The Movies: Stunts & Effects Review

Back in January, we gave the original The Movies a 7.0. While the game offered an impressively intuitive interface (dig the alliteration), options galore, and truly enjoyable gameplay, the title’s micromanagement necessity and gruelingly long time frame limited its potential and appeal. While The Movies didn’t bomb, it was not the runaway smash hit hoped for by Peter Molyneux and his team at Lionhead Studios.

Months after the game’s release, the console versions of the title were scrapped, and Lionhead was purchased by Microsoft. In the words of Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, "bummer."

Now, The Movies for PC is back with The Movies: Stunts & Effects Expansion Pack. The pack promises, well, the addition of stunts and effects to your films. There are a scant splattering of changes to the studio lot unlocked with the expansion. A few sets, a couple of new facilities to build, and a new class of employees are all the casual player will gain from purchasing the software. The meat of the expansion lies in the custom movie making features of the game.

Included with the expansion are a head-turning number of new features. Custom camera placement and the all-important stunts and effects are just the most prominent additions included with the expansion pack. The budding director within you now has the ability to place the camera almost anywhere within a scene, and panning and zoom effects are possible with the add-on. If you really, really want to pan past a Giant Chicken destroying downtown Metropolis, or zoom tight on the face of your mutant as he stumbles around on your blue or green screened set, your wishes will come true.

The most immersive additions in Stunts & Effects involve your stuntmen. While not as demanding as Actors, your newly-created stuntmen require attention just the same. Like their name implies, stuntmen sub-in for your actors on the more dangerous portions of filming. You don’t want your #2 rated actor to char himself in that explosion, so you must assign a stuntman to that actor for the duration of the film. If you DO want to char your actors, simply leave a stuntman unassigned to them, they’ll do their own stunts, and you’ll probably have to send them to the hospital (a new facility included for when those stunts don’t go quite as planned).

Much like actors in the game can improve their skills within a certain film genre, stuntmen must train to improve their stunt skills. New stuntmen simply can’t fall off a building as well as a veteran can, and to risk it will probably put them in that hospital I mentioned. If you’re like me, and stick to the profitable action movie genre, the hospital will become as familiar to you as the casting office until your stuntmen gain enough experience.

New scenes have been added, and while many compliment your newfound ability to be an action movie legend, there are plenty which work independently of the eponymous stunts and effects. You’ll also notice new costumes and props have weaved their way seamlessly into The Movies.

The main problem with Stunts & Effects stem from the lack of tangible additions to general gameplay. Sure, you can do a lot more with custom movie making, but the sim junkies who love The Movies for its addicting and lengthy gameplay will be left in the dust with this expansion. The title is a love letter to the fans who populate the game’s online communities, uploading their movies and viewing other’s releases. The Movies still suffers from micromanagement, and the addition of another employee class, one that requires additional input and attention, no less, just complicates the situation further.

So, while The Movies: Stunts & Effects Expansion Pack offers plenty for the hardcore moviemakers who compose the original release’s main fanbase, more casual players will gain little from the expansion pack.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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