Xbox One Gets a Free, Awful Ben-Hur Movie Tie-In Game
Only those in desperate need of some Gamerscore padding should bother.
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Movie tie-in games are nothing new, and they have a track record of generally being bad. But there are the occasional releases that are truly exceptional in this regard, and Ben-Hur appears to be one of them.
Quietly released on Xbox One today, the game is available for free as an advertisement for the Ben-Hur movie releasing on August 19. And while it undoubtedly has no bearing on the quality of the film, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in it, either.
You can probably glean from the screenshots below (as well as the videos you can watch from various players on the Xbox Store page) that this is a mess of a game. You participate in a chariot race where you mash the A button to accelerate (while trying to avoid pushing your hoses too hard) and pull the triggers to whip AI opponents on either side of you. The goal is to come in first or eliminate the competition. The entire thing is mercifully short: There are only three races that are all equally dull and repetitive and will make you quickly wonder whether there is any cleaning, laundry, or wall-staring to do in your house. Perhaps the grass outside needs tending-to with a pair of scissors.
Despite what the Xbox Store description would have you believe, there's no "step[ping] into the story of Judah Ben-Hur." A trailer for the movie plays before you begin racing, and that's it. The claims of quality graphics are even more laughable, with the page stating, "Experience the glory--and brutality--of ancient Rome. Race merciless charioteers through a stunning re-creation of the Roman arena in Jerusalem, fueled by the visual horsepower of the Xbox One."
As one might imagine after seeing that the store's first two screenshots are of the menu and loading screen, those boasts are... inaccurate.
Ben-Hur was published by AOL and developed by Float Hybrid (which creates "branded experiences") and Krome Studio (developer of games like Ty the Tasmanian Tiger). Without knowing how much time or money was spent on this, it's hard to know who's responsible. Whatever the case, the end result has it ranking up there with advergame rubbish like Xbox 360's Yaris. The nicest thing that can be said about it is it never asks for any money.
Short of morbid curiosity or a desire to hunt for every last Achievement out there, it's probably best left unplayed.