The latest CG animal movie turned game fails to break away from the herd
Forget Chinese zodiacs: 2006 is the year of the CG animal. This year it seems like more CG based talking animal movies have hit theaters than in every other year in history combined. With Barnyard, Over the Hedge, The Wild, and Ice Age 2, it's getting hard to keep them all straight (and we still have Happy Feet to look forward to). This craze hasn't gone unnoticed in the gaming world, as Ubisoft attempts to jump on the movie tie-in gravy train with Open Season.
Open Season follows the basic premise of the same titled forthcoming movie. You play as Boog, a domesticated bear from the town of Timberline, who suddenly finds himself kicked back into the wilderness on the eve of hunting season. Boog must quickly learn to fend for himself in the wild while avoiding gun-happy hunters. A chatty mule deer named Elliot fills the requisite sidekick position (think Donkey from Shrek but with antlers... well, one antler). The object of the game is to navigate your way through the forest back to Timberline, so that Boog can continue living the good life in his park ranger friend's garage.
The game is broken up into a series of mini-adventures, mostly involving gathering items or scaring away hunters. Doing favors for different species of animals (skunks, squirrels, beavers, etc.) allows you to ally with them and take advantage of their special skills. You can throw a rabbit on a hunter's face and it will dig its little claws in and disarm him, or use a bra (yes, a woman's bra) to sling porcupines at them. Almost any animal can be used as a projectile once you've allied with their kind.