Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Review

by Stephen Heller Featured

16 Comments 9 Votes 3072 Views 29/06/2009 Back to Reviews

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Review

Written By Stephen Heller

It seems that the build-up never really pays off for Indiana Jones fans. Last year saw the release of the first Indy film in 19 years, and brought with it pain and heartbreak for many. It showed promise but ended up being poorly executed, and unfortunately while Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings shows a lot of promise, poor execution lets down what could have been a fantastic adventure title.

The plot certainly puts the latest movie to shame. You play as Indy as he wanders the globe in search of the Staff of Moses. It’s 1939 so you are battling his old pals the Nazi’s along with a rival archeologist that is also after the staff. It borrows formula from Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade, but still offers some originality of its own. For fans of the series the plotline will be predictable, but it never feels stale or old, in fact it will manage to ignite some memories from the movies in the series, and that’s what Staff of Kings does well, it feels like another adventure in the life of Indiana Jones, not just a game. Indy’s voice actor does a fantastic job sounding the part, but unfortunately is served up some pretty average dialogue. That aside, Staff of Kings has definitely captured the essence of an Indiana Jones film, much better than previous 3D adventures in the series have before it.

Unfortunately once you jump into the game you will realize you are in for one hell of a struggle. The game relies too heavily on “waggle” controls, and more often than not you will be cursing in frustration that Indy pulled off a right hook instead of whipping an enemy from afar.

Your basic running, jumping is done via face buttons and the control stick, but every combat action is completed with some form of waggle motion, which not only gets tired fast, but more often than not is totally inaccurate. It’s such a shame as Staff of Kings offers some of the best combat action we have been offered in recent times. Nothing can compare to throwing a chair at an enemy before whipping them around their neck to pull them in for a few punches, and then smashing their head into a fish tank. Environments are littered with weapons ranging from bats, to bottles, to garbage can lids to bookshelves, you name it, there will always be some out of the ordinary fun way to take care of your enemies.

This is backed up by first person, on the rails style shooting segments that can be a bit of fun, yet you can’t help but feel like it’s severely lacking. Having said that, the controls in this segment are tight and feel great, and are certainly less frustrating than the normal combat can be at times.Action is once again broken up by numerous other sequences that have you piloting aircraft using your wiimote, and those beloved quicktime events make a re-appearance quite regularly.

Almost as annoying as the inaccuracy of the controls is the seemingly random checkpoint system. A lot of the time you will die and respawn at a point where you have to complete a bunch of seemingly basic segments such as swing across this ledge, jump to that one, before you get to where you last died, just to die again. What’s even more frustrating is that cutscenes or tutorial videos cannot be skipped, and at times you will wind up going through the “How To Shoot” tutorial five or six times before passing the stage. It’s frustrating and a poor design choice that can cause the user to totally lose their minds at times.

Staff of Kings isn’t a “next gen” title, the Wii version looks as if it was lifted directly from the PS2 era, which is a real let down considering we know the Wii is capable of so much more. The backgrounds are fuzzy and textures are often rather bland and blurry. Indy’s animations are fluid but all the other characters models and animation are really lacking.

The game features a co-op two player experience where player one controls Indy and player two controls his father Henry Jones. The puzzles don’t relate directly to the single player experience but it’s a fun way to kill a few hours with a friend. The best feature though is the inclusion of the 1992 Lucasart classic Indiana Jones and the Fate Of Atlantis, one of the best point and click adventures ever made. After you’ve beaten the six hour single player experience, you have one of the best adventure games waiting for you, which will last you another six or more hours.

The Final Verdict

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings shows a lot of promise in the deep and fun combat it provides, but it let down by its sloppy controls which rely too heavily of inaccurate “waggle” motions. The story is solid and the voice acting is top notch, but bad controls along with sub-par graphics really make this title only for fans. But if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Fate of Atlantis back in the day, this might be worth a purchase just for that!

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings

Platform: Wii / DS
 
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Gameplay

5.2
The combat is deep and fun, but is ultimately let down by sloppy controls that become frustrating and don't do what you want them to do.

Graphics

5.0
Environments are fuzzy, character models are bland and animations are less than desired. Indy is the only character model with fluent animations

Sound

7.5
The voice actor who plays Indy should audition for the next film he's that good! The music is what it should be, and the sound effects are rather decent but aren't outstanding.

Value

6.0
The single player experience will last you around six hours, with a few hours added on if you play the co-op Multiplayer on offer. Where the value shines is the inclusion of Fate of Atlantis which will keep you busy for quite a while if you haven't played it before.

Overall

6.2

More Info on Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings

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Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Australian Release: Out Now

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Review Comments

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Send me your review copy! I want to see for myself
It's bad? Damn, I was looking foward to this too.
Argh, I hated this game. Way too linear and easy. A combat scheme that goes overboard and puzzles that a pre-schooler can solve. The only great thing was flying the plane using the wii-remote like a c64 joystick while shooting down nazi planes. But, even that level went for like 2 minutes. Tomb Raider Anniversary Edition is heaps better.
What is the cheapest people have seen this? If I bought it it would be solely for Fate of Atlantis (Which I absolutely adore!) but I have my doubts for two reasons:

1) Is $80 really worth it just to get Fate of Atlantis?
2) Do I really want to play though 6 hours of mediocrity just for Fate of Atlantis?
I can't agree or disagree with you until I play the game.
I think this is a good game to give a miss. It doesn't sound too remarkable.
They should incorporate classic controller support or something into all wii games. It would make more of them half-decent
ill still buy it

FireStrife said: They should incorporate classic controller support or something into all wii games. It would make more of them half-decent



Agreed. The controls seem to be a big thing hampering Wii games, due to the waggle. Having GC/Classic controls would solve this, and it would be incredibly easy to implement.
Now, Indy and The Infernal Machine on the other hand
Played this the other night and didn't enjoy it at all. Motion controls actually ruin it.

Gaetano said: Played this the other night and didn't enjoy it at all. Motion controls actually ruin it.



I would still be keen to get my hands on the PS2 version and see what it's like with what I can only imagine be decent control schemes!
this on psp, controls were outright horrible!!!!

why waste time making such an awful game
The PSP version is much better than the wii version.
You had me at the Fate of Atlantis screenshot thumbnail.

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