A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although not particularly graphic, this console game version is nonetheless steeped in violence on a grand scale. Game goals sometimes include killing a certain number of foes in order to trigger the next event. The characters fight with medieval weapons including swords, daggers and maces. This is the review of the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Windows, and Xbox 360 version; the DS version is a totally separate game and has its own separate review.
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What's it about?
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN is a tie-in to the recent movie of the same name, which is in turn inspired by the fantasy universe of author C.S. Lewis. Actual movie footage serves to move the game's narrative forward -- such that it is. Essentially, however, the game is just a prolonged brawl on a massive scale that pits the four Pevensie children, Caspian, and various Narnian characters against endless waves of Telmarine soldiers commanded by Caspian's evil uncle Miraz.
Players will find themselves in squad-based combat where they can re-enact the encounters of the film, including defending Cair Paravel in the prologue, battling Miraz's armies, and finally storming Miraz's castle to rescue Caspian's tutor Cornelius. You can switch between companions at any time, otherwise they'll trail behind automatically. A second player can take control of one of these companions because the game offers a drop-in, drop-out two- player option.
Is it any good?
The hack n' slash gameplay is uninspired and reduces the subtle magic of Narnia to a soulless and repetitive experience. Controls are unrefined, making simple tasks like picking up objects or wielding a grappling hook more arduous than they should me. Even opening a simple chest involves pointlessly mashing the A button. Furthermore, the missions often don't make logical sense, like having to find missing lever pieces over and over again in order to open doors, luring bears into traps that are conveniently placed at regular intervals throughout the forest, or dodging killer bats in a cave to find a grappling hook that's been left in a chest. While the movie footage and co-operative play might be enough to appease Narnia fans, there's nothing otherwise noteworthy or compelling about this title.
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