26 April 2017

Review: Motorstorm: Arctic Edge (Playstation Portable)

One of the earliest decisions I made in my PSP career was to pick up a copy of Motorstorm: Arctic Edge. I'd tried it before and was blown away at the graphics and pure quality of the game and the controls were spot on, so it was only a matter of time. Little did I know it'd take me several years before finally getting around to it. Let's just say I tripped over a deal I couldn't resist.

I think most of you are familiar with the Motorstorm formula, so I'll only go over it really quick. It's a racing game with courses that affords different routes that all leads to the same goal. The route you'll want to take depends on which vehicle you're driving, since you often can choose between many different ones, such as rally cars, buggies, motorcycles, trucks and so forth. You are allowed to mess with your opponents and therefore motorcycles should absolutely avoid driving close to angry truck drivers and well you get the picture. It's chaotic fun.

Even today the game holds up great. It looks like something that couldn't even be done on a PS2 and the controls are not cramped at all. Brake and gas on the triggers, boost and handbrake on the face buttons and the stick to go left and right. Nice. The problem this game have as of right now, for me, is that it's offline only. I have a chipped PSP (don't worry, I buy my games, I chipped it for other reasons) so online is out of the question. I doubt there are any games online for Motorstorm: Arctic Edge at this point anyway though. There are about 20 different tracks, many of which are pretty similar. And then you get to repeat these tracks in different variations for 100 challenges, during which you unlock goodies for the garage such as new vehicles and stuff to modify the appearances of said vehicles with. Some may argue that this extends the longevity of the game but I never found the tweaking to be the driving force (pun intended), for me it was the chaotic races and the chaotic races only. By the time I'm closing in on finishing up the pre-set challenges I'm pretty gosh darned fed up with the game. And now they give me pretty stuff to put on my motorcycle? Nah, too late guys. Too late.

It's possible to play your own music in the game if you don't like the soundtrack (which I very much didn't). I followed the instructions as to how the mp3 files should be converted (max 256 kbps, 44.1Hz stereo) and put them in the correct folder (~/PSP/MUSIC/) and sure enough they appeared in the menu available for me to select and play, but as soon as the game started only one track was played and then no music would play at all. Not even the stock music. At all. I had to restart the PSP every time, and remove the mp3's if I wanted to get the soundtrack working again. I tried this with several different files back and forth and the results were identical every time. So, my conclusion in this matter is that it's a flawed function. At least with my hardware. So... back to the default crap music I went. And this didn't help the already monotone feeling of playing the same stages over and over again.

To sum things up, it was absolutely great the first hour or so, then it became stale very quickly and ended up being not even cleared all the way (I still have a few challenges left to do, but I just can't be bothered). It makes me wonder, if I'd bought it back in the day, at full price, would I be disappointed?

10 April 2017

Review: Resistance: Retribution (Playstation Portable)

Resistance: Retribution takes place a few months after the events in the first game, Resistance: Fall of Man. We take on the role as a insufferable douchebag named James Grayson that are making exceptionally bad decisions based on the need to revenge his brothers' death and that he feels let down by the army and his country. When awaiting his execution (yeah, he eventually is sentenced to death) he gets a visit from this french woman named Raine Bouchard who gives him an opportunity to extract said revenge after all. And I guess this also is the seed to what can evolve into the road to redemption, if you will.

Making a third person shooter work well on the PSP isn't the easiest thing in the world concidering that there's only the one thumbstick but Bend Studios (yes, the guys who did Bubsy 3D, the two Uncharted games for Vita and the upcoming Days Gone) came as close as I think it'll get. The thumbstick is used to moving around and the face buttons are used to aim. Specific in game actions are triggered by the d-pad and the shooting is done with the shoulder buttons. Granted, using the face buttons as a way to aim is clonky at best, but they have also included a very generous aim assist that makes up for the lack of precision.

When I had fun I had really fun, and when I was bored or frustrated I was really bored and frustrated. It was never just "meh". Make of that what you want. The game is fairly short all things concidered, but still manages to feel a bit repetetive towards the ending hours though. The gameplay isn't changed up all that much and I obviously didn't care for the main protagonist as he was frustratingly cliché and the voice actor always talked like he needed to go to the bathroom. However the story in Resistance: Retribution is still adding a bit to the main storyline of Resistance and Parker (the voice in the cutscenes) is great as always. All in all it's a decent game to get for the PSP, especially since it's very cheap.