Speaking of cinematic, the game is simply beautiful at times, especially on Xbox 360. The PS3 game has its moments, sure, but its edges look jagged, and the frame-rate lapses frequently. Played on a small TV in hi-def, the PS3 version looks great. But the Xbox 360 version looks magnificent on anything. So if you're lucky enough to have the choice, get that one.
The most work has obviously gone into making the game look like the movie. Jack Sparrow (sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow) looks and moves exactly like Johnny Depp. Even his facial expressions are accurate. And, with individual fingers to increase his theatrical presence, this character model could really be Depp shrunk into the game. The benchmark has been set.
We can't help but feel that under the glossy, beautiful exterior, the game is still very much a last-gen offering. Jack and Will open doors with their hands, but comrades and enemies simply walk up to the doorways and vanish. Characters repeat dialogue lines and sit or stand around doing nothing, obviously there to make the area look busier than it is. Taking away the visuals, there's nothing in the gameplay that couldn't be done on PS2.
The game sticks perhaps too closely to the movies (not just thethird one, by the way - there's a lot of Dead Man's Chest in here, especially). We would like to be able to just take the Black Pearl out on the high seas and go treasure hunting. The sumptuous locales and glistening water just cry out to be explored. But the game is linear and never lets you anywhere near the ships unless you're supposed to be on them - underlined by the fact Jack dies instantly if he falls in the water. It's like the game is saying "don't even try to run away."