Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures Wii U User Review
Super Gamer Dude
Many 3D platformers have been produced for the handheld consoles but there has been a definite lack of these, especially for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, or at least good ones. In the past, the PlayStation systems have had banner franchises like Jak and Daxter or Ratchet and Clank, but those franchises have fallen by the wayside, meaning that anyone who does not own a Nintendo system is often hard pressed to find a 3D platformer to play.
Microsoft in particular has tried to fill this gap in their lineup multiple times, failing more spectacularly every single time. Back in the PS2/Xbox era there was one platformer that came out both places and was actually pretty decent, Pac-Man World. These games were okay, but never really stood out that much.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures carries this torch under a different name. Everything about Ghostly Adventures has the makings of a perfectly serviceable 3D platformer, but when you start trying to piece all of the parts together they never quite click together in the way that you would expect them to.
For starters, the developers of Ghostly Adventures decided that they needed to create a story to try and explain why Pac-Man is in a 3D platformer. As might be expected, the story it absolutely terrible, it takes place on a planet named Pac-World and the main villain is named Betrayus. Pac-Man is voiced to sound like a 10 year old child and everyone else surrounding him sounds like they are at about the same age. The voice acting is awful, the story is awful, the character design is awful, everything about the game's aesthetics is just about as bad as it can get.
Even the environments that the levels take place in are about as generic as you could possibly get. Every different type of level feels like it was pulled directly from a 3D platformer checklist. There is a city world, an ice world and a jungle world among others, each with almost the exact same platforming gameplay design in a different set of window dressing.
Sure, aesthetics might make up the vast majority of what makes a 3D platformer stand out from the other ones on the market, but sometimes gameplay can help one of these titles distinguish itself as well. Sadly, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is not one of those titles. The game is extremely generic in the way it plays, but it does not bear much resemblance to modern 3D platformers.
Instead, Ghostly Adventures seems to deliberately choose to imitate 3D platformers of yore - perhaps the ones that originated the genre. The camera is clunky and unwieldy in a way that I have not seen since the original Spyro games, and the platforming itself does not fare much better.
Sure, Pac-Man Ghostly Adventures is a completely passable game in just about every single way, but that does not excuse it from criticism. Pac-Man was once a franchise that was always making excellent titles, and it seemed like games such as Pac-Man CE DX were going to be a return to those times.
Ghostly Adventures shows that Namco still expects to be able to wring money from a franchise that is losing more and more cache over the years by simply making a bad version of a modern Sonic platformer and slapping Pac-Man in it. This game does nothing to improve the 3D platformer on non-Nintendo platforms, and I honestly can't see a future in which any Pac-Man game does that. If you have kids that are really into Pac-Man, this isn't terrible, but everyone else should stay away.