Up Review (Xbox360)

Gamers have always been wary about the adaptations of movies into the video game format. While this hasn’t always been the case – such as the Sega Genesis iteration of The Lion King – movie based video games have faltered over the last decade or so with only a handful of quality titles to speak of. With that said – along with the hesitance of games worldwide – it’s a pleasure to see THQ handle Pixar’s Up with care. Up is accessible to all ages, a trait that can’t be said for far too many games this generation.

Starting off with the lovable talking dog, Dug, Up provides thrills around every corner. If you have watched the film, then the video game is even more enjoyable. All the colorful and delightful characters from the film – such as Dug, Carl, and Russell – of course return for the video game and carrying on their relationships through the game. Up is primarily a platformer in likeness of, say, Banjo-Kazooie; you’ll be collecting items and coins along your journey. Heavily based around cooperative moments, players have to learn the specialties of each character to advance through Up in a record pace.

Take your battle to the air.
Never fear, Dug is here!

Having both Carl and Russell to toggle through – Dug becomes selectable later in the game – there are countless puzzles and obstacles to overcome. Each character comes with a special move they can perform such as Carl’s use of a cane he uses to walk and Russell with his pocket knife to cut through objects set before him. On top of that, each character has abilities the other doesn’t have such as Russell being able to pull up Carl with a rope or sling shot Carl into areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. Either way you look at it, players will end up using both characters throughout the single-player story to complete the title – it’s unavoidable.

If you are worried about the computer AI not being able to keep up or being able to perform a certain task, then worry no more as Up features a commendable partner in crime. Only in boss battles would the AI perform as if they were Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The computer ally often screws up and isn’t adequate in these boss sequences so beware of instances where you or your opponent will get stuck on invisible corners; they’ll be the death of you! Fortunately enough, there’s co-op with a human ally incorporated to save your butt in tight situations. This might be the games’ best attribute as playing with a friend or family member is always better than counting on artificial intelligence.

Teamwork is the key to being successful.
Danger lurks everywhere.

Having been an adaptation of a movie, the video game has lofty standards to live up to in the graphical department. Up does a mediocre job at fulfilling the standards as the film was gorgeous in the visuals. There are many times when the lack of detail was noticeable, but players shouldn’t expect the video game to be near the quality of film in terms of the visuals. Unfortunately, in another important area of the visuals, Up has noticeable framerate problems where it would slowdown to a snail’s pace. This should never happen, especially when there’s timing involved with jumping from platform to platform.

Players looking for replay value will want to look elsewhere as there aren’t many features that beg for a second play through. The cooperative gameplay is nice, but once you finish the storyline, there’s not much left to do besides earn all of the achievements and collect all the items you missed the first time through. Sure, there are three multiplayer games that allow for four players to play through, but in the end, it’s just a small distraction that is done and over with after thirty minutes or so. It goes without saying though, if you enjoyed the film, Up will once again find a special place in your heart – this time as a video game.

Top Game Moment: Albeit it’s a frustrating portion of Up, the crocodile sequence was amusing.