Overall 7/10