The Spiderwick Chronicles Game Review
Movie licensed games have an uncanny ability to take a well done concept and then kill it with poor gameplay. I was hoping that it was getting better, with the fact that Beowulf was a pretty good execution of a videogame from a movie. Unfortunately, Spiderwick Chronicles falls into the category of titles that feel rushed along with the hope it sells based on the movies success. The characters are modeled after their movie likenesses, and some of the actual film is used to move the plot forward instead of cut scenes, which may appeal to fans, but everyone else may find it a predictably uninventive adventure that controls your every move and is not just slightly linear, but extremely linear.
There is not too much to say about character control really, I found the camera to be annoying and difficult to control. Constantly having to adjust the view really interrupts the whole experience. The other thing I really did not like was that I could not pick anything up in the first level unless I was supposed to at that time – for that specific quest part I was on at that given moment. Oh, no that would make too much sense, and totally give me an unfair advantage in the game. Not to mention it would pretty much allow me to skip all that backtracking, which by the way, almost seems to be featured gameplay element. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing this ingredient you know you will need, you can examine it, you can read in about it in your little book that it is needed for a recipe, yet you cannot pick it up until the exact moment that you need it for the linear play.
You get to play the two brothers (twins) and the sister. You can also play the brownie for like two missions. The brownie’s quests are extremely simple 3D platformer, but it’s fast and focused. Plus, you get to hear the little guy narrate his action in rhyming couplets. These few quests are actually done very well.
The combat, much like most of the aspects of the game, had room for more variety. It only delivers a repetitive smash of the attack button (on the Wii version you swing your mote or simply hit A). By upgrading, you unlock multi-hit combos and the ability to use your charge attack more often, but nothing that actually advances the combat. Even the weapons at your disposal like the gun (juicer), baseball bat and sword, are different in name only.
You will most likely beat the whole game in about five hours; however, there is actually a component that will compel you to revisit the game: the challenge of completing the side quests to collect this or kill number of that. As a small bonus, completing some of the side quests will open up a “multiplayer mode,” this mode is you and a bud to compete to capture the most fairies while goblins harass you.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is a standard movie licensed game that feels like it was rushed into production or was even given a greenlight at the last moment. But, that entire issue aside, I think that game will actually appeal to the audience it is intended for, 8 – 14 year old kids that really liked the movie, and that is why it scores better than some other movie based games.