PS3 Review – Planet 51

December 14, 2009Written by Sebastian Moss

Planet 51

Games based on movies generally don’t receive the best critical response. The limited budget and small developing time is problematic and usually causes numerous problems.¬†Planet 51 is created by Commandos developers, Pyro Studios, and is set in an open sandbox city, so it has the hallmarks of what could be a good game.¬† Does Planet 51 fall victim to the movie-based game curse?

From the very onset, the game begins to show its flaws; the cut scenes are poorly created and the lips are out of sync. Characters often talk for several minutes just to say one word. You play as various different characters from the movie enacting scenes that are familiar to the film as well as some new ones, nearly all of which are driving based in one way or another.

The problem with the driving in the game is that it feels clunky and nearly impossible to control. Boost is virtually ineffective, and the turning lacks realistic feedback. Missions such as mowing the lawn are painful to maneuver and terribly difficult to control as the game seemingly refuses to acknowledge your input.


Being an open world game does add some fun-factor, Pyro Studios accurately replicates the world from the movie and provides a rather large roaming ground. Unfortunately, the area is rather sterile, with little to do, and worse yet, nothing to see. The towns in the game do pull off the feel of a futuristic 1950’s but each theme is repeated ad nauseam, which waters down one of the most redeeming factors of this title.

The repetition and lack of variety is one of the biggest drawbacks in the game, every car plays and feels the same. Everyone seems to look virtually the same, and almost every level and mission follows exactly the same formula. Even the game’s voice-over appears to be “phoned in” as you listen to the majority of characters spout off the same three lines for the entire game.

While the plot does manage to interweave the movie’s script into its storyline, there are numerous times in which the game skips from one area to the next, or leaves holes in character dialogue. This problem is only made worse when actual clips from the movie are mixed in, often out of place and rather randomly.

The game does have a few bright points, however, as races can be fun, the destruction derby does have its highlights, and multiplayer can be enjoyable. But be warned, split-screen action can put a damper on the framerate. The sterility, repetition and general lack of variety drag down the game and damage any possibility of any more than mere fleeting enjoyment for the title.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Sticks faithfully to the movie

Very repetitive

Little to do