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The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Chronicles of Narnia books remain high on their pedestal of nostalgic childhood memories; the movies, perhaps a bit less so. Fans of either probably hanker for the ability to frolic through the Narnian fields equally, and so the games keep coming.

In case you aren’t familiar with the story behind the second chapter known as Prince Caspian, or need a refresher, it begins one Earth year after the events from the first book/movie. When the Pevensie children return to the magic kingdom inside the antique wardrobe, they find that the world has changed to a dark, foreboding place. They learn that time in Narnia flows much quicker than in our world, and so 1,300 years have passed in Narnian time! And with that passage of centuries, events have converged to leave Narnia in a troubled state.

Developed by Traveller’s Tales, the home console and PC versions of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian are modeled after your standard hack-and-slash action-RPG, and follow events between the first and second chapters of the saga. There will be 20+ playable characters, including Narnians, which means you’ll get a chance to play as a minotaur, among other mythical beasties. We must admit, our demo of the game definitely marked the first time we ever saw a minotaur riding piggy back on a giant. Amongst chaotic Dynasty Warriors-style melee battles, giants occasionally come wading through, and you can “jack” them from the enemy, riding them around and smashing the turf with a huge club, sending enemies flying.

The setting we got to see was a huge castle, which apparently was constructed using the same asset from the movie, so you can imagine the gigantic sprawl of walls, bridges, and turrets it comprises.

The gameplay has been simplified since the previous game, with your light attack usable as an infinite combo, which will be handy with the swarms of enemies around. Also the armor customization is gone, instead favoring a collection system where you pick up armor shards as a kind of Mario-esque touch. We don’t know if the game was simplified to appeal more to children, or if it’s mainly an attempt to make it more accessible in general and more fluid to play. The visual tone and visceral combat definitely lean more toward appeasing the teen-to-adult audience. Set for a May release, we’ll have to see more before we can say one way of the other.

Mar 28, 2008

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