Review by wolverinefan
"A simple yet fun title that anyone can enjoy"
Spiderwick Chronicles is based off the hit movie that was released in theaters in 2008. It has more in common with the film than the books and actually, besides a few side quests like objectives, it follows the film almost spot on.
I wouldn't call myself a fan of the books anyway but the film was very enjoyable and I can happily say the same about this game. The plot itself is simple. Jared, his twin Simon and their sister Mallory move into a new mansion after their parents split. Jared finds a book written by his great uncle Arther Spiderwick. It's a book containing everything a person could want to know about the fairy realm but when he opens the book he releases its presence to Mulgoroth who is an evil creature that wants to book so he can rule all.
By using actual film footage the story is told in a narrative fashion. This is one of the few times where the actual film footage is crystal clear. In game graphics are sharp and colorful. I found the game to be very pleasing to the eyes. Locations aren't the most exciting thing but they all look good and the enemy models look spot on to the film counterparts.
Not only does the game look good but it also offers the voice talent of the films original cast so that was an added little bonus. Even the sounds appear to come from the film. My only problem is that the music is kind of meh. I remember none of it besides the them from the film and even then one would think I'd remember something of the music after playing for 4 hours straight.
I hit this game running, which doesn't happen often and almost never when it comes to a game based on a film which in turn is based off a book series. However, this game is incredibly fun and just an all around enjoyable game.
You gain control of the three children as the plot unfolds and it's always one at a time for plot reasons. Not until the final chapter can you switch between them all outside the mansion. Each kid plays differently as well as Jared is stronger of the three and has normal throwing skills. Simon has a juice sprayer and explosive throwing items. Mallory uses the sword so her combat is quicker. I don't know if she can throw anything or what it could be. So while they are pretty much the same they do have enough difference to make them feel different.
The game is split up into chapters and you always have a check list of what you need to do but it is vague at times. The only time I was ever confused was when I was looking for a way back into the caves and the game didn't explain how to lower the red bushes which was sovled in a way I wasn't thinking of.
That's another thing. The game really doesn't have many puzzles and the only other puzzle requires you to capture three spirits and use them in an order to then smash something. It felt random and kind of tough as I had a hard time finding the sprites.
You collect sprites throughout the game. Each type offers a different ability be it extra strength, speed or a special power. You can hold three at a time so it's good to stock them. To catch them though you need to use the net and then draw there picture which is more of a paint by numbers minus the numbers. It's fun but an enemy attack can cause you to end the painting and set the sprite free. Once you capture a spirit you won't need to paint them again but this will cause some confusion when trying to fill the book.
You will constantly find yourself hunting for new information on sprites and trolls and whatever else would be in the field guide. So it's an extra collect-a-thon. The entire game feels like one though. Even at the start you'll need to find x item to get to x area and it just goes on like that.
It some how remains fun as the combat is simple but it also feels rewarding in a beat'em up way. The game isn't very long though and 100% is possible within 6 hours. There is a multiplayer mode which is either timed or point based and then you can select if you just want sprites or goblins or both and then you get points based on what you capture or kill. It's mindless but somewhat fun.
I would highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a good family friendly title. Platformer fans should also check it out as it's a nice refreshing title from the tired first person shooters the market is currently flooded with. Just don't go in expecting deep game play or anything that's deep. Sit back and enjoy one of the best games so far of 2008.
Story - 8/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Control - 10/10
Game Play - 8/10
Replay Value - 4/10
Final Score - 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/10/08
Game Release: The Spiderwick Chronicles (US, 02/05/08)
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