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Nov. 6, 2006
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
20/7/2006Ubisoft7 Studios1-2PGEasy
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
90KBStereoNoNoNoneNo

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Jack Sparrow is superbly modeled.
It seems that everyone nowadays has a soft-spot somewhere deep down for pirates. The recent release of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie proved that, with the movie being the fastest ever to reach $100 million, doing it in an astounding 2 days (thatís US dollars too!). And with any big budget movie success, especially in the action genre, we can always expect at least a handful of movie-license games to hit the various consoles and PC. Suffice to say, they arenít always the best-made games on the market, so it was with hesitation and low expectations that we fired up Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow. The result is a bit mixed. Read on for more...

Ok, so rather than set PotC:TLoJS to the exact same plot as either of the two released movies, or the coming third movie (set for release next year), this tale is in fact the life-story of Captain Jack Sparrow, and is heavily inspired from the references made in movies. In a move that is sure to please many fans, Will Turner is at Jackís side, and is indeed playable, for the majority of the game.

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Fighting with Elizabeth Swann.
After a brief tutorial, Jack and Will find themselves in a spot of trouble. With a noose around his neck, Sparrow starts to try and set the record straight (or at least change it to how he wants it to be remembered) and regales the crowd and his would-be executioners with the tale of how he and Will got to be in this awful predicament. From here, players take charge of the two (and occasionally Elizabeth) to play out Jackís tale.

In terms of Gameplay, PotC:TLoJS can be seen a bit like the Dynasty Warriors games (at least the fighting controls), with one big difference - you wonít take on hundreds of warriors at once. Battles usually entail taking out a handful of pirates, who are then replaced by some more, but there is not usually more than about six enemies in the on fight at the same time. Controls are simple, and revolve around, mainly, two buttons Ė the X button which initiates a standard slice attack with the sword, and the square button, which allows players to attack with a more powerful, but time consuming, slash. Different combinations of the two can be pressed in order to play other moves, and players have the chance to upgrade their character and their moves throughout the game. The triangle allows you to use small bombs as Jack and throw hatchets as Will. Aside from this, there really isnít a lot to fighting here. Itís a fairly standard hack and slash affair, with the occasional guard thrown in for good measure (using R1). While it certainly does the job, it would have been nice to see some more focus on more realistic and defensive sword-play.

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Battle in the far East.
Other elements of gameplay include the occasional mini-game, such as destroying a fleet of boats using cannons, button mini-games to open locked doors with battering rams, and a few others. These help add a bit of variety to the game, but for the most part seem tacked on a bit. Likewise, the boss battles, while abundant, are fairly standard and require little thinking and more constant attacking than anything.

Which brings me to the first big issue with this title: itís simply too easy. There is no option to make the game harder, and anyone who is much of a gamer wont have any real trouble getting through the entire game without dying more than a few times. Call me crazy, but I really like to have a challenge when Iím playing games. Itís what makes it enjoyable.

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Level detail is, ermm, adequate.
Another big issue is the AI for both enemies and companion. While PotC:TLoJS supports 2-player co-op, when playing on your own the computer takes control of your companion, and renders them not only useless, but an obstacle to get in the way. They seem incapable of defeating anything, and often get left behind after getting stuck behind crates. The enemies arenít much better and barely put up a fight. Someone needs to find the AI programmer for this game and teach him a thing or two.

Graphically, the game is nothing much to look at. To be honest, the Pirates of the Caribbean world in the recent Kingdom Hearts II puts this release to complete shame. Character animations are often jerky, and while there are a lot of varied environments, they are all fairly bland and lack detail. There are only a half a dozen models for enemies, not including bosses, which results in the feeling that youíre really fighting the same few guys over and over. It certainly isnít the visual splendor that we expect for games at the end of a consoles lifetime.

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Fighting in the caves.
Thankfully, a little credit is returned to the game with Johnny Depp supplying the voice for the good captain, and he does a wonderful job. The imitation voices for Will and other big-name characters are all done decently also, except for Elizabeth Swan, who sounds quite awful. Sound effects are of varying quality, and music is far from memorable. Voices aside, itís a fairly average release for your ears.

Unfortunately, this is another movie-license game that I can safely say is not worth the purchase except for a few hardcore fans. The plot offers a decent amount of Jack Sparrow flavored humor, and Deppís performance is, as always, a pleasure to experience, but aside from this, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow offers very little to warrant more than a weekend rent.

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSDisappointing at best. Jerky animations, repetitive use of enemy models and bland environments/textures.
50%
SOUNDSolid voice acting, especially from Depp, but unimaginative music and half-hearted sound effects make this fairly average with audio.
57%
GAMEPLAYDecent at first, but it soon becomes repetitive. Similar combat to Dynasty Warriors - brings nothing new to the action/adventure genre.
52%
VALUEThis only has lasting appeal to hardcore fans. Co-op makes it a little better, but overall a title to avoid unless you are desperate.
54%
OVERALLPirates rock. This game does notÖ Savvy?
53%

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