Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Number of Players: 1-4
Required Hard Disk Space: At Least 776 KB
Supported HD Video Output: 720p and 1080i
On WALL•E’s opening weekend, Editor-in-Chief Kirby Y and I took our daughters to see the computer animated flick at one of our local theatres. While the kids are still a little too young to fully appreciate the movie, us dads were quite impressed. Pixar has yet again has delivered a great looking movie, and as usual the storyline sucks you right in. Having recently reviewed WALL•E for the DS I was very curious to see how my daughter’s favorite robot made the jump from handheld to next-generation console. While the DS version is best described as average, the PS3 version did not fair much better. It certainly has its strong points, however at the end of the day it is hard to justify paying the full price tag for WALL•E on the PS3.
Overall, the visuals in WALL•E for the PS3 are a bit of a ‘mixed bag’. On one hand, some the games visuals, including the character animations, are very slick. On the other hand though the games environments are rather dull and some of the technical glitches will leave you shaking your head.
On the positive side, our main hero WALL•E is very recognizable and looks good in High Definition. His box-like shape and human like expressions are bang on. Needless to say, WALL•E on the PS3 is significant upgrade over his handheld counterpart. EVE also looks very good and is very recognizable too as she has that sleek look and modern day shine to her. I also enjoyed many of the cut-scenes as the game essentially follows the same storyline as the movie. As you progress through the game you are interrupted with slick looking cut-scenes reliving some of the best moments found in the movie. Overall, the scenes are rendered quite well and I did not have any major issues with them.
On the downside, WALL•E does not appear to maximize the hardware of the PS3. In fact, given the abundance of technical issues and glitches, many would argue that WALL•E is more last-gen than next-gen. Framerate issues really stood out for me as the game takes a hit far too often. There was also an abundance of clipping where objects would be suspended half-way into another object. Also, during some of those sequences where Eve is racing through tunnels, she mysteriously cuts right through some large obstacles while other large objects prevent her from going forward. It is this inconsistency that leaves me wondering whether the developers were rushing this one out the door in order to meet the movie’s release date. Regardless these technical issues managed to provide quite annoyance and they were quite noticeable when playing the game.
The games environments are also a bit of a concern as they too could have used a little more time in the shop. For the most part they are very basic looking and bland. They were also somewhat grainy, including the textures that were used to make them up. Some areas look better than others, but for the most part WALL•E is not a very colorful game. Nonetheless, for those that have seen the movie, the maps and environments do effectively mirror those environments seen on the big screen.
Overall the audio in WALL•E is good but certainly not great. For starters, especially for those that have seen the movie, there is no doubt you will recognize the voices in the game as WALL•E, EVE and all the supporting characters sound like those on the big screen. Granted WALL•E does not say much, and it may not sound nearly as good as what you would hear in a theater, but the game does a good job of reproducing the sound of the movie. My five year old daughter recognized the games character voices immediately. As for the other sound effects, such as WALL•E’s crushing of trash or falling off a ledge, they manage to do the job and sound solid in 5.1 surround sound.
The games soundtrack is a nice compliment to the movie only in part. In other words, those catchy tunes from the movie are included in the game but they tirelessly loop over and over. Even hours after the game, all I could hear was the same music playing over and over again. In the end I would say the whole audio package is solid enough, but there is room for improvement.
For those who have not seen the movie, and want to know a bit about what the game is based upon, let me explain. WALL•E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) is one of a series of robots who were designed to clean up all the trash that have humans created. Humans have since left the planet in order to allow all these robots to clean up the mess. Well, without ruining the plot, WALL•E is the only robot left cleaning up. After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL•E discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. WALL•E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets into motion one of the most exciting and imaginative comedy adventures ever brought to the big screen. Joining WALL•E on his fantastic journey across a universe of never-before-imagined visions of the future, is a hilarious cast of characters including a pet cockroach, and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots. Having seen WALL•E on the big screen, the game's storyline very much follows the actual story of the movie, but it also expands the storyline in other ways.
Overall there are nine worlds for you to explore in WALL•E for the PS3. These nine worlds are based on, and inspired from, the environments found in the motion picture They do a great job of bringing the movie to life to the PS3 and as I played through the various missions in the game it very much brought me back to the flick that I had just seen not that long ago. There is no doubt that Heavy Iron Studios worked in conjunction with Pixar to get the feel of the movie incorporated into the game. In terms of length the game should take you somewhere between 8-11 hours to complete which is acceptable for any movie based game.
In simple terms, WALL•E for the PS3 is essentially an adventure based puzzle game. In Tomb Raider type fashion WALL•E, and eventually EVE, must get from point A to point B using their abilities and the environment around them. As he does in the movie, WALL•E can pick up items, place them in his belly, and spit them back out in a nice square and compact manner. You will use these cubes for various actions in the game.
The controls are very easy to pick-up and the game contains icons scattered throughout the level. These icons gives you tips on how to use the various controls and how to use some of the destructible environments to your favor. However, these controls are not without issues. On one hand, while WALL•E is easy to control he can be a little too boring at times as he is limited in what he can do, especially when compared to EVE. For instance, WALL•E can’t jump very high and there is no turbo button for him to speed up. EVE on the other hand can fly and twirl around which makes her so much more enjoyable playing around the levels with her.
The camera controls and camera angles are a bit of a mess as well. You simply do not have the kind of control over the camera that you should in a game like this. Often you will have to make a leap of faith as you have no idea what you are jumping into because you cannot see over the ledge as the game won't allow you to do so.
Another concern I had with the game is that WALL•E’s missions are quite linear. There is not much room for exploration. I would have preferred a more open feel to the game’s environments. On the other hand, the developers did do a formidable job with the layouts of each level and often it took some time for me to figure out the ideal way to make it to the next area. This helped the length of the game as it added a slight, but not overbearing, challenge. Younger gamers may have difficulty with some of puzzling areas; however most gamers should not have a problem breezing through the game’s levels.
WALL•E for the PS3 also includes four multiplayer modes. These four modes include Stop the Clocks, EVE Aerial Arena, Robot Tag and Keep the Cube. Stop the Clocks is arguably the best of the modes as you can play co-op with WALL•E and Eve as you attempt to disarm timers scattered around each level. EVE Aerial Arena and Robot Tag are essentially deathmatch modes. Finally, Keep the Cube is all about holding on to the cube the longest. All in all the games are ok, but they do seem a little tacked on. Regardless though, it was good to see them try to add some further playability to the game and the younger ones may even really enjoy them.
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