Another movie title makes it to the gaming industry, and I figured a review was in order since the DVD is coming out. If you haven’t heard of either, here’s a short summary of what this game offers:

Summon the courage to fight fate and change your destiny in this game based on the Disney/Pixar film. Bravely battle to lift a magical curse as you follow the story from the movie or go beyond in storylines sprung from Scottish mythology. Fearlessly face enemies with your sword or bow and arrow. Play as other characters from the film and use their skills to overcome specific challenges as you uncover mysteries and break the curse. Compete in archery mini-games, have a friend join as a Will ‘o the Wisp in co-op play, and more.

Overview

It’s at least one of the better movie titles since most of them are rushed anyway, but this is one of the “Better with Kinect” titles, and unfortunately it’s not. A controller is used throughout everything except a small afterthought. For the game itself, it’s not too bad.

The Menu

The menu is short and sweet. You will have to use a controller for all of it however. It begins with Continue, New Game, Options, Extras and Archery Range. As always, I’ll cover each.

Continue/New Game

This is the main story mode of the game, actually the only type of game you can play. For those that have seen the movie, this really doesn’t follow it but I prefer these ones to the actual movie games that follow them as it’s not really any fun to play something you’ve already seen. Anyhow, the story kind of alternates on what happened to the big evil bear, mordu or whatever his name is, and it’s basically the scene where the girl and the mother are in the woods with her mom as a bear, except it’s really extended and a different ending to the evil bear overrides what really happened, but the actual story ending remains the same and is told in a comic book style.

Anyhow, the game is different, you run around with the left stick, shoot arrows with the right stick in any direction. You also have sword attacks and special attacks with your bow or sword. The game is based on the 4 elements, Earth, Fire, Wind and Ice. The enemies are vulnerable to one of the elements so you have to switch around your element arrows in order to kill them quickly. When you kill so many in a row, you start to get a kill streak and wisps will start circling you. They enhance a critical hit and basically hit the enemy with lighting for extra damage. Just a quick note, you can also play co-op and the wisps are controlled by the second player.

There’s only 8 levels in the main story mode, but some of them take a while. Everything is pretty much based in forests, castles, caves and frozen areas so there’s not too much variety to the levels but it still makes it interesting. In some areas, you will run into puzzles that you have to use the 3 little brothers for in order to solve it and continue on your quest. They aren’t overly challenging but some may take you a minute to figure them out. During your adventure, you also pick up some unlockables.

These include Equipment upgrades (there are 7 swords, 7 bows and 5 outfits to find and unlock) – the weapons increase your damage with each upgrade. There are also tapestries laying about that you can find. They are in pieces so you once you complete one, you get an added bonus of whatever that tapestry does. There are 3 main ones which are, Valor increases your health, Ferocity increases your damage and Battle increases your Power shots. Power shots are a ball of liquid that you fill up and you basically go into a frenzy once activated and shoot arrows like crazy and cause extra damage.

There is a currency system in the game that lets you earn money from enemies and objects in the world that you destroy. You can use the currency in order to unlock special upgrades. There are 36 total, but half are split for your wisp as they cause damage also. Some things include increase your coin collection radius, or potions are worth more health. Some items are upgradeable to a 3rd level as well so there are lots to spend your money on. There is also a charged shot that you can unlock which when you hold the right trigger, you charge up a shot and it does some extra damage or special things. Ice charged shots will actually freeze your enemy in place. Anyhow, it’s these little neat things that make the game unique. That is pretty much the entire game though, you battle some bosses throughout and the end has lots of bosses. I did play on the hardest difficulty, and for a Disney game, it took me a few days to get through the entire game. I’m not sure if kids will even bother with the higher difficulty levels.

I did a very short run through of the first level so you can get an idea of how the game plays below:

Options

The options are fairly basic which includes the Controls, Sound FX and Music volumes and the Difficulty levels. There are 4 ranging from Easy, Medium, Hard and Brave. Like I mentioned though, Brave is actually quite difficult so I’m not sure if it was put in there for the adults, which I didn’t mind, a good challenge is welcomed here and there especially for these types of games. You will get frustrated with certain sections.

Extras

The extras just consist of Concept Art which you unlock by completing each level, an Input Code option which I’m not sure what it’s for and the Credits.

Archery Range

This is the last-minute Kinect add-on. It doesn’t make the game any better, it’s actually quite bad compared to Cabela’s Adventure Camp archery. It’s split into 3 sections, Quiver Limit, Survival and Quick Draw. Any coins you earn here are transferred over into the main game so you can use them for unlocks, but to be honest, you’ll earn coins faster playing the normal game. Basically there are 3 steps to shooting, stand with one arm out, use your other hand to load an arrow, (they don’t tell you this, but I found when you draw back as you were shooting a real bow, it does zoom in) and then flick your shooting hand to the side to release, it does work for the most part but it’s quirky and these mini-games are quite dull.

Quiver Limit

Basically you have a set number of shots in order to win a gold. There are 5 different levels, yet they all seem the same. If you miss one shot, you don’t get a gold. It’s that plain and simple that I made a video of how it plays:

Survival

This mode is same style, just unlimited amount of arrows and it’s wave after wave of slow-moving wood targets. There’s really no excitement here, judge for yourself:

Quick Draw

You are supposed to be fast and hit them as fast as you can. This one also consists of 5 levels. It’s really another dull mini-game, see for yourself:

Conclusion

The game itself isn’t too bad, I’m not sure fans of the movie will want this game but there’s always a possibility. The one thing that drove me nuts is the camera. It auto-rotates for you and stays way zoomed out for the majority of the time. I have a 50″ and the character will still be very small on it. I would have appreciated a manual camera control put in but you have to live with it. There’s really not much else to conclude about this one unfortunately. As for the “Better with Kinect”, that’s just a flat-out lie. The Kinect portion is a lazy add-on that doesn’t always work and it’s not really fun, so I’ll leave this one up for you to decide.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Brave: The Video Game
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