Platform: PlayStation 2
Developer – Asobo Studio
Publisher - THQ
PS2 memory card/ 109KB
Analog control/ Vibration function
Dolby Pro Logic 2
What if mankind had to leave Earth due to huge amounts of litter? And what if somebody forgot to turn the last robot off whose purpose was to clean the piles and piles of garbage? Well Disney Pixar has released just such a movie with this premise. WALL•E hit the big screens just over a week ago and all the reviews out there indicate that they have another hit on their hands. Well THQ, who has partnered up with Disney Pixar in the past, has done so again by releasing a videogame version of WALL•E for every videogame platform out there. I got some playtime with the PS2 version and after sitting down and playing it I was surprised that I actually had some fun with it.
Surprisingly what players will find with WALL•E is a title that looks almost as good as the current-gen versions. The game obviously won’t look as good as the Xbox 360 or PS3 games just because of the horsepower difference, but I must say the PS2 actually does a remarkable job in displaying an incredibly good looking game. The characters are very well represented with most of them looking and animating like their big screen counterparts. I also thought that the little touches were nice to see as well. Stuff like sudden wisps of dust flying up, or sparks shooting around, or even the well-defined explosions really added to the visuals.
Technically speaking, in a game of this nature the camera system can be a bit cumbersome and touchy. However in WALL•E you will find that fighting with the camera is really a non-issue and that the action is pretty well framed for players to accomplish their goals easily. What's more surprising is that there is very little flicker to be seen and the amount of screen tearing or clipping is kept down to a minimum. Mind you the framerate does drop sometimes throughout the game, but it really doesn’t affect the overall visual impact.
On the downside it was tough to watch the game at a much lower resolution then games on the Xbox 360 or PS3. However with some extended gameplay this feeling pretty much disappears. The other thing that was a bit of a let down was the presence of weaker textures here and there, and some bland environments, but overall the presentation of the title is quite strong.
One of the games highlights for me was the sound and voices. The characters from the movie are spot on for voices and sounds in the game. WALL•E’s various sounds and bleeps are all here along with EVE’s rocket booster. The PS2 version of the game is encoded in Dolby Pro Logic 2 so everything in the game is crisp and clear sounding. The game’s music is pretty good as well as it matched the games sometimes scurrying levels to a tee. However I did find it a bit repetitious the farther I delved into the game. I could only toggle two music choices to play from, and I was slightly disappointed I could not find more.
For the most part, Wall-E follows the plot of the movie, with Earth's population having been evacuated the planet due to overwhelming levels of trash and other waste by-products. Remaining behind are robots that are tasked with collecting and cleaning the world from top to bottom so that one day people can live on its surface once WALL•E again. After 700 years only one robot remains, and that is WALL•E. He is all alone and he continues to dutifully carry out his job as best he can. On one of those regular days a ship lands on Earth. Being inquisitive he goes to take a look and sees that the ship deploys a robot named EVE, whose task is to search for life on Earth. WALL•E soon falls in love with EVE and follows her into space and the adventure of WALL•E’s life begins.
The games first few stages really let the gamer get the feel of the buttons and control factor throughout the game. WALL•E has 27 stages which to control WALL•E through. I found none of them to be very difficult as the control scheme is pretty straightforward and easy to learn. The majority of the game involves using WALL•E’s trash compacting abilities to form cubes. You will solve a lot, and I do mean a lot, of puzzles using cubes that are the necessary for you to advance (e.g. magnetic, electric or standard) in the game. Some of the puzzles along the way can be a bit tough to solve but shouldn’t pose huge obstacles to anyone in the long run. Some of the stages are quite short in nature too as they usually consist of a type of downhill race where you must find the boxes to continue. I did find I had to re-do some of these as WALL•E races along too quickly at times to properly pick up the boxes or energy bars. If any negative really stuck out here it was the lack of checkpoints in longer levels. I can’t remember how many times I got two-thirds the way through a level only to die and start again from the start.
The level designs in the game are pretty cool and inventive. Some have WALL•E traversing multiple tiered platforms high into the air. Do this carefully though as the analog thumb stick can be a bit touchy in these areas. I fell to an untimely death a few times due to the fairly sensitive nature of the analog stick. I had my four year old son give the game a try. He actually got a huge laugh out of most of the game, but falling from huge heights elicited great amounts of howling and screaming in uncontrollable fits laughter.
The game has no online capabilities, but up to 4 people can play on one screen. The game is a bit tough to look at in this mode, but it still remained pretty fun. I was also very impressed with the games loading times as well. Some PS2 titles can take forever to load up, but after the initial load up WALL•E is quite consistently short in any further load up times.
WALL•E also has some unlockables when you finish certain points in the game. As you finish each stage for example, you will unlock that stages cut-scenes such as an intro or ending clip. You can also collect points to unlock pictures, artwork and bonus material. While this seems to be huge amount of stuff to work through, the game is fairly easy making the journey not nearly as long as I would have liked. The game clocks in at around 12-15 hours to finish which for kids on summer holidays is not a great deal of time. Finding the extra unlockable material will take a fair amount of time but I am not sure it would entice and capture most to take the time to do so.
Continue to Page 2