Rango Xbox 360
Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Behavior Studios
Rango is kind of a strange western movie where the main character is a chameleon and the other characters are all animals ranging from rodents to lizards. It's a strange scenario to be sure but it's an enjoyable one. Of course an enjoyable movie by no means guarantees that a game based on that movie will be enjoyable. Many such games have turned out to be utter disappointments. Thankfully, Rango, the game, is by no means a disappointment and should satisfy those who want to experience more of the movie's crazy characters.
The game isn't based on the events of the movie but you will find the movie’s characters here. The storyline is a set of tales, featuring Bad Bill and Rattlesnake Jake, which Rango is telling to the patrons of the local saloon. You'll get to play through these tales as Rango in this action adventure which offers a surprising amount of variety. You'll find yourself engaging in mounted, ranged and melee combat, rail grinding, climbing chicken wire, navigating moving trains whilst enemies are out to get you, doing a spot of mining and engaging in boss fights. The scenery for the most part is predictable given the Wild West setting of the storyline but later in the game there's a bizarre twist with the visual style and there are zombies to battle too.
Rango is a game that's squarely aimed at younger children. The combat is forgiving and auto-aiming ensures that picking off enemies from a distance with Rango's guns won't cause anyone any problems. The melee combat is a little more challenging but it certainly won't pose any difficulty for most. You can manual aim too, if you wish (by holding down the LB button) and there are a few occasions when it's beneficial to do so. Checkpoints are scattered around liberally so if you ever do come unstuck there's never much to redo. At specific times during the tales, Rango will obtain a special bullet that you'll have to steer to hit a succession of targets. This isn't a difficult task in itself, but you may find yourself taking a couple of attempts at these parts as it isn't always obvious where the first targets are placed. This isn't a problem however as you are given as many attempts as you need to get it right.
During the course of the game you'll earn sheriff stars. You'll earn these by smashing objects, mining and defeating enemies. You'll want to collect as many sheriff stars as you can as they are used to upgrade Rango's abilities. Finishing enemies off in quick succession will perform streaks and for these you'll gain an increased amount of sheriff stars. You can upgrade the range of the auto-lock feature, the damage area of a slam attack, the speed at which you can use a charged attack, the reload speed of Rango’s gun, the number of shots in his gun and many more things. What I really like about the upgrades is that you can purchase those to suit your preferred style of play. Prefer to attack from range? You'll want to pick the upgrades that enhance your ability to pick enemies off from a distance. Likewise you'll want to improve your melee attacks and choose the upgrades that will earn you more sheriff stars from melee attacks if you prefer to use Rango's fists as a means of defeating the enemies. In addition to earning sheriff stars, you'll also unlock concept character art and character bios.
Visually there is little to complain about and the game looks quite good. The look of the characters and the various environments manages to do a good job of capturing the essence of the movie. The camera is generally well behaved, although there are a few occasions where performing a jump can prove a little awkward because you're unable to get an ideal view. The frame rate remains smooth throughout which is certainly appreciated.
Whilst Rango does have subtitles and they are enabled by default, the game isn't fully subtitled and deaf gamers are going to miss out on a lot of dialogue. The game's cut scene dialogue is subtitled but there are no character names or portraits to make it crystal clear who is saying what. Some of the subtitles disappear a little too quickly, not giving slower readers time to read them. Dialogue given during the course of the tales isn't subtitled and whilst this doesn't make the game unplayable, it does rob deaf gamers of most of the game's humour. There are no captions in the game. During the course of the game you'll come across plenty of electrocuted chicken wire. You'll have to deactivate the electricity but this is only temporary as the electricity supply eventually resumes. Hearing gamers will hear the flow of electricity resume and be aware that they must get off the chicken wire or risk being fried. Deaf gamers will have no such luxury however and it's a real shame that no timer was displayed to show how much time remained before the electricity flow recommenced. Tutorial information is given visually and it's always clear what needs to be done but on the whole you'd have to say that the game could have been much better for deaf gamers.
Rango is one of those rare movie-inspired games that manages to be enjoyable. The developers have to be commended for putting so much variety into the game and younger gamers in particular will enjoy what the game has to offer. Taking around only five to six hours to complete (it may take a younger child longer), the game is a little disappointing but the ability to redo any of the tales that you've already completed is certainly welcome. For those who've enjoyed the movie and want more of the rather unusual Rango universe, the game should definitely do the trick. It is a shame the game isn't fully subtitled however.