Showing posts with label psp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psp. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact psp

There's a lot of potential to make good games using the Naruto license. The comics and anime series are filled with elements that can transition well to games: a huge cast of ninja characters with varied motives and personalities, an interesting fantasy setting, and, of course, lots of supernaturally powered ninjutsu battles. Sadly, Ultimate Ninja Impact fails to capitalize on all the great things the Naruto universe has to offer.

Ultimate Ninja Impact adapts the storyline of the most current Naruto anime series, Naruto Shippuden. In the Ultimate Road campaign, Naruto has returned to Hidden Leaf Village after three years of intense training to be reunited with many of his friends and comrades. However, his dear companion Sasuke, who has defected to serve the insidious Orochimaru, is not among them. Naruto learns of some pressing events happening in the village and elsewhere, and he immediately sets off with his teammates to try to set things right, only to get tied up in a much bigger plot that involves several different factions. The way the game adapts the story is admirable, though if you're already familiar with the way events play out (having read the comic or watched the show), there isn't much in the way of surprises.

The main game is divided into several chapters, each of which contains a map screen that allows Naruto and company to advance to various events and stages. By completing certain stages or objectives (some mandatory, some optional), new playable characters, missions, and special ability cards can be unlocked. Successfully completing levels and performing skillfully in battle also earns you ninja points, which allows you to purchase character-enhancing card pieces and upgrades, along with extras like music or wallpaper. Each chapter has a separate completion gauge that lets you know how much further you have to go before you've found and collected everything available. There's a lot of emphasis on collecting bonus goodies in Ultimate Ninja Impact, and this element of the game is well executed. Visuals and sound are also quite nice: The character models are faithful to the original designs and are surprisingly detailed. A heavy amount of voice-over also accompanies the story in both English and Japanese audio tracks.

The actual combat, however, is considerably less exciting. Ultimate Ninja Impact borrows liberally from the design of Tecmo Koei's Warriors games, for all of the good and bad that may entail. Controls are easy to grasp: You can jump, air-dash, or guard, as well as perform basic attack combos and throw weak projectiles with simple button presses. The chakra attacks are slightly more complex; they require you to first charge up your chakra meter sufficiently by holding down the triangle button and then either execute them at the end of a basic combo string or hit a set button sequence. Some of these skills require specific timing, which the game doesn't always teach well, but for the most part, screen-clearing, mega-damaging attacks are merely a few button presses away. Filling both your chakra and awakening gauges while fighting allows your character to enter a special, temporary powered-up mode. While chakra and awakening attacks have varying properties for each playable character, the basic means of execution is the same for each fighter, which allows players to quickly adjust when the game requires you to use a different cast member. However, it also means that the number of different actions each character can perform is strictly limited. Characters can gain levels and equip stat-boosting character cards to enhance their abilities, but their combat capabilities rarely expand beyond a basic skill set.

Limited fighting capabilities would be perfectly fine if the action itself was intense and engaging. Unfortunately, this is the area in which Ultimate Ninja Impact falls flat on its face. Much like the Warriors games that seem to have inspired it, Ultimate Ninja Impact puts you in small maps to fight big packs of enemies. While mowing down a crowd of ninjas is fun at first, it quickly becomes less satisfying when you realize just how utterly stupid and ineffective most of the enemies are and how easy they are to wipe out with a basic combo. Each mission contains several objectives, most of which are simply variations of "go to this place" or "beat these enemies." You quickly find yourself repeating similar objectives for each new mission you reach, putting up with annoying background pop-in as you carelessly wipe out another platoon of generic ninjas. Every now and then, you might encounter a slightly tougher enemy, an enemy with a gimmick, or a boss. These enemies are unique in that they actually pose something of a threat and will aggressively attack you. However, they still fall quickly to basic evasion and rapid-fire damaging chakra combos. Ultimate Ninja Impact on anything but the hardest difficulty is a very easy game, and unfortunately, said hardest difficulty doesn't unlock until well into the campaign. As a result, the combat quickly turns into a boring slog that you only put up with to try to collect NPs and nifty new cards.

