Review by pie_man00
The Movies had a lot of potential, but fails to deliver.
Its The Sims, crossed with Windows Movie Maker, but better. On paper, The Movies looks like the best idea since sliced bread. Unfortunately, when the idea is put into practice, it clearly isnt. So whats it all about? Well, you start off in the early 1920s as a new movie producing company, kind of similar to any other recent Tycoon games. The objective of the game is to develop your company as time progresses until its rivalling all the others in the business. Earn money, hire staff, make movies, receive awards etc. Theres a lot of fun to be had along the way, and lots of not-so-fun.
The Movies looks good at first glance. Zooming out from your lot can reveal that theres plenty of detail and quite often no slowdown, even when youve got people running about doing errands, scenery placed neatly, and buildings of all different shapes and sizes. Zooming in can show what this games really made of. Characters look OK, a fair bit of detail on their faces, nice-enough looking clothing. Nothing particularly special, but itll do. The buildings look a bit iffy, as does the scenery (tress, plants, cars etc.). Theres a background on display, and it looks awful. Whenever Im taking a look around the place, I always seem to have an ugly looking mountain range distracting me. Very annoying. Aside from all this, its all standard stuff. Nothing ground breaking, nothing thatll make you go WOW, either. Trying to navigate through the games menus can be a pain at times, too. Clicking on a character will open up endless menus and submenus, which can be a bit intimidating to newer players.
The Movies sound isnt all that bad. When your cast and crew are off shooting scenes for your latest blockbuster, youll hear lines such as Action! when they start and Thats a wrap! when theyre finished. Its a nice little touch. Therell be the option to turn off the radio in the main menu, too. Whats this, you wonder? As youre playing the game, therell be a radio playing some nice little tunes for you to hum along to. Occasionally, the radio presenter will say a few lines, sometimes even commenting on things happening in the game, such as Theres a new movie studio opened up down by the beach, or People are eagerly anticipating this years movie awards show. Not a bad little inclusion into the game. All in all, sound is one of the The Movies best aspects. Whether thats a good thing or not, Im not sure.
In a way, The Movies gameplay is split into two sections; Movie-Making, and Company Management. Ill begin with the former first.
So, youve been playing the game for a good 30 minutes or so, hiring your directors, stars, extras, builders, handymen, placing down buildings etc. and youre asking yourself when the movie-making will start. Eventually, youll received a finished script from your script office. Huzzah! Finally, I can make my ten-minute blockbuster. But wait, you cant. Remember, this is the 20s. At the moment, you cant do anything other than tell your crew to make the movie. So, off they go. After a few minutes, theyre done! Send the finished movie out for release, and you have the option to view it yourself! Press the play button on the movie-viewer, and...oh dear. What you have is 2, maybe 3 scenes of badly assembled film. Therell be a character, cheesy music playing, someone will fall over and the credits roll. After releasing this monstrosity (which is usually named in the most irrelevant ways), youll come under fire from the critics, and rightly so. After about 5 of these awful films, it begins to pick up. Youll get a hard-earned Custom Script Office, and the game finally gets going. Name your movie, lay down some scenes, put in your own subtitled script which will appear in time with your carefully planned out scenes. When youre done, send it off for release and watch the cash rake in. Every 4 years, theres a Movie Awards show that takes place, which pits your company against your rivals to see who has earned the most awards. Its a good addition, but waiting for the only interesting thing that takes place during the game is tiring, especially as the games time-frame moves at a snails pace. So, youve made your first box office smash. Now what? Make another one, of course. Then another. And another, and another... The Movies, sadly, suffers from gamings greatest foe; repetition.
And finally, the company management. At the beginning of the game, youre given a reasonably large amount of space to build your studios. This soon fills up, though, and youll realise the mistakes youve made when it takes your crew what seems like an eternity to travel from building to building. There are many different buildings at your disposal, such as script office, makeover department for your stars, casting office, pre-production studio etc. After placing your buildings where you want them, they need to be built. So hire some hopefuls lined up outside your company walls and make them either a builder, wholl build your buildings, or a handyman of sorts, wholl clean up the paths within your studio. Unfortunately, after hiring half a dozen builders because youve put down your first few buildings, when there isnt anything to be built, theyll just stroll about doing nothing. Not a major problem until you find out your buildings contain an upkeep factor. This means your buildings start to wear away after a while, but your builders wont do a thing unless you tell them to. Aside from all this, theres your cast and crew that need to be looked after. They have Sims-esque needs meters, such as socialising and boredom. Nice, but like The Sims this can get tedious after a while. There are other little inclusion such as them becoming addicted to alcohol, which means they must be sent to re-hab, or making your stars into a couple so as to hit the front page of the papers. I found these to be most welcome, and a nice break from everything else which just brought the game down.
The Movies looked so good on paper, and had so much potential considering its surrounding hype, but the finished product, sadly, doesnt cut it. For those still interested in what the game does have to offer, however, go for it, as there are many things here well worth a look. Sadly, the bad far outweighs the good, which is a real shame too. Theres an expansion pack released which looks like it contains some nice extras, but if its anything like the original, Id stay away.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
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