My Horse & Me 2 Review
Written : Monday, January 12, 2009
By: Lee Abrahams (GT: jackanape)
Once or twice a year there will be a game released of such quality and anticipation that literally thousands, if not millions, of people will be waiting with bated breath for it to arrive. Queuing long into the night, with their pre-order receipts clutched feverishly, these gamers know that they are in for a treat once they finally get their hands on a copy of such an illustrious title. This ... is not such a game. In fact, it is so far at the opposite end of the spectrum that it would be impossible to even know it existed if it weren’t for the horrified screams you’ll hear echoing into the night whenever some poor unfortunate decides to play it. At least that’s what the friendly policeman said when he knocked at my door.
The appeal of this game is hard to fathom. As surely it can have only been made for seven year old girls who long to own a horse of their own, obviously mum and dad have decided that buying a computer game is EXACTLY the same as having the real thing. It would save a massive amount of expense, that is true, but I can’t see this game standing in for the real thing for very long. Perhaps some kind of role play is in order - imagine I’m a seven year old girl (I’ve been called worse).
The customisation options are practically LIMITLESS.
Gosh, I sure hope Santa brings me a horsey this year. So that I can love it and care for it and use it to belittle all my annoying friends that have their own horses dammit…….whoops, slipped out of character there. Ahem, I’d love to be able to groom and care for my own horse and take it out for rides whenever I could. That would be super fun. Let’s go and see if Santa has been nice to me this year as I was awfully upset with that Bratz doll last year. Hmmmm, there doesn’t seem to be a horse under the tree. Maybe it’s in the garden. Nope, nothing there either. What’s this DVD shaped thing, I may as well open it in order to make myself feel moderately better over the fact my parents have betrayed me AGAIN. *RIP* *SHRED*. A horse game. A. Horse. Game. That’s the best they could do? OMG WTF!!!!.
Perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but you can see my point. The only reason a game such as this exists is so that it can be sold to parents who don’t have a clue. As no serious gamer would ever really shell out money for something this poor or limited. The game really has not got even the slightest link to actual horse riding and is just a series of button pressing mini games with pretty much no skill required. Any child that did receive this game would be extremely bored within minutes and would crave the real thing even more. In fact it is more than likely they would soon be chucking this game at the nearest adult and throwing a hissy fit - I nearly went that way myself in all fairness.
Unrealistic scenery is no barrier to your success.
If you’re wondering why this review is already four paragraphs long without any mention of the gameplay then it’s because there is no gameplay to really speak of. The story sees your character sent to live on your uncles ranch and, while you are there, you are tasked with restoring it to former glories. Your uncle has come into some hard times so only by becoming a champion jockey (how hard can that be?) can you save the day. Seeing as you have some spare time on your hands you agree to become an overnight riding sensation and do just that. You really have to see the story to believe it and I suspect the script was found on the floor of a drama group for children. The kids there probably saw it as patronising and ridiculous but the developers clearly had their finest rose tinted spectacles on that day.
Playing the game is a joke. The farm acts as the central hub for all of the activities on offer but there is absolutely nothing of note. You can head to the stable to feed and groom your horse via a series of painfully bad button mashing mini-games, or take your steed out for a ride in the field to gain ‘fitness’ stars. It really is as bad as it sounds. But wait, don’t run off crying just yet, THERE IS MORE. In order to progress in the game you need to complete training courses and then put those skills into practice during events. Each event is made up of the same three challenges: dressage, show jumping and cross country. In dressage you just have to steer your horse through different manoeuvres while maintaining the correct speed, then at set intervals you’ll use the right stick to cut some dance shapes……I mean dressage figures. The other two events are pretty much the same as you steer your horse along a course in the right way to make all of the jumps. It’s insanely easy and repetitive. Did I mention the fact that on amateur difficulty the horse will actually do the jumps on its own too? As if the game wasn’t easy enough. Stick it on Professional, like a real man, and you’ll have to press A to do the jumping yourself. WOW, now it’s a real challenge. *sigh*
The game is appalling to look at too as all of the main characters are far too happy for one thing, where is the conflict here? The animations seemed to have been done on a flip book and watching yourself riding is like watching someone painfully draw each shockingly bad frame in front of your eyes. The crowd effects are even more amusing as they seem to have been thrown together on a Spectrum, although I may be doing the Spectrum a disservice. The only thing perfectly formed here is the lead characters ass - but even as wonderfully toned as it is, it is not enough to lift this game out of the doldrums.
Thankfully a ghostly hosepipe will help with the chores.
There are only a couple of positive things I can say about this game. Firstly, it is a ridiculously easy 1,000 points – probably only Avatar and NBA 2K6 are faster than this game. Doing all of the mini-games and completing the game will net you pretty much everything but you will have to suffer the game twice to get everything. It may not be a long game but you will be suffering every step of the way I can assure you. The second thing is the fact that you will become amazingly popular while playing this game, I have never received as many messages over Live as I did while playing this game so maybe it has a secret magnetism that I was previously unaware of. More likely people wanted to belittle and ridicule me for daring to play a game of such awe inspiring brilliance. They just do not understand.
This game looks, sounds and plays appallingly and the best summary I can give are some of the comments I received. Decide for yourself if you want to get similar messages from your pals for a measly thousand points.
MysteryMan86 - having fun are we? hahaha! fair play, you really are an achievement whore.
Andrew 91802 - You have got to be kidding me
JC x360a - Hey, If you are selling My Horse and Me 2, let me know.
Webb x360a - Ha ha ... wtf are you playing, ha ha.
CRU x360a - lmao, what do you think so far? Pretty damn easy eh.. haha
Bax x360a - I knew you we're an achievement whore mate, but seriously... :P
fizzlefried - pony games........wtf.....is it time 4 an intervention?
MajinFro – how is that horse and me 2 going there bud? Feeling manly yet?
The script is bad, the voices are bad, the whole thing is just bad. Frankly I may as well take a cheese grater to my ears than listen to this.
Appalling animations and extremely limited backdrops make this something that would have been barely passable on the original Xbox..
You steer a horse in circles. At different speeds. Maybe you press a button to jump. That is about it. Part of my soul may have been taken away forever.
An insult to the time and effort it takes to look after a real horse. Every task is reduced to a few button presses or uses of the joypad and it is little more than a strung out joke..
Either these are superb for being so amazingly easy or rubbish for being so unimaginative. Let’s be honest – the points are the only reason anyone will play this game.
Words fail me. On the one hand there is little else that they could have done but the game is so devoid of challenge and decent ideas that I’m amazed it ever saw the light of day. Maybe I was expecting too much in thinking it would challenge for GOTY but frankly shouldn’t that be every games aim? Instead this is quite easily the worst game released onto the 360.