Ubisoft – Paramount Digital Entertainment – PS3/360 (also available on PSP/Wii/DS/3DS/PC) – Out Now
Reviewed by Juanvasquez – Videogames Editor
As much as I feel I should be excited about the Tintin movie, I just can’t seem to muster up a single iota of enthusiasm. It’s directed by Steven Speilberg, possibly the greatest movie maker of all time, produced by the genius behind Braindead and Lord of the Rings and has a cast to die for. Which in any other film, would have me queuing outside the box office weeks before hand. But it’s Tintin. I just can’t get excited! Here’s where I was hoping the videogame may change my opinion. A good game adaptation usually leaves me dying to see the movie. Whenever I play the Lego games, I find myself watching the films on which they are based soon afterwards.
Unfortunately, Tintin left me feeling colder than before. Starting off with a promising flight section, the plane you are in crashes, then the story is told in flashback. After the plane crash, you take control of Snowy, in a French market place and you have to find Tintin. This is presented in a third person perspective, but with a fixed camera, meaning when the camera angle changes the controls can get a bit messy. If you’re running to the left, the angle may change suddenly, meaning while you are still running in that direction, you end up running back on yourself when in the changed viewpoint. As snowy you can follow trails to find people and objects. These show up as footprints. Once you’ve found Tintin, you take control of him, who then follows Snowy, as he discovers the model of The Unicorn at a traders stall. He is quickly harassed by a ‘collector’ who keeps pestering Tintin to give up the model ship.
This then turns into an arena type battle where you have to fight a few thugs. Now I’m sure that in a fight between a smug little quiffed teenager and five or six thugs, Tintin would have been pummelled to the dirt. Nope, he brings the pain. Though in this game there is no killing (even though further in, enemies carry firearms), the worst that happens to you or your adversaries is a bump on the noggin and stars circling your head.
Once the market place section is over, you move onto the first of many sidescrolling platform sections. At a stately home, you have to find your way inside without alerting the guards/thugs. This leads to a section where you take control of Snowy again. You follow a rat into a cellar, where, in a section that reminds me of the previously mentioned Lego games, you use Snowy’s abilities to get through the area and find a way for Tintin to enter. Once you’re both in, you resume control of Tintin, and what follows is probably best described as a Prince of Persia style platforming section. You have to jump over holes in the ground, climb up ledges, take out enemies, spring traps and open previously locked doors. And this goes on for quite sometime. This house has a bigger basement than Wayne Manor! Once you’re in the house, the style of gameplay resumes. You’ll find these platforming sections make up the majority of the gameplay throughout. There are vehicular sections that break up the monotony of it all, however, including a motorcycle chase and revisiting the opening aeroplane section.
The PS3 and 360 versions try to utilise the motion controls compatible with each system. These are used for the challenge mode in the game. Challenge mode comprises of three modes based on segments from the game. There’s sword fighting, flying and motorcycle chase. I must say that these work exceptionally well with the Playstation Move controller, particularly the sword fighting. Unfortunately, the Kinect version is somewhat lacking in the fun department. While the vehicular controls do put the woeful Kinect Joyride to shame, they are still rather shaky. The sword fighting is less straightforward as well. Using the Move controller, attacking and blocking can be done at will. Using the Kinect, you have to wait until prompted to perform certain moves. You will also find that there are fewer missions in the Kinect version of the challenge mode due to the limitations of the device. These missions can be played using the standard controller, however.
I found Tintin to be a shallow experience with the occasional fun moment. The visual style is pretty awful, but that’s down to the film more than anything. The graphics themselves are nothing short of what’s expected for a movie tie-in, neither bad nor groundbreaking. The score appears to be lifted from the movie, but without hearing it in context, it sounds like generic John Williams. The game is improved when using the Move controller, but that’s only compatible with certain modes. It’s neither here nor there, really. It can have the odd enjoyable platforming experience, but it’s a case of rinse and repeat. I can see some people enjoying this more than others, but to it’s a bit too by the numbers for my liking, nor has it convinced me to see the movie.