The Golden Compass review

Lock up your deities!

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Lots of action

  • +

    It's got armored bears

  • +

    At least the book is good


  • -

    Butt-ugly graphics

  • -

    Terrible level design

  • -

    Completely un-fun gameplay

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Dec 14, 2007

The first levels blast you right into the action as mighty polar bear warrior Iorek, viciously slaughtering Inuits and wolves as you carry the heroine Lyra through dramatic icy wastes. It’s messy, and unoriginal, and painfully linear (even stepping one inch out of line will reveal hidden walls), but it is at least fast and action-packed. Problem is, the game tells the story of The Golden Compass all out of sequence, and soon you’re back at the start of Lyra’s journey, snooping around the rooftops of Oxford in the most awkward, pointless and downright ugly series of linear activities we’ve been subjected to by any kid’s game on next-gen to date.

It could be argued that the way every part of your progress is lazily sign-posted for you (and the sheer boredom of controlling conversations via inane minigames) proves that this is a game solely for children who are desperate to continue their extreme obsession beyond the books and the movie - but this argument is then totally undermined by the fact that the graphics are so drearily poor and every character is so disturbingly inhuman that just a brief glimpse is guaranteed to give any child sleepless nights until puberty finally arrives. The perverse ugliness of the main game (and the dodgy voice acting, evident throughout) is then shown up even further by random use of real clips from the movie. The Golden Compass must surely be incapable of pleasing anyone, of any age, with any level of discernment.

More info

DescriptionThe game sucks for many reasons - mostly because it's broken and pug fugly. But what did you expect from a movie tie-in?
Platform"DS","PS2","Xbox 360","PS3","PC","Wii","PSP"
US censor rating"Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating"12+","12+","12+","12+","12+","12+","12+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)