A triple review by Jeremy Hardin
– Rise of the Guardians
Developer/Publisher – Torus Games/D3 Publisher
Version – 3Ds/Wii/Wii U
Price – $29.99/$29.99/$39.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of D3 Publisher
Let your imagination soar in Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game as you play as one of the classic childhood legends, including: North (aka Santa Claus), Tooth (aka the Tooth Fairy), Bunnymund (aka the Easter Bunny), Sandman, and Jack Frost. In this action-packed adventure game, each Guardian has their own set of upgradable and extraordinary abilities that will help you take on the evil spirit “Pitch” and his infectious nightmares. Along the way, you’ll unlock new powers and spellbinding special moves that will increase your character’s strength and skills throughout the game, plus you can unleash cool team attacks with your fellow heroes. With drop-in-and-out multiplayer action supporting up to four players on consoles, you and your team of Guardians will work together to protect the hopes, beliefs and imaginations of children all over the world!
Direct from the Dreamworks film, Rise of the Guardians, players will get to experience the fight against Pitch using all 5 of the characters from the movie, including: North, Tooth, Bunnymund, Sandman, and Jack Frost.
Gameplay and Controls
Oh wow, so the premise sounds neat right? You get to play as Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman or Jack Frost. While the game sound interesting in theory, how does it perform when you put it through the paces? Well unfortunately, not too well. One of the games biggest drawbacks is how repetitive the combat is, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Players are able to take control of each of the 5 Guardians at any given time. Each Guardian has their own specific set of abilities and moves, which are upgradeable. Plus, you can also purchase gems which can be equipped to help you along the way. You will travel to each of the 5 Guardian realms and fight to regain world belief. Throughout each level you have missions to complete, and most of these missions involve destroying dozens upon dozens of Pitch’s nightmare creatures. I mentioned that the combat is repetitive and I will now explain. Each realm has the same 6 missions with varying degrees of difficulty (which is determined by the quota you need to meet.)
- Shadow Stompers – Locate and destroy all Nightmare enemy clusters.
- Protectors of Belief – Protect the Guardian’s friends from Pitch’s Nightmare enemies.
- Cage Break – Rescue the Guardian’s friends trapped in Pitch’s cages!
- Find Your Center – Collect the five nesting doll pieces in each realm.
- Gate Guardian – Reclaim the five Guardian Gates located in each realm.
- Treasure Collectors – Recover the stolen Guardians’ artifacts locked in chests!
In addition to the missions, there are also Rewards (Achievements) you unlock by completing particular missions. The problem I have is that for most of these missions you will be fighting against so many enemies, it becomes almost stale and boring. Thankfully in the Wii and Wii U versions the other 4 Guardians join in the fight as AI partners and they do a good job of helping defeat the Nightmares. Unfortunately on the 3DS you have to go at it solo. You can still switch between characters on the fly, but there are no AI helpers.
Controlling your Guardian is very simple, but I felt that the characters all moved a bit too slow for my liking. I would like to point out that you can increase their speed, but I didn’t notice a difference. Okay, so your basic attack is executed with B, while Y, A, X are assigned as your special attacks. To dodge an attack press R while moving and to block an attack hold L to create a shield in front of you.
Visuals and Sound
Across all the 3 platforms the game looks practically the same. Sure, the Wii and the Wii U are able to give us a bigger picture which allows us to see the realms, characters and enemies more clearly, but otherwise there isn’t too much of a difference. Honestly, the level designs are much of the same but with different skins. I’m exaggerating slightly here, but I hope you get my point. Sure, you’re in Santa’s workshop for one realm or on the Sandman’s ship, but they have a generic design. Run up this ramp, now down this ramp. The levels look different, but they all play out the same for the most part.
I wasn’t impressed with the static cutscenes, nor with the 3D effect which I found a bit annoying at times, due to the nightmares enemies. The music/sound effects are not anything worth remembering, but then again, neither is this game.
Concluding Overall Impressions
We know by now that most of the movie tie-in video games are not much fun and certainly won’t keep you entertained for too long. Unfortunately, this is the case with Rise of the Guardians, which suffers from repetitive and stale combat and overall gameplay. The 3DS version is the worst, while the Wii and Wii U versions aren’t that much better. At least with the Wii and Wii U, there are AI opponents to help you along the way. The Wii U version has the best graphics, but that isn’t saying much as all 3 games look practically the same. If you’re a fan of the movie, go ahead and get it. You’ll enjoy playing in the worlds you watched on the big screen. Otherwise, I’m going to say this is not worth your belief.