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April 07, 2006

PSP Games

I have a Playstation Portable (PSP) handheld computer. I've already praised it's goodness here. I thought I should tell you little about the games I have for it so far.

Burnout Legends

This is fantastic. It's hard to imagine how you can get so engrossed in the fast paced action on such a small screen. But you do. Racing cars around tracks at such a speed that the obstacles are hardly visible before they've flown past, it's almost unbelievable that your fingers can keep up. But they do. The cars are responsive, and the tracks are just forgiving enough to let you get away with bashing into the sides, but not so easy that stupid head-on collisions can be contemplated.

So the game physics, and graphics are good. What about the gameplay itself. I've had this game for months, and according to the stats I've for played something like 13 hours and am 70% through. This is pretty good for me, I usually only get 10-20% through a game before I get stuck. It's getting harder, but I'm hoping I have a few more hours left. There are several different tracks, and lots of different cars. You 'win' new events to play as you progress through the game, by beating opponents or beating times. The opponents are good, but again, not too good.

The best thing about this game though is the 'takedown' element. Many races have as an integral part the option to smash your rivals against the crash barrriers, or nudge them into concrete posts or oncoming traffic. They of course are trying to do the same to you. This is great fun. And jumping my car from an overpass and landing on an opponent's roof really made me laugh.

Multiplayer is excellent too. If you have a friend with a PSP, you can play against them even if they do not have the game themselves. The wireless connection allows the relevant game data to be passed across. This is very slow unfortunately, but once it's there you can both race against each other on any of the tracks.


Everybody's Golf

I got this as a first game, as I thought it would be good for the kids to play. They have hardly had a look-in though, I've kept it mostly to myself. There are six courses, unfortunately I haven't worked out how to get to the final four. This is a bit of a shame, as I'd like to experience some different holes.

Golf games are some of the oldest computer games. They have come a long way however from Mean 18 in terms of graphics and music. This game is very pretty, and sounds nice in a very Japanese way. There is a lot of emphasis on building your character, and choosing their outfits seems to be about as important as getting the right clubs and balls. This distraction is a bit annoying. I don't want to waste 18 holes just to get a new hat do I?

All in all, very nice, but as I'm stuck 1/3 of the way through, I have to give it a lower score.


Coded Arms

This is a first person shooter in the Doom/Quake vein. I tried to get to grips with the controls, but the PSP buttons do not seem to be geared up for it very well.

I managed to get through a few levels. but each one looked very like the last, small rooms where all the walls look the same, and silly robot opponents who dart around too fast for the controls to get a fix on them. Give me a few slow moving zombies to practice on!

Playability poor, £35 wasted.


Grand Theft Auto - Liberty City Stories

I had really high expectations for this. Having never played any GTA titles on any other platform, I hoped this would be a good introduction. I'm afraid it isn't. You start off in a city street, and I knew enough about the genre to know that there would be an element of openness about the gameplay. So you can grab a car, or a motorbike, or a taxi, and drive around. You can even walk. But you'll eventually get given missions to complete. Some involve picking up people and taking them places, others are gun fights.

The missions are extremely annoying. Here's why. There is actually very little fun shooting the useless gun you have been given. Driving around the streets is boring if you've played Burnout - the vehicles feel like toys. The worst thing is that if you fail the mission, you have to go back to the start. You have to endure cut scenes again, and then perform the boring beginning of the mission again. So if you are having a bit of a problem shooting one character say, and you meet him 3-4 minutes into a mission, you have to do it again, and again, and again, wasting all those minutes on simple stuff.

I am stuck and have given up completely after only about 3 missions.

Why can't we have an easy setting, or a skip this mission option, or a 'save game right now' option.

Also, after Burnout Legends and Everybody's Golf, the graphics look a little old fashioned and dated. The music is good though, and seems to fit with the environment.

A disappointing 3/10

Posted by se71 at April 7, 2006 11:08 AM


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