Look, let’s not mince words on this one: Ben-Hur is an atrocity of a video game, a garbage attempt to build hype for the upcoming movie by slapping together the quickest, dirtiest collection of assets into a barely playable chunk. There’s less content in this title than in most game demos; it’s generous to even call this a mini-game. The only saving grace is that the game is free, costing you nothing but the time lost running circles in a drab, brown arena. Need I say more?
Well, I’ve chosen to review this thing, so I might as well give it my due diligence. Between scenes lifted straight from the remake of the classic film, Ben-Hur attempts to be a video game, recreating the iconic chariot battles as cheaply as possible. You take on the role of Ben-Hur across three races on the same dull track, attempting to take first place while avoiding hazards on the track and attempting to take out your opponents. As your health goes down, helpful audience members will throw in glowing green health pick-ups to help heal your chariot and horses.
And… that’s it. That’s the game, the only difference between each race in a “season” being how many laps there are and how quickly your health bar goes down. The first two races are ridiculously easy, especially with how quickly you can cause the other racers to lose health and crash. The third, meanwhile, is a grueling trek, with the other racers dealing way more damage and frequently attempting to surround you in a hateful murder cage.
Really, even that’s not too hard to avoid if you’re just trying to finish. I was chasing an achievement that requires you to kill every other racer in all three races, so I was actively taking a lot of damage. This would’ve been easier to achieve had the game given much visualization of how the game determines who takes damage – you want your wheels to be adjacent to the enemy’s horses – but it’s still just as easy for the enemies to ping-pong you between each other regardless of how well you position yourself.
Speaking of ping-ponging, the game somehow manages to feature consistently wonky physics. Even in my brief playtime, I saw multiple chariots suddenly jackknife 90 degrees and slam into walls, which is funny enough when this doesn’t end in an immediate collision and death for the player. It doesn’t help that the AI is questionable at best, with multiple races seeing opponents wipe out on the first wall before even reaching the racetrack proper. Oh, and just for good measure, the game managed to crash within twenty minutes of launch.
Even the assets in the game are horrendous, from the PS2 era graphics and effects, to the goofy, out-of-place health pick-ups, to the insane amount of actual film screenshots used in the menus. And sure, this is a film adaptation, but it’s clear they put as little effort into putting this product together as possible. I mean, the title and loading screens look more like DVD extras pages than they do video game screens.
If there’s a positive to this game – other than it being mercifully free and short – it’s that this is arguably the easiest achievement list since Avatar: The Last Airbender. There’s only 10 achievements that can be gained in a couple of seasons, requiring a time investment that runs well under 30 minutes. It’s more of your time than this game deserves, but it at least rewards you with an easy 1000 for that time.
Look, we all know not to expect much from movie tie-in games, but dear lord, we don’t expect nothing. A game needs to in some way justify its own existence, and it can’t just be the lamest of attempts to shill movie tickets for a remake nobody’s excited about. Somehow managing to be both free and a waste of your money Ben-Hur is a game that should be avoided at all costs.
Final Score: 1 out of 10