Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Koch Media
Release Date: 08/25/2009
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Climbing a mountain can be tough, but climbing one of the highest and most remote is even tougher. You play as a man named Eric who is destined to find his brother after he went missing during a mountain climb to find a secret Tibetan treasure. What he finds along his journey is a dark past and strange company, but mainly finding the strength within himself to complete his journey.
The story is decent at best but has many plot holes, awful storyboard cut scenes, and terrible voice acting, but still enough to keep you trucking along. The game plays a lot with the supernatural and Tibetan history and lore which is nice, but it’s easily forgettable. You never know what the secret treasure is ultimately for, who the expedition company is that’s involved, and many other questions that are never answered.
Nevertheless, you basically walk around various buildings and ruins as you slowly climb this giant mountain. The game changes slowly as you reach the peak with different gameplay elements tossed in, and I have to give the game some credit for mixing things up, but it doesn’t do any of these things very well. Let’s start with simply moving. Eric moves like he’s constipated and the controls are pretty bad. Bump into a wall and he sticks to it, the camera will get stuck behind objects as you can’t control it, and combat is pretty bad as well.
You have a pickaxe that has ancient items attached to it with powers that allows you to access your “third eye” and see ghosts so you can kill them. Each encounter is arena-based so you’re stuck in a small room with these things. Holding down C allows you to enter this mode, but you can’t move and Eric’s shoulder blocks the entire left half of the screen as the FOV is too low and it’s hard to see. You can see the reticle through Eric, but not the enemies. The ghosts have various attacks and powers, but overall they mainly mob you and attack you the same. The goal is to shoot the projectiles from the pick to weaken the enemies enough to enter a quick-time event of aimlessly flailing the Wii Remote around to kill them. Miss the even and you have to attack them one more time to make the prompt appear. This is by far some of the worst Wii controls I’ve experienced as the prompts require punching and swinging action, but no matter how well I did them – either fast or slow – It would only register half the time. To make matters worse, this is the reason why I died half the time. Then there’s the fact that you can’t move while aiming so these are 1997 tank controls in a modern game. There isn’t even a quick-turn button so I can quickly run away and swing back around. I have to aim and fully turn all the way around and then the enemy is back on me again. It’s the worst.
Let’s also mention the two areas where you have to meditate and swing the Wii Remote around. I spent 10 minutes just trying to find the spot where the game wants me to be and then hold that position and keep swinging until the screen faded. I’ve never experienced such unresponsiveness and inaccuracy in the controls. Were these even tested? As you progress further into the game the enemies get harder and there are more of them. You fight probably 100 ghosts just in the second half of the game…that’s a lot of unresponsive Wii flinging.
With all of that aside, the game is poorly paced with minutes of endless walking and climbing that is slow and tedious and the checkpoints are placed poorly. I would die during a boss fight just to fight the ghosts leading up to the boss again instead of the checkpoint is right before the boss. Dying isn’t really an issue if you’re quick as killing an enemy gives you health, but there are incense you can pick up to use at healing stations if you need it.
Outside of this, the visuals are pretty decent while pushing the Wii way too hard with slowdown that is frequent and runs in the single digits it still looks decent. The audio sounds like a PS2 game with the same footstep sound through the whole game and low-quality audio bites. I honestly feel like this was developed for the GameCube and was pushed to the Wii last minute.
Overall, is Cursed Mountain worth playing? Yes, and no for many reasons. If you are running out of games to play on your Wii then go for it, or if you’re just getting into the Wii then it’s a good pick-up, but what experience do you get out of it? Just to kill time really. The story isn’t memorable, it’s not scary, and the controls suck, so mainly get it just because you need another Wii game to play.