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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest PSP

Published by Buena Vista Games
Developed by Amaze Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, an introduction.

With the new movie running at a cinema near you it's no surprise that a game based on the movie has dropped on the game store shelves just in time to take full advantage. As we all know games that are released to tie-in with movies seldom manage to be anything special and it's doubtful that anyone might have expected Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to have been one of the better PSP games released this year. That said though we always live in hope that we are to be pleasantly surprised and the multiplayer component of Dead Man's Chest certainly manages to offer that pleasant surprise.

What's the game about?

Dead Man's Chest is loosely based on the new movie and in fact it will make more sense in places if you have seen the movie. You'll get to play as Captain Jack Sparrow who at the beginning of the game is sitting in a prison cell. Jack is reminded that he owes a blood debt to Davy Jones. The agreement was, according to Davy Jones, that Jack would be captain of the Black Pearl for 13 years in exchange for 100 years of servitude to him and that now Jack has been captain for 13 years it's time for the 100 years of servitude to start. Jack, on the other hand, believes the agreement was the other way around (100 years as captain for 13 years of servitude). Suffice to say that Jack's going to have to escape from imprisonment and get out of the pact he made with Davy Jones. As well as the single-player game the game also features an ad hoc multiplayer mode for up to four players.

What's good about the game?

Strangely enough the multiplayer is the best part of the game. The single-player game isn't a total disaster and having to press the required buttons during combat (signified by button icons appearing above your enemy's head) is certainly better than the button bashing you have to contend with in most games. The game's multiplayer component (which is a separate game in itself) involves having ship battles with up to three other players in ad hoc mode. You can play the game against AI opponents if you wish but you will also be able to play against any of your friends who own a PSP. Thanks to the game supporting Game Sharing your friends won't even need to own a copy of the game which is certainly good news. The battle types on offer are Last Man Standing, Timed, Deathmatch and Plunder the Flag. There are three different types of ammunition and five different ships. Once you've fully completed the game you'll also have access to The Black Pearl. There are several ship upgrades and power-ups to find. It's fair to say that the multiplayer in Dead Man's Chest is one of the better multiplayer experiences on the PSP, which makes the rather disappointing single-player game all the more unfortunate.

What's not so good about the game?

Dead Man's Chest manages to make the same mistakes countless other action games have made before. The whole thing is just far too repetitive and you're essentially doing the same things over and over again such as climbing ropes, collecting treasure map pieces, setting powder kegs ablaze and fighting enemies. The combat grows old very quickly. Even the power moves don't manage to liven up the proceedings. There's just not enough variation here to keep you interested for long. The game camera is as poorly behaved as can be and you constantly have to use the L & R buttons to compensate for its wayward nature. On top of all that you have the disappointment that the game doesn't actually last that long and you'll do well to get 6 hours from the single-player game, which is rather disappointing for the princely sum of £29.99.

How does it look?

The quality of the graphics is probably the highlight of the game and the presentation of the game as a whole is fine. The various environments within the game and the character models (many of your enemies look the same unfortunately) are actually quite impressive considering this is a handheld game. The frame does dip on the odd occasion but it's never problematic. As we've already mentioned the camera is rather annoying. The character animations, particularly belonging to your enemies, leave a lot to be desired and could have been much better. Loading times are actually quite good for a PSP game which was a pleasant surprise.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Dead Man's Chest is pretty good for deaf gamers. The game's cutscenes are subtitled so you'll be able to follow them. These subtitles appear at the bottom of the screen and use a greyed dialogue box with white subtitles. Tutorial messages are shown in text. Comments made by Jack and his enemies during the game are not subtitled. This does take away some of the game's ambience for deaf gamers but it doesn't actually affect the game play which is what really matters. Items you can interact with are denoted by a large skull and crossbones icon. The game manual is fairly short (at around 20 pages) but does manage to cover everything you need to know.

Final thoughts.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is ultimately a disappointment. The repetitive combat, the lack of variation, the camera problems and the game's brevity all serve to make it a game that all but dedicated enthusiasts of the movie will probably avoid. The annoying thing about this is that the multiplayer game is actually enjoyable and had it been accompanied by an equally enjoyable single-player game this would have been easy to recommend.

Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

Had the single-player game been as enjoyable as the separate multiplayer component, we would have had an enjoyable game instead of the rather mediocre one we have here.