Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension (PS3) Review

Based on the Disney channel movie and inspired by the TV series, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension arrives on the PlayStation 3 during the slowest time of the year for gaming – summer.  Having reviewed my fair share of the Disney based video games over the years my expectations were, needless to say, not very high.  That being said, I have watched the Phineas and Ferb Disney Channel cartoon from time to time with my daughter and found the show humorous and entertaining, so I was curious to see if the game could deliver an experience on par with the show or perhaps even enhance the experience many have when tuning into that crazy cartoon.  Well, after some playtime with the game, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension does deliver on many levels and younger fans of the show will undoubtedly enjoy this game, but more mature gamers with no kids will likely just want to pass this one up.

Much like previous Disney games, the game is light on features and the focus is primarily with the single player campaign.  It comes at a reduced price so you never feel like you are getting ripped off and in this day in age with the economy the way it is, so parents may be relieved they can pick up a new release PS3 game at a reduced price.  As an added bonus on the PS3 version, there are some TV episodes included, so kids can watch Phineas and Ferb before or after playing the game.

The game’s narrative has Phineas and Ferb in the Second Dimension and they must find their way back to Danville.  You travel with the two characters as they journey through never seen before dimensions and engage in varied combat against Doctor D and his evil robots using power packed gadgets.  From there Phineas and Ferb embark on a journey to save the Tri-State area.  There is a bit more to the storyline than that, but that is Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension in a nutshell.  It is a well written story and there are some humorous moments scattered throughout the game.  I didn’t find myself paying too much attention to the story though as I was more interested in blasting enemies, exploring the levels, and solving puzzles.

Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension only contains a single player story, but you can drop in and drop out of the game at anytime with a second player and play the game co-operatively.  My daughter and I had a chance to play a good chunk of the game together and I must say that this aspect of the game was a blast.  By simply pressing the start button on the second controller, you can jump in and control the second player.  When you drop out of the game, the AI takes control of the second player as you progress through the single player campaign.  You are never alone in Phineas and Ferb whether it be with another player or along side the AI.

Throughout the game you can play with up to 8 of the shows characters, but for the most part you progress along with Phineas and Ferb.  Swapping between each character is accomplished with ease.  You can switch between each character to take advantage of their particular strengths, but I found this to be unnecessary as making it through the various levels and enemies by sticking with one character is very doable.  Besides, the various characters strengths are so subtle it really doesn’t impact the gameplay all that much.  Many may find the difficulty a tad too easy but younger gamers will love it knowing as they will never really get stuck at any point in the game.

The game is a linear experience featuring 24 levels and the developers did a wonderful job at mixing up the gameplay.  Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension features platforming sequences, shooter action sequences, mini-games, flying segments, and puzzle solving elements.  You never get too bored in the game as just before a segment becomes a tad monotonous, you move on to the next one.  Whether it be playing through an old time 1928-style cartoon world, battling through a lawn gnome land, or fending off giant gelatin goo monsters, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension manages to spice things up quite a bit and the entertainment value is high.

Besides the varied gameplay elements, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension does offer up a degree of exploration and collecting.  You can explore the levels and gather components, golden tickets, and figures.  Collecting components, for instance, are used for purchasing Chips or Mods at the workbench so you can upgrade your weaponry, or what the game refers to as gadgets.  Chips can boost any gadget they are attached to by improving rate of fire, recharge, damage or capacity.  Mods are for specific gadgets.  Some Mods boost a weapons power and some boost a gadgets wow factor with funny sounds.   It’s pretty neat to see your weapons get more powerful as you make your way through the game.

For the most part, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension is a stunning looking game.  The game’s colours are bright and vibrant.  The world of Phineas and Ferb truly comes to life and in many ways the game’s visuals seem almost on par with the show.  I almost felt like I was inside the TV spectacle.  My daughter was also impressed with how good the game looked.  Phineaus, Ferb, Agent P, Candice, and Dr. Doofenshmirtz all look identical to their cartoon counterparts.  The level of detail is simply fantastic.  The enemies also look very good; although, a little more variety would have been nice as there are times when you do get a little too much of the same enemies coming after you in hordes.  The game’s environments are somewhat large, very colourful and visually pop from the screen.  It is certainly one of the more colourful games I have played on the PS3 to date.  The only downside to the visuals is the cut-scenes, which seem a tad murky.  It almost appears as if they are a port of the Wii versions cut-scenes.  There are not many games where you can say the gameplay’s visuals are actually better than the cut-scene’s visuals, but with Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension this is certainly the case.  Regardless, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension scores high marks in the visuals department as the game offers up plenty of visual candy.

Much like the games visuals, the sound is equally top notch.  The voice work is solid and features all the familiar character sounds you hear in the cartoon show.  Even Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s annoying and grating voice is spot on.  I am not sure if the original actors do the voice work, but regardless I was impressed with the voice work and also the humour as it stays true to the TV show.  The music is decent but very forgettable with the exception of the game’s opening music video montage.  The music does effectively amps-up when the action becomes more intense and settles down during some of the puzzle solving sequences and other not so chaotic moments.  Other in-game sound effects are decent and can also be humorous.  Some of the customizable weapons make some unique and comical sounds when firing.  For instance, you can make your weapon ‘moo’ every time you fire it.  It is these small little things that make Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension an enjoyable and great sounding game

Overall, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension does exactly what it intends to do, offer up an entertaining game for Phineas and Ferb fans with vibrant visuals and good sound.  The gameplay offers up plenty of variety and it is enjoyable too.  While mature gamers without kids will likely want to take a pass on this one; Phineas and Ferb fans should definitely enjoy the game.  Parents who are looking for a game to play alongside their kids need look no further as Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension’s co-operative gameplay is definitely worth the price of admission.

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