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The Golden Compass (Xbox 360)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.

User Reviews

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The Press Says

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Game Chronicles
Despite the mere average visuals and sound presentation (music not withstanding), The Golden Compass was a fun adventure and a fantastic gameplay experience that took me the better part of two days to complete. Having not read the books nor seen the movie, I cannot say how well the game stacks up with or complements those other works, but on its own merits, any gamer of any age would really have to try hard to not have a great time playing The Golden Compass.
GamePro (US)
I have to stress again that the game isn't perfect. However, it does a surprisingly adequate job recapturing some of the magic of the source material. Despite some glaring flaws, the game is worth a look if you loved the novels and the movie.
De nombreux petits défauts, notamment au niveau de la réalisation, viennent un peu ternir l'ensemble d'un jeu qui fourmille de bonnes idées. Ces aventures en compagnie de Lyra, Pan ou Iorek n'en restent pas moins fraîches et sincèrement distrayantes pour autant que l'on soit amateur de fantasy ou de programmes jeunesse.
Official XBox Magazine
Fun mostly for devotees of the book or move, the game suffers from touchy controls; an inability to maneuver the camera; and twitch mini-games that encumber more than they enhance. There's no reason to play The Golden Compass unless the movie or book absolutely monopolizes your imagination.
Cheat Code Central
Despite its uninspired gameplay, the simple tasks and challenges may appeal to a younger audience, especially those that've seen the film. But if you're part of the "+" demographic in The Golden Compass' "E10+" rating, then you'll likely be bored soon after Iorek's opening wolf-whuppin' battle sequence. To the game's credit, it does represent the movie pretty well through it's visual presentation, cinematic score, and likenesses and voice work provided by many of the film's stars. The movie clips are also a nice touch. The film's and book's youngest fans may be entertained by this one for several hours, but most Xbox 360 owners will only see The Golden Compass as a chance to score and easy 700 or so Achievement Points--a "Golden" opportunity for greedy game-point-hungering gamers.
Computer Bild Spiele
Die Erwartungen waren groß und wurden leider nicht erfüllt: "Der Goldene Kompass" reiht sich als Spiel in die Riege der typischen Lizenzumsetzungen ein, die nicht an die Vorlage heranreichen. Die Last schien einfach zu groß: In dem Bemühen, möglichst alle Aspekte aus Film und Buch unterzubringen, gelang nichts davon sonderlich gut. So sind weder die Actioneinlagen noch die Kompassfragen unterhaltsam geworden - und oftmals sind die Spielstufen auch sehr unterschiedlich in Sachen Schwierigkeitsgrad und Logik. So können Sie zwar bei Fragen an den Kompass durchaus richtige Symbole erraten, die Ihnen eigentlich noch fehlen, aber obwohl das Spiel sie als richtig anzeigt, merkt es sich nicht, dass Sie die Bedeutung kennen und führt sie nach wie vor als unbekannt - nur einer von vielen kleine Fehlern und Merkwürdigkeiten.
Jeux Vidéo Network
La Boussole d’or ne manque ni d’ambition ni d’idées. Pourtant, la médiocrité de sa réalisation, sa platitude et son dirigisme castrateur ont raison des meilleures volontés. à réserver aux fans ? à la limite.
Game Informer Magazine
It doesn't take an amber spyglass to see that this shameless cash-in is composed of the darkest materials in gaming.
Initially, the wide variety of gameplay elements make it seem like there's going to be a lot to do in The Golden Compass. Unfortunately, most of these facets are too repetitive, too frustrating, or too boring to keep anyone's interest, young or old. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, the game is just the latest in a string of movie tie-ins that sacrifice good gameplay for the sake of a quick buck.
Gamer 2.0
There’s not really much more to say about the game other than just ranting about our horrible experience with it. Surely, that would bore you, our respected readers. We’re actually somewhat sorry that you’re being exposed to this game in the first place. Please, look elsewhere for gaming if you want to do yourselves a favor.
If I am being lenient, The Golden Compass may hold a passing interest for the least demanding of gamers. Children under ten might find a modicum of fun amongst the varying game modes and will probably enjoy any time spent controlling Iorek - he is a giant armoured polar bear after all. Remove leniency however and the game is simply shocking; it is a poorly put together mishmash of ideas that never gels. Ugly, repetitive, and painfully boring, its mercifully short length of whether you are a fan of the series, young or old, this game simply isn't worth your time or your money.
