July 20, 2012
The advent of motion controls is certainly an interesting evolution in gaming history but it also seems to have given rise to a new species of game development. The inexplicably bad movie tie in. Oh sure, there have been plenty of shoddily produced movie games thrown out there to date, but when you add badly implemented motion controls into the mix and it just gets that much worse. Strap on some strong underwear and wade into crap-filled waters with me – because Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games almost makes me wish there was another ice age to bury ever copy of this game.
As soon as the game loads up and you see some shoddily animated representations of your favourite CGI pals wander on screen then you know you're in for a tough time. The fact that the visuals don’t even look like the films they are supposedly based on is telling enough, and the content after that point hardly picks up either. In truth the game feels like it has been thrown together in a remarkably short period of time (chances are it was) and does absolutely nothing to make itself feel like anything other than a shameless cash in.
The supposed premise of the game sees our familiar herd facing off against a ragtag bunch of pirates. Quite why animals would feel the need to be pirates is another matter entirely, but perhaps the series has become that desperate for ideas that it made sense. Suspending our disbelief to the point that talking animals forming a pirate style squad makes sense, then it's easy to believe that the two groups would be squabbling over some treasure. With said treasure being a big pile of fruit apparently. So how to get their hands on this unimaginable booty? Why through a series of competitive mini-games of course.
The games themselves are pretty much bog standard fare that most people will have probably stumbled across in other, superior collections in the past. A bit of curling, some trick ski-jumping, plugging water leaks and bouncing along trampolines to a finish line are just a few of the activities on offer. Pretty much all of them are bland and more than a few are amazingly unfair to boot. You could see past the terrible presentation if any of the challenges on offer were at least well done, but sadly that is hardly the case. Instead you get to traipse through the whole shebang in about half an hour should you so wish.
Playing through the story will see you rewarded with ‘hilarious’ cutscenes after each round, which vary depending on whether you win or lose. Though the actual odds of you losing are slim to none, even given the fact you get rather ambiguous instructions before each round which are never repeated at any point. It’s only the random nature of the game design and the poorly implemented motion controls that will provide any kind of impediment to your progress if truth be told.
The motion controls are pretty appalling if truth be told and even though you can play through every game within an hour there is absolutely zero motivation to ever, ever, do so again. Even kids will quickly get tired of the insipid events, terrible animation and almost lazy voicework. If this is the new standard of movie games then the bar has hit a spectacular new low. In fact such is the brevity of the content on offer that it is hard to imagine who this game is designed to appeal to at all.
Gluttons for punishment could spend time acing the story mode and then going for gold medals in the same few events but in glorious Freeplay. The rewards for that effort will be a bunch of achievements but a total loss of all sanity and entertainment. In fact the only real reason for anyone to suffer through this game more than once would be if they had the audacity to snag all of the points on offer. Good luck to those brave few.
Most Ice Age titles have been decidedly average to date, but this title is easily the worst of them all. It has pretty much no redeeming features and the slight enjoyment gleaned from any of the mini-games is swiftly quashed by the next insipid joke or quirk of the control scheme. Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games is a game that helps to undo all of the great things the motion control has brought to our generation, but even if you played it with a controller it would still be one of the worst games of recent times. Movie tie-ins have a bad reputation for a reason, and this game practically is that very reason.
Tired voicework and rubbish music combine to unholy effect. Yes, it’s enough to make your ears bleed.
Sub-par is being nice, and the graphics are frankly appalling even in comparison to some last generation titles.
None of the games are especially fun, and even when you do enjoy a particular challenge you won’t feel the slightest compunction to go for round two.
An insult to the film series and pretty much a shameless cash in if truth be told. It doesn’t deliver on any level.
Play through the story, get gold on all the games in Freeplay and complete a few oddments along the way. Bog standard stuff for a bog standard game.
Avoid this game at all costs. Assuming you own a Kinect then you will have received a better compilation in the form of Kinect Adventures than anything this game has to offer. Heck, Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games is probably worse than the worst title you already own – so why punish yourself?