"Spartans! Tonight we dine in monotony!"
300 the movie was a great rush. It was a thrill packed ride of Spartans slaughtering the living hell out of anyone that got in their way. Sadly, on the gaming front, the license really hasn't done that well. Warner Bros. released a PSP game back in March that put players in control of the hungry Spartan army as they slashed anyone in their path. But it got old quickly, relying on tired Dynasty Warriors-esque combat and the worst phalanx sequences ever put into a video game. (Go forward, shield! Go forward!) The mobile game seems to fare a little better, with players strategically setting up soldiers for combat. But even with its additional formations and such, it gets old really fast.
The plot remains essentially the same as the movie. Players control a limited army of Spartans as they charge their way through rogue forces, trying to keep the land of Sparta free at any cost -- even with their very lives. The game, however, takes a vastly different approach over the PSP game. Instead of letting players just control one character and slash his way through everything, they instead move an on-screen cursor about, directing the Spartans on-screen into combat. From there, the Spartans strike on their own, bringing down enemies any way they see fit. As the levels go on, new enemies become introduced, forcing players to use different formations and battle tactics, such as the straight-line phalanx, in order to survive.
The only problem with the gameplay is that it seems to get just as old as the PSP version. Sure, for the first few battles, some fun strategic elements get introduced. But eventually, players realize that the gameplay doesn't really change at all, and they never really gain complete control over their Spartan army. As a result, it can get tiring having to move them around and watch them do all the dirty work while you play a mere observer. If the game used some kind of hybrid of action and strategy, that would've been a lot better. As is, it'll probably be stale within a matter of an hour to some folk -- even to those who try out the somewhat fun Challenge mode.
300's graphics don't really look too appealing. It can be reasonably fun watching groups of soldiers mash together to create one huge bloody mess (this certainly isn't a game for kids), but the characters don't really look as interesting as they did in the film. The layouts look alright but don't really change that much in terms of depth in the long run. The music is pretty acceptable, playing battle themes throughout each stage, but it isn't long before it too starts to grow a little old.
Warner Bros.' latest does take a different approach than usual action games, but surprisingly runs along the same failures as its PSP cousin. It just doesn't stay fun for very long, despite some grand ideas in design and inspiration. Strategic combat lovers and avid fans of the film won't mind directing this little army around for awhile, but eventually it comes back to the same result. You'd have a better time watching the 300 film than messing around with the 300 game.
What's Hot: Interesting battle concept, focusing on real-time strategy instead of full-fledged combat.
What's Not: Becomes boring pretty quickly, even with the additional strategies and formations.