The game features a few additional modes as well. Tag Battle lets you team up with either a computer-controlled companion or a friend (with his or her own PSP and copy of the game) to take on specially scripted missions for NP rewards, while Extra Missions offers more challenging single-player objectives to try to complete for additional rewards. (Given the game's typically lax difficulty, these missions are only slightly more taxing than your standard story fights.) You can use your full army of unlocked characters in these fights, which makes them the main place to play and level up favorite cast members that don't get much attention in the central plot.

But when the fighting itself is lacking in excitement, it really doesn't matter how many extra modes you throw in--inherent mediocrity is rarely remedied by putting it in different dressings. Ultimate Ninja Impact doesn't try to do anything beyond offering a bog-standard action game where you fight a lot of enemies at once. As a result, it winds up being a game that is mildly entertaining for short periods of time but quite tedious in extended play sessions. In the end, Ultimate Ninja Impact simply doesn't live up to the intensity of its title.

Posted in

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Final Fantasy Type-0 PSP

School settings have been especially popular in JRPGs lately, and following suit, the newest Final Fantasy begins in a school, but don’t expect too many giggles and panty jokes. As early as the opening, Type-0‘s story is darker and more constantly serious than most others that use the setting, and even more than most JRPGs in general.

While not “gory” by today’s standards, it’s several notches above what Final Fantasy has been used to. Lack of advanced graphics prevented us from seeing blood for years and years, and even when characters died in the past, there was something… somehow cleaner about it. That changes in Type-0 with its frequent images of people losing their lives – often violently. It’s not the FF we grew up with, but damn if it isn’t powerful and well done throughout, epitomized in the thrilling introduction and memorable conclusion.

Rather than collecting party members gradually, we’ll meet all of our 14 protagonists within minutes of starting, all of whom are as different on the battlefield as they are in personality. It’s enough to make a big cast that the player honestly cares about, but not too big to suffer from “Chrono Cross Syndrome,” during which the player is overloaded with too many characters and has to ask “Who was he again? Was he the one with the dead mom? No? Well, then whose funeral did I go to? I have no idea who this kid is.” It would be nice to be able to rotate the order somewhere other than save points, though; either that, or make the world map a save point so that changing up the roster isn’t such a pain in the butt. Sometimes, characters won’t even need to be rotated at all, as some parts of the game are clearly done more sensibly as a solo effort. Being an extension of the Crisis Core battle system, this might not be surprising. With enemies so powerful that they’re often capable of one-shot killing anyone in the party, having a second and third character simply stand around can be detrimental to progress. I noticed multiple instances of my allies simply standing around (with no negative status, even) instead of attacking things. I busted into a room, guns blazing, only to realize too late that my two teammates hadn’t even followed me in.

One downfall of having 14 playable characters is that they all apparently need some spotlight time, and some story sequences will have, say, 15 lines of dialogue split among 11 people, as if the writers had a checklist and a quota beside them. This is mostly an early thing though, to establish the characters; like most other aspects, it gets better as the game goes on. The story and its characters are pretty strong overall, and hopefully they’ll transition well into English. Another small setback with the sheer amount of characters is how it ties into leveling them up. The punishing mission structure and strong enemies will put players into situations in which almost all characters must be used at some point. I had two instances of being down to my last singular character when finishing a mission; everyone else was knocked out. What a rush.

It might be Final Fantasy, but Type-0 is no walk in the park. In the first 10 or 11 Final Fantasy games, when you couldn’t beat a dungeon or boss in the first try or two, a feasible option would be to go get your main crew two or three level-ups and have another go at it with a noticeable difference. Levels certainly are important in this game, but for all the power that leveling can grant against regular enemies, the time-honored grinding tradition described above won’t work on most of the game’s bosses. Much more important is timing one’s shot to get critical damage, and the game is actually better for it. It can be initially frustrating to get Game Overs and feel helpless against someone, but the benefit is that it makes the player to get in there and fight a better fight. It’s surprisingly more possible than it might sound, which to a player that just got stomped, is great to realize. The increase in difficulty without being ridiculous is an overdue addition to the Final Fantasy series.