Even if you were completely charmed by Philip Pullman's work or enjoyed the movie adaptation, there's absolutely no reason to give this game a try. Even the music, as pretty as it is, can't redeem such poor gameplay and atrocious presentation. There have been a ton of great game releases recently, so just give one of those a try instead. We assure you that you're not missing anything by sitting this one out.
The most compelling part of The Golden Compass is its setting. That's not a surprise, given that the game is based on the film adaptation of Philip Pullman's popular novel of the same name. Certainly, fans of the His Dark Materials series will see the charm in exploring the rooftops of Jordan College, bounding over the ice atop warrior bear Iorek Byrnison, and saving the kidnapped children from Bolvangar. Unfortunately, it's a shallow sort of charm, afforded by the book's legacy rather than gameplay, which for the most part serves as interactive space-filler between the animated cut-scenes and short clips from the film.
Game Informer Magazine
If you were hoping to be swept up in the narrative, this game also ignores critical plot points from Philip Pullman’s brilliant story, leaving much guesswork to the gamer. It pains me to say this, but turn off your TV and just read the book or head to your local theater. This is a story everyone must experience, just don’t try interacting with it.
Whether you’re a fan of the book, the movie or both, it would be unwise to invest any amount of money (even the cost of a rental) in The Golden Compass. Above the annoyances and lack of originality is the absence of something every game needs to survive: fun gameplay.
DO NOT BUY THIS GAME. I can’t say it any plainer than that, if you are after points then that’s one thing but otherwise don’t waste your cash. The fact that this was the tenth best selling game (over all formats) of 2007 makes me die a little inside.
30 (UK)
The ideas aren't all bad and on paper this must have sounded like a rich and promising game. However, the game far overreaches itself and the coding, visuals and execution of those ideas is comprehensively unpolished. The problems with The Golden Compass are, of course, symptomatic of wider problems with the cancerous videogame tie-in genre. Trying to turn each narrative scene from a film into an interactive game is an exercise in wrong-headed futility. While movie studios continue to want a tie-in videogame hitting shop shelves on the same day that the movie itself hits cinemas, the quality of these games will never improve. Had the game had another six months to a year of development time, many of its problems and rough edges might have been smoothed and the score below perhaps doubled, a fact that will bring little comfort to either the development team or little Timmy this Christmas.
There are a lot of reasons that can be given for why most movie-based video games fall short of expectations. There’s a shorter development time…too much (or too little) influence from the studios…the list goes on. Still, there’s no excuse for just how bad and unfinished The Golden Compass turned out to be. This is one experience that should have been left in the theatres.
With a disjointed storyline, lack of reliable controls and faulted presentation, The Golden Compass is yet another example of how not to produce a movie-licensed video game. It'll only lead you into a world of trouble.
The Golden Compass isn't the worst game based on a movie, but it's close. It's a combination of uninspired platforming, poorly implemented mini-games and slow and broken storytelling. Some sections require forced replays in order for players to understand what to do next, because the game does a poor job of explaining what's going on. It's not even worth collecting the Achievement Points on Xbox 360, as they are distributed in a way that forces players to endure the most tedious elements of the game. People will have even less to show for the time spent on other versions. Regardless of platform, there are far better titles young gamers can play.
The Review Busters
After playing this game I really want to forget about Sega, but they did make the Dreamcast after all. Shiny and Sega have made a perfect example of a piss poor movie based video game; it sucks from start to finish. There is a lot of material in here that will make you wonder if the creators even saw the movie. Is this the ET game all over again? No, as bad as this game is children should enjoy it. If you want to hate The Golden Compass even more then play this game but let me warn you there is a reason why this review here is one of the only ones available on the Internet...
Maxim Magazine
Overall, this game feels like it was cobbled together in about 20 minutes by three rummed-up one-eyed monkeys
Game Revolution
If you haven’t read the book (or watched the movie, I suppose) you definitely can’t understand the story. Without a mountain of patience the gameplay will just upset you. Absent music on your 360, the game’s tunes will just bore you. The voice acting will confuse and infuriate you no matter what. It’s the sort of game you should be payed to play, not the other way around - there’s simply no tangible reason to buy The Golden Compass.