Legends of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’Hoole

7.5 Overall Score

Written by on November 9, 2010 in

Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’hoole is an action/adventure game from WB Games starring, you guessed it, owls.  When I started the game, I was impressed.  Wii games run the danger of having broken controls, but in this case they worked out quite well.  I could easily traverse the in game world and do what I needed to do.  Despite these good things, the story was so-so, only giving an excuse for dong the games missions.

The gameplay is where the game shined.  The controls are slick and well designed.  The layout used the Wii remote in a horizontal position.  The D-pad attacks while the “2” and “B” buttons are your speed controls.  You tilt the remote to maneuver up and down and side to side.   The “1” button  is the lock-on which keeps your view on either an enemy or an objective.  All in all, the controller user interface work out well.  I never had the problem of hitting the wrong buttons or having to contort my hand to do what I needed to do.  I could still fly with ease and control the bird with good maneuverability.  Now, I wasn’t able to turn on a dime, but I could move where I needed to and complete all of the objectives.  The flying controls are good and use the Wii’s motion control well.  As long as your movements are subtle, the Wii remote will register them just fine.

Prowess in LOTG is like your magic meter.  It allows you to do a special corkscrew attack and is also used to send out your wingmen.    When looking at an enemy (not necessarily locked-on) you can hit down on the D-pad and your wingman will engage the enemy.  It’s a nice way to take care of hoards of enemies.   The corkscrew can be used as both an attack and a way to gain a boost of speed.  You can easily gain prowess by killing enemies or diving.  You can also get later game armor that continuously increases prowess.

Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’hoole is set up as a simple “mission” based system.  Each mission is contained within a replayable level which allows the player to try again for better times and scores.  Each mission is “ranked” based on the player’s performance.  For instance, a particular level may give you a gold medal for completing the mission in 4 minutes, silver if in 3 minutes, and bronze if you simply beat the mission.  So if you completely messed up or got lost in a mission, you would not necessarily fail, just not get the gold or silver.  That is great for casual gamers or kids who are just playing because it is fun.  Also, all the missions followed one of four formulas.  The first is the classic “kill enemy X.”   Pretty simple.  The next is that you have to use “hot coals” to destroy or light something, such as obelisks to catapults to torches.   Some missions, however, do have ways in which you could fail without dying.  These are the dreaded “escort missions.”  Yet they were not too bad and I usually beat it in a couple tries.  The fourth kind  are “chase” missions.  These are similar to escort missions but instead you are to follow an enemy or group of enemies to a specific location (sometimes you follow a friendly).  The only time the chase missions ever got annoying was one instance where you could not get too close or else they would see you and fail.  It was  hard to maintain proper distance.

The only really irritating mission was a race mission.  Basically the game makes you speed through a very tight course where you fail by missing too many of the closely set checkpoints.  I failed many times until I gave up on getting any sort of good time only to eventually get lost and had to rediscover my way onto the course.  Thankfully there was only one of these and just required a little bit of patience.

The story in LOTG was decent.  It is a typical fantasy story.  At the game start, I had the option between 4 different types of owls, each with their own sets of stats, and their own look.  The voice acting was the same, as was the story.  You are the son of a disgraced warrior and want to prove yourself when, lo and behold, the bad guys come and give you such a chance.  The story an is usually an excuse  for the actions.  However, the overarching story was actually good and the final confrontation is worth playing through.  The pacing, through the game was slow, as there is a descent and unexpected twist, but it was mostly unexpected because I forgot who a certain character was.  Still, even if it was a bit cliche, it was interesting.

The story was not without its inconsistencies.  One in particular came from one of your wingman.  He is your friend who is sent on the mission with you and he does not think very highly of you.  He is constantly complaining in cut scenes and side comments, but when you get into battle he acts like you two are “buddy buddy” and says stuff like, “Anything for you, Shard.”  The other is that the bad owls are gathering what I concluded to be owl “kryptonite” to take over the world, or at least the owl world, and they were using other flying creatures such as bats and crows, yet their names are the “Pure Ones.”  I was just a little confused on their motive I guess.  They were even using owl/crow cross breeds.  Very strange for a group called the “Pure Ones.”

The graphics were what I expected on the Wii.  Good but not great.  In fact they may have been a little subpar for what the Wii is capable off.  The landscapes were bland, but the owls looked good and the game even had good water effects.  Still, there were no really graphical bugs.  Yet the game did slow down at times due to too much activity on the screen at once.   That  surely was the reason for low graphics then.  The soundtrack on the other hand was phenomenal.  Very fitting for a surreal fantasy world of owls.  In fact, one of the songs got a nomination for Best Original Song in Video Games from Hollywood Music in Media.

All in all, the game was good but a little disconnected and hard to follow simply for the lack of continuous narrative.  The gameplay was good if not too easy.  The world may have been a bit bland, but the music made up for that a bit.  I enjoyed playing this game, aside from a couple irritating missions.  This is not necessarily the game I would buy for a gamer friend, but something I would definitely buy for a younger child or an enthusiast of the movie.

A copy of Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’hoole was provided to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.

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Author: Evan J Stark View all posts by

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