Final Fantasy Type-0 is addictive as hell, thanks to its furiously fast combat and magic growth system. On one hand, the huge level gaps between some of the story segments suggest a need to hit the grindstone, but on the other, time flies during that process. You’re always looking for that next Phantoma, that next level for whatever character, and FFT0 keeps the hunt exciting with the fast pace and high challenge of its battle system. There is a killer amount of fun to be had finding the best party combinations, finding which characters are best for taking out which enemies, or testing out the results of your Alto Crystarium magic mixing. It’s just too freaking easy to get caught up obsessing over your master plan for how you’re going to customize the magic spells, then accidentally spending hours working towards it. The spells can be modified manually through gathering Phantomas from defeated enemies, though, on the downside, the game has a way of capping the player’s growth. Through making certain types of Phantomas available only appear in select locations, then roping those locations off from the player via invisible walls, players are somewhat restricted in just how crazy they can really get with the Phantoma system, though a lot of players won’t notice this.

Posted in

Ore no Shikabane wo Koeteyuke PSP

Ore no Shikabane wo Koete Yuke (Over My Dead Body) originally saw a PlayStation release back in 1999 in Japan. The main character, offspring of some 'legendary hero,' becomes cursed (after fighting with a demon) with an affliction that has him age 50 times faster than normal - only giving him two years to live. His children then suffer from the same curse. Ore no Shikabane wo Koeteyuke Making their way through many a labyrinth, the family seeks out to defeat the demon and rid themselves of the curse. Ore no Shikabane wo Koeteyuke original is downloadable from the Japanese PlayStation Network for 600 yen.
Though they recently suggested it with a teaser site earlier this month (I'd link it but appears to have been taken down for now), Oreshika's remake has been confirmed by Sony - and it's for the PSP. This version will add new characters and scenarios, but also get a graphical improvement, an updated strategic battle system and the fields will see seasonal changes. Families can also create their own weapons as a memento to pass down through generations. There is also mention in this week's Famitsu of the ability to import save data from the PSone game, and some kind of ad-hoc feature that wasn't expanded upon.

Recently, game designer Shouji Masuda also talked about what direction to take the series in, which of course opens up the possibility of a sequel.

Ore no Shikabane wo Koete Yuke, which is being worked on by Alfa System (the developers of the PSone title), is currently 50% complete and does not yet have a Japanese release date.

Posted in

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Angry Bird Psp Game

Angry Birds has been the top downloaded paid app from the iTunes App Store for the past couple months, and for good reason: it’s addicting as hell.

The concept behind the game is pretty simple: you play the role of a group of birds who have their eggs stolen by a bunch of pigs. In order to get the eggs back, you have to launch the birds one-by-one, with a giant slingshot, and destroy all of the pigs.

Of course, this simple act is complicated by the different obstacles that the game throws your way. In the later levels, the pigs are hidden away in complex forts which must be destroyed before you can reach the pigs.

Luckily, as you progress through the levels, you will unlock different birds that have different abilities which can be used against the pigs. For example, “Boom Boom” is a black bird that you can explode like a bomb with a tap of your finger, and “Split It” is a blue bird that splits into three separate birds, for maximum destruction.

The fun part about the game is that you score more points for destroying more stuff, so you end up trying to destroy as much of each level as possible. There’s something just incredibly satisfying about bringing down a pig fortress in a shower of wood, glass, and stone.

Another great thing about the game is that there are dozens of levels that you can play through, with more being added every few weeks, so you get more out of the game as time goes on. There are also dozens of achievements and special “golden eggs” you can unlock, for more hours of addictive gameplay.

The bottom line: if you own an iPhone and enjoy playing fun games, get Angry Birds. You will spend hours of fun flinging the feathered furies at their fleshy foes.

Posted in