The levels are strictly linear, though it's easy to get lost because the game often does a poor job of explaining your objectives. There are also occasions where the icon for context-sensitive areas doesn't appear, even if you're standing where you should be. An arrow will sometimes appear below your character to help point you in the right direction, but it almost seems random as to when it appears. You have no control over the camera, which means you'll often get turned around--it cuts from one angle to the next with no warning (this makes the stealth sections extra frustrating). None of your objectives are particularly interesting, a fact made worse by the copious amount of backtracking you'll be doing. You'll occasionally get to play some minigames such as Pirate Dice and Poker. These are a strictly optional, but it's a nice way to break up some of the monotony of combat. The PSP version even supports ad hoc play and game sharing, as well as boasting Hearts as a third minigame. On the PlayStation 2, PC, and Wii, competitive multiplayer lets you take on swarms of enemies in timed challenges, and you can even duel against a friend. Their inclusion is a nice gesture, but the results are underwhelming.
Of the PC, PSP, PS2, and Wii versions, At World's End looks best on the PC, though that's not saying a whole lot. The frame rate is generally steady on all versions, and there are some nice-looking attack animations, but there's very little else to get excited about. None of the versions have very good texture work, though the PSP's are about what you'd expect from the system and the PC's are at a higher resolution. The story is told via cutscenes that use the in-game engine, and while the characters do resemble their movie counterparts, they look quite poor--especially on the PSP, where their mouths don't move. The Wii version supports widescreen (as do all the other versions) and progressive scan, but it fails to impress in any way and looks exactly the same as the PlayStation 2 version.
The game's audio is solid, albeit unspectacular. You won't be hearing Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, or Orlando Bloom, but the soundalikes do an admirable job of filling their shoes. It's just too bad there isn't more dialogue to flesh out the story. The game uses the movies' soundtracks to punctuate the action, fading in and out depending on the situation. It's not the best score you've ever heard, but it fits the game well. The sound effects are good, but there's not enough variety to them. Granted, there's only so much that can be done with clanging swords, but there could have been more variety to the catchphrases that your foes yell when they attack.
When it's all said and done, At World's End is a very by-the-book approach to a movie-based game. It has, and lets you play as, all the characters you'd want to play; it doesn't deviate from the movies' plots too much; and it takes you to many of the locations you see in the films. While those are good things, the game really would have benefited by taking some risks. The biggest problem is that you're playing as a cool character in an exotic location, but you're not doing anything interesting, just running around picking up items and hitting the attack button endlessly. Even if you're a huge fan of the Pirates trilogy, you'll probably want to pass on At World's End, especially the Wii version due to its terrible control scheme.
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