Ben-Hur. For those who don’t know that yet, Ben-Hur was a 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston which was praised beyond imagination, won eleven Oscars and grossed millions upon millions of dollars. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
Fast forward to 2016, and Hollywood, in all its creative glory, decided to reboot/remake/rehash Ben-Hur, with all new special effects and the such. It got panned by critics, it bombed at the box office, and it got a tie-in game, just like the good old days of the 90s. And boy, what a game that one was.
Ben-Hur, the game, is actually an Xbox One exclusive, believe it or not. The console doesn’t have that many exclusives, but one of them is this free tie-in title. Definitely not something worth bragging about.
The game consists basically on chariot races. Three, in fact. There are three races, and then the game is over. Simple as that. Oh, and there are some clips from the amazing 2016 Ben-Hur movie included as well. For some reason, Morgan Freeman is in this film.
Thank goodness the game is free of charge.
As a game, Ben-Hur fails miserably. Its controls are asinine. You have to keep pressing A to “accelerate”, but do this too quickly and your horses will lose stamina. Your chariot has worse cornering maneuvers than a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle with two missing wheels, as the simple act of making a turn around the oval tracks (they are all the same, by the way) is way too complicated and frustrating for a normal human being to handle.
Not only are the chariot controls horrendous, but the camera controls are as bad. Tilt the right stick just a little bit, and your screen will end up like the picture below. It makes camera controls from N64 and PS1 games look decent in comparison. We’re in 2016 guys, there are some gameplay elements that have already been mastered DECADES ago…
The sound department is, well, horrible, as expected. There is just one music track, which is looped every 20 seconds, and half a dozen lines of dialogue performed in the blandest way possible.
The only redeeming factor about this game is the fact that you can get all of its 1000 gamerscore points in about 10 to 15 minutes, but even doing this will feel like a painful chore. Besides, do you really want to have Ben-Hur immortalized in your XBL history?
Ben-Hur can be summarised as a terrible game nobody asked for based off a terrible movie nobody asked for. It’s free, and yet it makes you feel like you’ve been ripped off. It seems that the era of movie-based shovelware is back, boys. Enjoy it.
By the way, here’s a fun fact: this game was published by AOL. Yeah, that AOL. Just stick to the good old 56kbps modems, boys.