The Golden Compass - Review

The Golden Compass
Ages: Everyone 10+

I so want the game to be good. Having read all three of Philip Pullman’s books and seen the movie version of book one I now come face to face with the game. First off – Hard –core gamers will hate it; for the rest of us - its a mixed bag. As in the Witch and the Wardrobe, the developers have done away with the mystery, intrigue, and morality and plunged gamers into a battle/chase.

The game starts out with Lyra in the frozen north in her mission to rescue Roger. It was the dullest sequence in the movie. In the books and movie, Lyra is the “chosen one”, here she is the “lying one”.

Game play is oftentimes surprisingly simple, with the triangle button for Action flashed upon the screen, when the time comes to do the action, but not one moment before. It’s almost like being in a tutorial. Orient the character in the right direction, press triangle and the action is performed. You almost feel like an observer. On the other hand, with the timed actions – some bosses are surprisingly hard. Not having camera control, so that you can’t see where to jump, is an annoying lack. On the other hand, the demons and their change ability and different skills are lots of fun. If you are attentive to picking up clues, or if you are good at guessing - the chronometer makes for an interesting interlude. A clever bit to avoid players’ frustration is that you get the answer if you have failed five times. This would be a good addition to many games. In the scene where Lyra crosses the chasm on a slim bridge, the onscreen level that responds to the Wii Remote is a good trick – but used too often. And The Golden Compass ignored Gen’s rule #5 for player friendly games, “Introduce the game slowly and give the player a chance to get into the action and environment” Here Lyra, riding the bear is running along cracked ice bridges which crumble should they not run fast enough.

Fun Factor: So here I am, as are many players, playing a game, that is not so hot, because I remember the book and movie with such pleasure.
Female Factor: Wonderful girl character

Reviewed by: Editor - 12/07

  • The Golden Compass
  • © Sega
  • Platform(s): PlayStation3PS3
  • To Order: PS3 $59.95