Review: The Adventures of Tintin

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I can already hear the sighs from my fellow ABOG members - "Really? A review of Tintin?" But hear me out and you might be just as surprised as I was.

If you've seen the movie - 'The Adventures of Tintin' - you'll be right at home with the videogame tie-in. If you haven't seen the movie, you really should. It was a wonderful film that I was able to enjoy with my entire family. It was as close to an animated young Indiana Jones as you would hope to come, and the 3D was rather impressive. The movie resonated with me enough to warrant a curious peak into the videogame tie-in. But before I dive into the ups and downs of the game, I should let everyone know that this was a rental . . . and not a full retail purchase. This statement will have some weight further into the review.

Following the adventures of boy-reporter Tintin, you're thrust into his latest mystery involving the secrets of the fabled ship - The Unicorn. Over the course of the game you'll travel from Europe to Morocco, and back again - along the way you'll be searching for treasure and fighting off bandits and pirates, all while hunting for the next clue. The story, much like the movie, is fairly predictable, but its light-hearted tone makes any plot line holes completely forgivable. Take it for what it is and leave it at that. The Adventures of Tintin isn't trying to be the next Uncharted, although comparisons to its locations and gameplay sequences are often undeniable.

The most surprising aspect of Tintin was the gameplay. I had no idea when starting the game up for the first time that it would primarily be a side-scrolling 3D platformer; it ultimately turned out to be a pleasant surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. Developed by Ubisof Montpelier this simple platformer is matched by an even simpler control scheme and designed (I would imagine) for the younger gamer. Played on the PlayStation 3 the game primarily utilized the the X, Square, R2 buttons, and left stick on the PS3 DualShock controller. As simple as the controller layout was, the responsiveness of your character made gameplay extremely satisfying.

The Adventures of Tintin, although 75% sidescrolling, made valiant efforts to break things up by providing additional characters to play as. Whether switching over to the bumbling Captain Haddock - who you meet about a thrid of the way into the campaign - or as your four-legged companion Snowy, each character brings just enough variety to keep things interesting. The other 25% of the game completely removes the player from the side-scrolling platform and places them into full 3D environments. On more than one occasion I was piloting a bi-plane, shooting Zeppelins and other planes out of the sky, while other sequences I found myself driving a motorcycle (with attached side car) through the desert, chasing down trucks, helicopters, and other motorcycles. These breaks from the platforming experience seemed to be intelligently placed into the campaign to keep the gameplay fresh, while avoiding all feeling of repetition.

Visually, The Adventures of Tintin were mostly a letdown. The graphics, in some instances, came across as barely passable from the PS2 generation. At other times, particularly during the cut scenes, things improved significantly. Still, having an opportunity to put my 3D TV to use, I opted to play through about half of the campaign with the 3D setting turned on. I'm pleased to report that this option was much better than I was anticipating given the lack of attention the game received graphically. I would go so far as say that the 3D was on par with some of the other AAA 3D videogames I've played over the last year. If you have a 3D TV, and (after reading this review) have an inclination to play this game, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not at least trying it in 3D.

Although the visuals of the videogame tie-in come nowhere near to competing with the movie of the same name, the voice acting and musical score are top notch. If I had to guess, I would say that the same voice actors used in the movie were hired to do the game - not entirely uncommon. Thankfully, their performances were just as well delivered as they were in the big-budget theater release; something that doesn't always occur when highly paid actors are involved with a videogame.

The majority of my time with The Adventures of Tintin was spent playing the roughly 4 hour campaign (remember how I stated early on that this was best served as a rental - that's why). There are other modes available should you feel the need after the campaign has concluded. There is the option to play the game in co-op mode, as either Tintin or Captain Haddock, as well as several challenges - mostly seen through the various vehicle segments, but neither of these had enough pull to prompt me to play them.

If you've got a younger gamer in your house who is learning to better understand the complex controllers of this generation, or you're just looking for a reprieve from the more intense and hardcore gaming, you could certainly do worse than The Adventures of Tintin. Is it worthy of a full retail purchase? Probably not. However, you might want to keep an eye out for this game as a rental or bargain bin option. If you enjoyed the movie and are looking for a similar 3D (literally) platformer experience, it's a good time.