Pixar’s film “Brave” was met by critics with pretty ho-hum reviews. Most thought the film was all right, but nowhere near the standards of the studio’s films before “Cars 2.”
It’s possible you found yourself agreeing with the critics, and even felt a bit worried that “Brave” was a sign that the studio you loved was becoming complacent, maybe even disinterested in its adoring audience. If that was you, Pixar wants you to worry no more.
“Brave,” the latest Pixar offering for PS3, proves that things could have been much worse for the summer blockbuster. By releasing “Brave” the game, Pixar has said to the world while pointing to its latest offering, “Look, things could be as bad as this game, and they’re not, so keep watching our movies.”
And if you’re willing to view “Brave” for PS3 in that light, then “Brave” is a monumental achievement.
However, if you’ve rented or purchased the game with the hopes of enjoying some R&R with a “Robin Hood” like adventure, or even some story-driven role playing tale, you’re definitely shaking your head now wishing you’d given your hard earned cash to almost any other leisurely activity our electronic universe has to offer.
Tied closely to the film, and if you haven’t seen the movie yet go ahead and skip the next two paragraphs, “Brave” follows the spirited Merida as she hacks, shoots and charms her way through an enchanted forest, hoping to reverse the curse she accidentally placed on her mother.
Now a bear, Merida’s mother, Elinor, steps in to help the young lass when a level requires more muscle, but otherwise keeps her appearances to cut scenes and background animations as her daughter follows her deeper into the woods.
Laid out like a lazy hybrid from the original “Legend of Zelda” and Genesis’ “Golden Axe,” the top-down scroller often endures jittery dropped frame-rates, and not because of demanding graphics. In fact, while a few of the backgrounds are pretty to look at, and occasionally an enemy shows up that looks like someone had fun designing it, for the most part “Brave” suffers from an especially boring environment.
Running from level to level with an unlimited arsenal of arrows, Merida collects money that she can use to power up her attacks and obtain elemental powers to ward off a diverse range of threatening foes. Upon completing a level, Merida’s three brothers show up to help her unlock a simple puzzle, and then it’s back to firing your arrows through another forest adventure.
If you choose to play multi-player, easily the weakest aspect of the game, one additional player can join the fray as a blue wisp. The second player will quickly get bored, however, as the wisp cannot die, at least, not in a way that affects the game. If Merida dies, however, you’re both done for.
If you have the PS3 move accessories, Pixar has included one of the worst mini-games in mini-game history. Toying with players, the game appears to be a fun archery game, much like the well designed setup in “Sports Champion,” but with no calibration or visual feedback verifying the moves you’re making are in fact correct ones, the game feels clumsy and was probably only added to pad an anorexic game menu.
With almost no replay value, and hardly any reason to finish the game in the first place, “Brave’s” only saving light comes from its charming voice acting. Disney was wise to bring Kelly Macdonald back for the virtual adventure, but not even her adorable charm is enough to recommend this game to anyone over the age of 6.
If you’re looking for something to kill a few summer days with, note that “Brave” is working hard to be listed among 2012’s worst titles. However, if you’re one of those cool families that has a gaming system in the back of your SUV, and you have a 6-year-old who needs to be entertained for a cross-country trip, this game should keep the little one quiet — but mostly because nothing exciting happens.
Overall — One star
Graphics — Two stars
Replay value — One star
Sound — Three stars
Game play — Three stars
You can contact Travis Poppleton at TSPoppleton@gmail.com.