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Mark Marrow
11 Jan, 2007

Open Season Review

Wii Review | We know you've been waiting to hear about this one.
With such a radically new approach to how games are played you’d think developers would be springing to their feet with ideas, regardless if their games are mere cash-ins of a film. Well, that’s not the case with Open Season, a cross-platform port of a recent movie tie-in. In fact, the Wii version is even more frustrating to play than with a traditional control set-up, complete with graphics and load times that make it suited for the PS2. Looking for a positive new spin when playing games on the Wii? Oh, no wait. You’ll have to look elsewhere.

Open Season is an animated film based around the story of a domesticated bear named Boog and his one-horned deer companion named Elliot. The game allows you to follow the pair’s adventure as Boog is thrown into the wilderness after living most of his life in the garage of a park ranger. After realising that he has been relocated during hunting season, Boog frantically begins searching for a way back home to the comfort of his garage, trying to avoid the dangers that lie within the forest.

The game does a decent job of following the key areas found within the film, as well as introducing all of the characters featured - at one moment you’ll be throwing bunnies at hunters, while the next you’ll be riding down the slopes of an icy mountain. Unfortunately, the majority of the game is set within a forest with virtually no variety offered between each level. The game is populated with identically structured mountains, tree layouts and linear paths that only require you to run from point A to point B. Open Season is broken up into a few dozen levels where you’ll be required to fulfil certain goals before completion, which on most occasions only require you to scare the hunters that have set up camp. Occasionally you’ll be riding down rivers or riding through a mine, and while such instances are surprisingly enjoyable, they are a rarity.

Something smells fishy.

Something smells fishy.
Close
Boog can sneak up behind hunters and roar, which is the most effective method in scaring hunters, however, if there’s a pack of hunters things tend to become quite tricky – although, with the assistance of Elliot, things become much easier. The fast-talking Elliot can recruit other animals to help you in certain situations. There are different occasions where you’ll be able to recruit squirrels that can stun hunters by running up trees and throwing acorns at them, as well as a skunk that acts as a gas bomb and a rabbit that Boog can fling at an enemy’s head. All of these methods also utilise the Wiimote’s functions in some form, yet feel terribly irresponsive when trying to effectively perform them. To perform precise throws of skunks or other objects you’ll need to aim at the screen with the Wiimote, which is highly cumbersome due to the game’s inability to pick up all of your hand movements. To cover yourself up in twigs to hide, you’ll need to tilt the Wiimote and Nunchuk in opposite directions, which also has trouble recognising motions performed. It pretty much suffices to say that using a traditional set-up would've been much more effective than the trouble caused with the Wii version.

In the moments when you won’t be using the above motions to scare hunters you’ll need to tilt the Wiimote sideways and use it as a steering wheel during the rail sequences. You’ll tilt the Wiimote left or right to steer out of harms way, yet the game is once again either too slow in picking up on your motions, or it drastically over-exaggerates your movements. Due to these imprecise movements, the game feels unnecessarily harder than it would be on a traditional console.

The problems don’t rest there though for Wii owners. Graphics and audio are sloppily converted to the Wii, and ultimately makes it appear as a PS2 title. The environments are generally sparse, textures and polygons are extremely low and animation is incredibly average. While the game is faithful in recreating the characters from the film, everything else is noticeable empty. Audio is typically nonexistent through levels bar the simple chirps from birds or the noise of water flowing from a nearby waterfall. It’s remarkably disappointing since the licenced music from the film is nicely incorporated into the game’s menus, yet are absent from the actual game itself. Voice acting isn’t too bad, it remains faithful to the original actors and the dialogue is littered with plenty of humour.

Kickin' the bucket.

Kickin' the bucket.
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There’s nothing that sets this above any other children-oriented title on the market, in fact it’s probably one of the worst we’ve had to tolerate. Open Season is frequently hurt by long load times before each level and between menus, not to mention that the overall length of the game is surprisingly small (you would be lucky to draw out four hours from the main adventure and another hour from the boring mini-games). It doesn’t help that the game is incredibly easy to accomplish too, despite there being special abilities and tokens to find throughout your adventure. Open Season’s obvious focus towards kids is apparent due to the game's narrator using a calm, soothing voice that you’d normally hear in those educational shows.

It’s impossible to recommend this for anyone. There are only slight glimmers of enjoyment shown in this repetitive, simple and poorly ported four hour experience. The experience is frequently marred by load times, irresponsive controls and choppy graphics that shouldn’t be expected on any console on the market at the moment. Your money would be best suited elsewhere than on this terrible movie tie-in.
The Score
Save your money and take your kid to the zoo. 3
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Open Season Content

Open Season Preview
19 Jun, 2006 We take a quick glimpse of Boog and Elliot in action.
Updated Australian release list, 27/11/06
27 Nov, 2006 What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Red Steel Preview
23 Nov, 2006 We go swinging and slashing mad in our extensive hands-on.
4 Comments
7 years ago
Hangin by a thread.
7 years ago
A 3? Geez that is bad I'm glad I didn't buy it, I was wondering if it was any good. Guess not, what a shame. Save the pennies for another day then.
7 years ago
The Movies probably like the the game and I will give the movie 4. I've saw a trailer for this game and it does look gay.
7 years ago
I'm glad I got NFS:C with the TRU deal now icon_smile.gif
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Ubisoft
Developer:
  Ubisoft

Read more...
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