You’re in the Movies is a title that does exactly what it says on the tin (or box in this case), it is a game that puts you – fellow gamer – in a movie. Published by Codemasters and developed by Brighton based developer Zoe Mode, You’re in the Movies plans to gather players of all ages in a hilarious attempt in making an absolute fool of themselves and their friends and family this holiday season.
There are not many games in the Xbox 360’s catalogue that make full use of the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera. If you just count the titles that use the camera to control your motions in game, you’ll be counting just a trio of titles. This year Zoe Mode has decided to step up to the challenge and make it four, by bring you ‘You’re in the Movies’, an exclusive party game for the Xbox 360.
Now, I say challenge because, lets be honest here, Vision Camera based games have been pretty awful. After playing through this title at a recent event, and having a ton of laughs in the process, I was looking forward to playing this one. Sadly though, using this game in real-world conditions causes this game to stumble on its first take. First things first though, let me tell you a little more about the game.
Its safe to say Your in the Movies is a game aimed at the casual market; one of many springing up on the console this year. As a causal game should be, the concept of You’re in the Movies is very simple: Setup the bundled Xbox LIVE Vision Camera, clear some room, grab a few friends, family, some random people off the street or much less exciting, just yourself and fire up the game. After a short setup process of setting up the focus, lighting and capturing the background, you get to choose what type of movie you and your team of budding wannabe actors would like to feature themselves in.
The initial range of B Movies to choose from is fairly limited, though by playing the first batch of available movies will continue to unlock additional ones in the list. A handful of movie genres are covered here: from Action, Horror, Disaster, Sci-Fi and Classic. Each genre has a collection of movies tied to them, each with their own theme, which helps to keep things fresh. The twist in this game is that you and your pals will be partaking in a few challenges set by the game’s director, who will ask for you and sometimes a partner’s time on the set in order to complete at least two challenges in each of the four rounds. Each challenge will keep you guessing as to how they will use the video captured in the final movie. For example: in a particular challenge you are pushing balls through a hoop off the side of the screen, the camera will capture you doing this pushing motion, ok simple enough, but in the movie itself this video capture of you will carry all manner of effects as you see yourself in the film casting magic fireballs from out of your hands. It’s certainly something that is best seen than described, but you’ll just have to trust me in saying that it will raise a smile or a few laughs as you see the final result of all your and your pal’s actions in the previous challenges used to re-enact something completely different within the movie.
Sadly this is all well and good when you go through a few play-through, but then everything starts to get a little stale after playing through all 30 movies a few times, doing the same challenges where you just know how the end result will turn out in the end. On the other hand though, you can use this to your advantage by creating some rather unique movies as you go against the directors wishes and capture yourself doing something completely different than what is asked of you. The end result can be even more hilarious than what was originally intended.
With all 30 movies exhausted you can choose to have a go at being the director yourself. In the Director Studio this is where you can create your own movies. From here you can record footage, select individual clips from all the other movies and even record your own audio. Once in the Directors Studio the producer guides you through the process, from choosing to load an existing movie script or by creating a new one for scratch. With a script loaded you can choose from certain shots from the movie, record individual scenes and reinsert them back into the movie, along with recording your own audio through the headset or inserting soundtracks taken from the game. As seen in the main part of the game, when you’re happy with your blockbuster you can then save the script to play in the game, save the movie to watch at a later time or upload the movie to the Movie Theatre, from which you can then download onto your PC and share via the video with your pals. Overall, this is quite a nice touch and does give some longevity to the game as a whole, and with enough effort you could create some interesting movies. It’s a shame the developers didn’t take it further by being able to upload your own still background images from your hard-drive or USB stick, to really create some quite crazy movies, ideal for tapping the YouTube generation out there.
Sadly all this fun is cut short due to the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera itself. Its grainy, low resolution and general lack of performance in capturing you most of the time can be unacceptable. It is only when you get the conditions perfect do you really appreciate the game and how everything works so well. Sadly though, we don’t always have a shadow less green-screen wall set up in our gaming dens, so more than most of the time you will find yourself on screen with holes through your body. This not only ruins the visual appeal to the game but also how many of the sub-game challenges work. Each physical challenge, from washing cloths, riding scooters through to covering your partner with mud, they all record your movement to judge your performance. So if your swinging your arms and half of them are cut off due to being badly captured your end results will score very low in these games. Setting up your background correctly can make or break your experience with this game, and taking the time to do so will frustrate your eager party of actors to a point where they will start suggesting alternative group activity games, such as Lips, Guitar Hero or Rock Band to fulfil their enjoyment.
Your in the Movies is an enjoyable concept that could have been much better. In the right conditions it’s great, but in most cases the conditions and output are never ideal and can be a game in it self to get right. Add these issues to the fairly long save times to create the final movie and this leaves everyone playing more frustrated and disappointed with the end results. With these issues aside, the first few hours are very enjoyable and the bundled camera is a perk, but in the end you’ll only be dusting this game off when you have a few friends and family ready for action on the set.