Monday, 10 January 2011

The Road

Genre: Third Person Action Adventure
Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Nintendo DS
PEGI: 18+
Publisher: Rockstar

Nintendo DS Cover Art
The movie of Cormac McCarthy's seminal apocalyptic novel was released in January 2010 to a chorus of indifference. After almost a year we are being asked to get excited by the multi-platform release of the game based on The Road movie. You may wonder if excitement is possible.

The Road game has been held in 'design hell' since January 2010 due to creative differences between Cormac McCarthy and Rockstar. McCarthy had, apparently, always imagined the game of his novel to be purely Real Time Strategy. "I saw it as a cross between Empire Earth and Age of Empires." He told IGN. "I mean, the novel has RTS written all over it - two people, scavenging stuff, building things, making do. You know what I mean?".

Rockstar had other ideas.

What they have finally produced and released, much to McCarthy's disapproval (but grudging acceptance), is a Third Person shooter that blends Survival Horror with elements of RTS. This heady mix has its moments but the dilution of both genres serves to distance itself from hardcore lovers of either.

PS3 Screenshot
The bulk of the gameplay is reminiscent of Rockstar's previous efforts. The Man and The Boy (readers of the novel will understand the mechanics of this relationship) must fend off a series of adversaries and pitfalls before the (depressing/uplifting) climax is reached. Cut scenes are suitably dramatic, the grey and dismal landscapes of the novel/movie are faithfully reproduced, The Boy's constant cries of "Papa, Papa, Papa" when you wander away from him and the RTS mini-games are only slightly tedious.

What Cormac McCarthy made of the Harley Davidson, Rocket Launcher and Flame Thrower that The Man can obtain during the later stages of the game has not been reported.

VT Rating: 7/10 (PS3 version)