Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End • Page 2

Kristan of North London: At Wit's End.  

Pretty folly

Now and then the game throws in enemies that you can't simply bash to death with the A button, but even they can be dispatched with barely any effort if you pay attention to the on-screen prompts. Essentially, the game's main respawning identikit enemies serve as a means to charge up your Swordsmanship meter. Once a quarter full, you can pull off a finishing move, which involves hitting the left trigger when the prompt appears, followed by one of the face buttons that appears briefly on screen. But rather than use finishing moves on goons (there's literally no need), you're advised to save them for these 'special' enemies. Once dispatched, the respawning idiots stop appearing and you can move onto the next super-exciting section.

Typically, such super excitement will involve predictable levels of sub-Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia-esque frolics, including death defying leaps, shimmying across precarious ledges and beams, and even, gasp, some lever pulling and box shifting as some sort of concession to variety. Pardon the sarcasm, but all of it is so painfully dull, unchallenging and therefore uninvolving that we can only imagine the tears of doom that the testers had to endure while playing through this repeatedly.

How can a game with so much piratey goodness end up such a shambles?

But the pain doesn't end there. Around 17 times during the game you'll have to engage in one-on-one duels with the key enemies that you face over the course of both Dead Man's Chest and the events of At World's End. At best you can nod in appreciation at the generally spot-on likenesses, but very quickly you'll lose the will to live once it becomes apparent what you have to do in order to progress through these immensely tedious sections. In basic terms, you're either defending or attacking, and the idea is to try and block all your opponent's blows, and then attempt to land a hit on them once the contest switches over. Rather than, you know, actually building a combat engine worth a damn, all that's involved is holding up when your opponent is aiming high, low when they're aiming low, and backwards away from them when they attempt a lunge.

The least fun you can have with your clothes on.

To make it easy to tell what they're going to do, a little green indicator lights up a split second in advance to give you time to prepare. In theory it's easy enough, but the reality is the controls feel sluggish and often don't react quick enough, making you vulnerable to enemy attacks. When attacking, the same process plays out, except you have to decide whether to aim high, low, lunge or whether to perform a spin attack once your special move bar is full (but it's hardly ever required). To compound the overall sense of mind numbing mediocrity, you even have an opportunity to pummel RB and LB at predetermined intervals, just in case we wanted the duels to be any less fun. In truth, the duels might look like fun when cut together in trailers and screenshots, but playing them repeatedly is about the least fun you'll have while playing a videogame. It's a bottom of the barrel exercise in cynical brand extension, and quite harrowing to play if you've got cells in your brain.

Is Orlando Bloom the least likeable actor of recent years? Discuss.

On occasion, the game switches between all the movie's main characters, with the bulk focusing on the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow - but it needn't have bothered. All the characters have the same abilities, the same weapons, and control in the exact same way, so even when you're able to cycle between three characters at once, it makes absolutely no difference. The only reason you'd do so is to stop one of them dying prematurely so that you don't have to replay that particular section from the start. In terms of imaginatively using the brand and its characters, this would get 'nil points' from the Eurovision judges. If you really want to spread the pain, then you can always replay any of the levels in split screen multiplayer (co-op or competitive, where the most kills wins). But really. Why would you do such a thing to a friend? What did they do to deserve such heartless cruelty?

It probably goes without saying that a fair bit of At World's End also involves tedious fetch quests, and achievement point-scalping collectathons. Throughout, none of this involves any more than being overly thorough and wandering around mindlessly until you've poked into every corner and opened every chest you can find. At no point does it feel like actual skill is involved. It's just a terrifyingly dull war of attrition to scoop another easy 25 points here and there. Woo, and indeed, hoo.

So, let's recap: the combat's inexcusably awful. The duelling is absolutely mind-numbingly uninspired. The platforming and exploration feel tacked-on, overly basic and adds little variety, and the fetch quests plumb new depths in their tedious pointlessness (collect seven dice? Find five mugs? Why?). And yet, despite all this, if you were to glance at the game running on a demo pod you'd swear it was fairly inoffensive and polished. At World's End has the games market to itself right now, in a quiet early summer period where most publishers are holding back the big guns for the pre-Christmas onslaught - but what we're served up with is one of the most dreadfully vacuous and uninspired movie tie-ins in recent memory. If this sounds like a recipe for a chart topping game, then you know what to do. Here's a tip, Disney: if you want to make any pirate-based games in the future, call Ron Gilbert, for the love of all that is good.

3 /10

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Read the Eurogamer.net reviews policy

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (111)

About the author

Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed


Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.


You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (111)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store