WALL·E, Xbox 360 - Review

WALL·E, Xbox 360 - £28.55 delivered

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Review by LewieP

I have not yet seen the film WALL·E, and as such I will be reviewing this game entirely on it's own merit as a game. It is possible (and in fact likely) that having seeing the film before playing the licensed game would have an impact on your experience.

I do plan to go and see the film at some point though, I am doing the whole thing backwards for the benefit of the game playing public.

This review will probably contain minor spoilers.

I first booted up WALL·E to hear some pretty annoying music, so I skipped the cut scene. Then I got to the (surprisingly slick) menu system. Booted up a new game, and began my adventure. As soon as I took control of WALL·E, I moved the Analogue stick forwards. Then I got an Achievement for moving forwards. Instantly.

Off to a good start then.

I was initially fairly impressed with the animation of the titular character, his caterpillar tracks look and move just right. It's a shame the environments don't hold up so well. At best, there is some really impressive things going on with the physics, on a pretty large scale too, but at worst there is bland, repeated objects and textures all over the place. The bad outweighs the good. On the surface it looks pretty, but the animation, destructibility and up close textures let the whole package down.

The first level or so is fairly easy platforming challenges, involving thowing cubes, hitting switched, and avoiding falling to your doom. Whenever you do die (which is more likely going to be because the camera lets you down than the gameplay challenge) you will respawn pretty close to where you were, no lives system to worry about. There are lots of collectible trinkets strewn over the place, including some 'oh so subtle' references to previous Pixar films (Is Toy Story really 13 years old? blimey!), which unlock bonus content, including multiplayer maps.

After a while, I bumped into this iPod looking flying Robot called EVE. I took control of her, which was not only a much needed change of pace, but it was pretty damn fun. The EVE sections of the game are like a Rogue Squadre-lite with next gen pretties smeared over it. It's a real shame that they didn't give you more freedom as EVE, but you are constantly being intterupted with cut-scenes and timers, so you never feel like you can enjoy it to it's full extent. Hat's off for the homage to the Death Star Exhuast run from Return of the Jedi though, that was ace. It was around this mark that I realised how good all of the in game music was. Crank it up to 11 and you will hear some really great ambient music.

For the first half of the game, there is no enemies, it's just you VS. the environment, and it really would have been a lot better had it stayed that way. In the second half, they introduce a range of enemies, and the combat is pedesrtian at best. Hammer the right trigger til either they or you die. Luckilly the AI is bad enough that you can often position yourself somewhere that it can't 'see' you, and you can take them off from a distance, without them even noticing you. At the turning point, there is a boss battle which had me laughing for all the wrong reasons. You don't actually fight it, just jump into a nearby wall untill it dies. Seriously.

WALL·E underperforms on a technical level. Nothing approaching game-breaking, but it definitely shows itself up in a few key areas. The framerate is pretty ropey, the controls never quite feel spot on, there are invisible walls all over the place, the camera stuggles at times.

It also managed to crash my 360 once, I hope it's not early onset red ring.

If you can see past these kind of troubles, the kind of troubles that often come from an underdeveloped licensed game, then there is fair amount of enjoyment to be had out of WALL·E.

WALL·E on the Xbox 360 is a pretty serviceable, but by no means spectacular, 3D platformer. It has just enough new and interesting elements to keep your attention to completetion, and it retreads just enough familiar ground to be instantly accessible. Keen gamers will be able to burn through the main game in around 6/7 hours, but others in the target audience will probably take longer. The bottom line is, I imagine for most people reading this, there are many far better gaming investments to be had this summer, and this should be pretty far down the list for serious gamers.

However, and this is probably what you expected as soon as you clicked on this review, if you are looking for a "my first platformer" for a younger child who they enjoyed the film, then you could do a lot worse than this, although only if they have already played LEGO Star Wars.

WALL·E, Xbox 360 - £28.55 delivered