Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game (Xbox360)

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My kids had been yammering on about Rise of the Guardians for about a month so I took them to see it – what an awesome movie! We all had a great time so when the chance to play the game came along I grabbed it with both hands without knowing too much about it. I relish the chance to get anything new for the kids and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the game a great deal, and playing it with them was great fun.

Rise of the Guardians Screenshot 1

The basic premise of Rise of the Guardians is similar to the movie: The omnipotent Man in the Moon has chosen five guardians to look after the children of the world and safeguard their hopes, dreams and belief in the magic that is Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy as well as the newest guardian, Jack Frost.

As the player, you select one of the characters and embark upon a quest to defeat the evil Bogeyman, Pitch Black, and prevent him and his nightmares from destroying the positivity, innocence and magic of childhood. Even better, Rise of the Guardians allows for up to four player drop-in / drop-out co-operative play so the game is great fun for the whole family. I am playing it with my kids and we still love it.

Rise of the Guardians Screenshot 2

During the course of the Rise of the Guardians, your character becomes more and more experienced and with this experience comes an associated increase in character and weapon attributes. Of the characters, North (Santa), the Sandman and Jack Frost are tanks and melee fighters, while and Tooth and Bunnymund (the Easter Bunny) are ranged fighters.

At the beginning it is a bit difficult working out the roles of each player in terms of strategy, but once you get the hang of it combat becomes much more manageable. Most of the enemies you face are quite easy to dispatch and Pitch Black relies more on strength of numbers instead of the strength of individuals. There are, however, some very difficult characters and although they may look similar to enemies you have faced before, they are much more difficult to defeat.

Rise of the Guardians Screenshot 3

Each Guardian has his or her own home which is under threat from Pitch Black and you work collectively to eliminate the enemies, collect treasures, release captives and find the guardian’s centre. Unfortunately, because there are five guardians and you effectively do the same thing in each realm, this might become boring for some gamers. Fortunately, however, I am playing with my kids who simply love the game so I can drop out and take a break and they continue to play – they don’t get bored at all.

I am playing as part of a team, I also get to appreciate the artwork of the game. The graphics of the cut-scenes are a bit disappointing but the actual game is beautifully crafted and should be appreciated. There is also the opportunity to spend some of your hard-earned crystals (earned when defeating an enemy) on stills from the movie. Some of these graphics are breathtakingly beautiful and the level of detail involved is quite astonishing.

Rise of the Guardians Screenshot 4

As the guardians develop throughout the game, there are quite a few areas in which they can be improved, the most obvious being their attributes such as strength, power, belief, focus, speed and defence. Each attribute adds to the character in some way and improves their abilities in battle. The next improvement can be made to each of the players’ weapons. North wields a pair of swords, Jack wields his magic staff, the Sandman has a magical whip, Tooth projects little fairies with devastating effect and the bunny from down under uses his boomerangs to wreck havoc. Each of these weapons has a level that increases as the game progresses.

Each character also has special (and quite devastating) special attacks that can be unlocked as higher levels are attained. These attacks are area attacks and are very useful when the evil nightmares are threatening to overrun you and your team. Because they use the character’s energy, these special attacks must be used sparingly and strategically. The final improvement that you can do to the characters is done by purchasing gems for the characters that add to generic abilities of the characters. Examples of these gems are gems to increase regeneration of energy and belief (your power source), increase your “fire power” and so forth. As your character progresses, more and more gems can be equipped (up to a maximum of three) to make your faerie hero into a nightmare dispersing machine.

Rise of the Guardians Screenshot 5

Rise of the Guardians also features exceptional co-operative attacks that combine the powers of all characters into a weapon that is very helpful in times of need. Working together is very important and the game is definitely easier, and a lot more fun, when playing as a team. I have made my own co-op partners but I know most of you will have to get a few friends to play with you.

The main negative that I can identify in Rise of the Guardians is the fact that it is a repetitive game and might be considered boring by some. Another possible critique I may suggest is that the game can get a little bit too busy – there were times when there was just too much action happening on the screen that I temporarily lost sight of my character. This just added to the excitement in some instances and you are soon able to locate your character again.

Rise of the Guardians Screenshot 6

I would highly recommend Rise of the Guardians to those of you who have young gamers around. This is also an awesome present to buy for the kids and they will spend a lot of time fighting off nightmares and making the bogeyman as obsolete as neon leg warmers. For the more mature gamer, I would hesitate in recommending this game too highly because it is a bit repetitive and it does get a bit boring.

If you are looking for about fifteen hours of kid friendly hack and slash fun, Rise of the Guardians is the game for you. If you are a fan of co-op action games with high intensity I can surely recommend Rise of the Guardians. Personally I am glad that I had the chance to add this game to my collection.