Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SPC Quickies - Volume Seven - PSParty

Ah... the SPC Quickie... Was it good for you? This is where we take games under the microscope for some rapid-fire reviews. Today we're looking at my PSP collection and judging these games in paragraph-sized, bite-size reviews. My PSP collection is pretty big, so this might take awhile, folks. So sit back, relax, and let's get to the Quickies! But first, games are rated from 1-5. 1 being the worst, and 5 being the best.

(Some games were left out of my collection as I have not played them enough to review them--even half-assed.)

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles - Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is made up of three games in one. You have the classic Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night, and the main attraction, the Rondo of Blood remake with updated sound and visuals. Some player may not like the old-school controls of Rondo of Blood, but they felt adequate enough for the game. For three games for the price of one UMD, this one hell of a deal that action-platformer fans should not pass up on! 5/5


Daxter - He's back, and he hates bugs! Daxter takes place between the events of Jak getting captured in Empire City and the wisecracking ottsel (otter plus weasel) rescuing his bound buddy. The game shows the events leading up to Daxter saving Jak from his imprisonment. To help start off, Daxter becomes a bug exterminator, routing out pests within the city walls. With his trusty bug gun he can spray enemies into submission as well as use it to hover across chasms, Super Mario Sunshine-style. One of the best platformers on the PSP, Daxter is a great investment for fans of the genre. 4/5

Final Fantasy - Just how many times can Square-Enix port this damn game? As many times as it's profitable apparently! The PSP version was given the Castlevania treatment with updated sound and visuals. All the turn-based RPG action that you can stand is here and accounted for. Those who played the GBA remakes, however, might feel gypped having to buy Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II separately. Regardless, there's plenty of old-school Final Fantasy fun to be had in this remake. 4/5

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions - Blame yourself or God if you miss out on this excellent tactical RPG. Spanning five chapters, dozens of missions, multiple character classes, and numerous pieces from one of the best soundtracks in gaming history, this PSP port of the PS1 original features new characters and items to collect. The endless possibilities here to creating the ultimate party will have you playing for hundreds of hours. A tactical RPG, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a game not be missed by any PSP owner. 5/5

God of War: Chains of Olympus - The Gods may have forsaken Kratos, the ghost of Sparta, but this game won't forsake you. It's amazing how well the God of War franchise translated to the small screen. All of Kratos' repertoire of visceral moves are here for you to unleash on your unfortunate foes. Chains of Olympus is without a doubt one of the best action games on the PSP. The only real flaw, and it's a pretty big one, is the brevity of the main story. If you can handle that, you're in for one Hades of a ride. 4/5


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - Phil Collins. What more do you need? Phil mother$%#$ing Collins! Okay, well there are a lot of varied missions, and expansive city to explore, multiple locales to scoop out, a rich 80s world that's yours for the taking, and an awesome soundtrack to boot. Add in Phil Collins, and you have a game that is hard to resist. Unless you're not a Phil Collins fan which means we have nothing further to discuss! 4/5

Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure - Drill, baby, drill. No, we're not talking about 50 year old politicians trying to sound cool. No, no. We're talking about Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure for the PSP (what else?). With Parin's drill, she can tear through walls, enemies, and objects on her quest to save Monster Village and rescue the monster-napped denizens in this action-RPG. The visuals are passable but not too impressive, and the camera can sometimes get on your nerves. Other than that, a decent and worthy game for a PSP owner's collection. 4/5

Hammerin' Hero - Hammerin' Hero is a 2 1/2D brawler featuring some platforming here and there. It's a dog-eat-dog world in the Hammerin' Hero world where one hit means certain death. While this may frustrate some, it's a wonderful challenge for others. There's multiple costumes to utilize offering unique powers from a record-throwing DJ to a slugging baseball player. The cel-shaded visuals are colorful, the levels are short enough to make repeated visits and tries less frustrating, and the difficulty is definitely there. Not for everyone, Hammerin' Hero is one for the ages. 4/5

Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee - Swing for the fences! Wait, that's baseball. You'll go out of bounds if you do it my way... Nonetheless, the first handheld Hot Shots game features six courses to play through, and they're well-designed and masterfully-constructed. The characters all have their own personalities, and they can be custom-outfitted with costumes earned through winning challenges in the single-player mode. A great golf game, but not the PSP's best. 4/5

Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 - Open Tee 2, the obvious sequel to the original Open Tee, has much more to offer than its predecessor. There's double the amount of characters and courses (half of which are from the original Open Tee). The fun is as awesome as ever with the tried and true three click shot system. The game has a pleasant soundtrack to listen to, lush visuals, and a humor that the Hot Shots crew are known for. If there is a better portable golf game around, I've yet to see it. 5/5


Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier - Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier takes the undaunted duo to the edge of the world in search of eco, which is constantly running out in the world. There's three types of gameplay in Lost Frontier: Jak and Daxter together, Daxter by himself in werewolf form, and aerial plane battles. The variety is nice, and there's plenty of worlds to survey, precursor orbs to collect, and secrets to uncover. A decent adventure, but not for forty bucks, The Lost Frontier is worth a rental currently. 3/5

LittleBigPlanet - LittleBigPlanet offers a different take on the franchise than its PS3 big brother. Instead of three tracks to jump through, there's but two tracks to traverse. Don't mistake this for a dumbed-down experience. Sony Bend crafted some diabolically clever levels, added some all-new costumes, and the online community is just as active as ever. LittleBigPlanet may not be as world-shattering as the original, but it's a competent game all on its own. 4/5

LocoRoco 2 - You really only need to know two buttons on the PSP in order to fully enjoy LocoRoco 2, and those are the L and R shoulder buttons. L tilts the world to the left, and R moves the world to the right. Pressing in both buttons at the same time makes your little, lovable LocoRoco leap into the air for some twisted platforming peril! Add in some addicting gameplay, fun minigames, and eclectic soundtrack, and you have one of my favorite, intuitive PSP games! 5/5

Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X - It seems remaking the sound and visuals for SNES games is a popular thing these days... at least on the PSP. I'm not going to complain, however, when they're terrific games like Mega Man X being remade and remastered! Run, gun, jump, and slide your way through twelve levels of X action, blasting away enemies, collecting power-ups, and just kicking all kinds of Maverick ass. It's Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, and it's an awesome remake. 5/5

Mega Man: Powered Up - Speak of the devil, when we're talking awesome remakes, how about the re-imagining of the original Mega Man? Not only are there two more Robot Masters to take down in Oil Man and Time Man, but there's a brand-new cel-shaded chibi art style. Throw in the ability to create your own stages, a challenge mode, and an impressive remixed soundtrack, and you have a game that more PSP owners should have purchased! Darn you, evil-doers! 5/5

Metal Gear Acid - Snake. Stealth. ...Playing cards? You read right. This turn-based strategy game has a brand-new story and gameplay elements to it, and it overall succeeds in what it does. The thrill of earning a new card will make collectors want to hunt down them all. The special artstyle is quite nice, too, and the soundtrack is as capable as ever. Not a great game, but a good one. 4/5


Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops - From the guest review, "It’s not a perfect game, mind you, as I found myself having occasional issues with randomly dropping out of first-person view and having trouble entering a vent unless I crawled in just the perfect line, but for the most part, this game succeeds in its console to handheld transition. If you want a game that can give you a decent challenge and a good amount of playtime, then you should check out MGS: Portable Ops. It’s just the kind of stealth-action experience I was hoping for." 4/5

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge - It's spring now, so who really wants to think about winter all over again? We just escaped that madness! Well, you may want to rethink your position with Motorstorm: Arctic Edge. This hardcore, balls-to-the-wall racing game is high-octane across sixteen individual courses of varying difficulty. Each vehicle has a different path it should follow. For instance, a bike shouldn't go anywhere near deep snow while a big rig wouldn't be caught dead flying off a ramp. My only gripe is that the game becomes very unforgiving in later challenge levels. Overall, a game you can chill out to. 4/5

Pangya: Fantasy Golf - PANGYA! Yelled when one makes a perfect shot, Pangya is all about goofy golf at its finest. Like the title says, it's all about fantasy golf here. You can enter the shop to upgrade your characters with multiple different clothing options, new gear in the form of clubs and balls, and helpful items giving temporary stat increases. The game is a colorful mishmash of beauty, and the single-player modes will last players hundreds of hours. Good luck collecting every item there is in the game! 4/5


Patapon - Pata-pata-patapon. Pata-pata-patapon. The little black blobs of Patapon love rhythm. And let me tell you that rhythm's going to get you. Unfortunately, attacking enemies and taking down bosses with the same rhythms gets quite repetitive-- even for a twenty dollar game. Memorizing these monotone melodies is also a chore. It all amounts to a game that's not very fun if you're not rhythmically-inclined. 2/5

Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters - Size apparently really does matter as this Ratchet & Clank adventure is a tad on the short side. Yes, there's bolts to reclaim and upgrades to purchase, but you can't help feeling the game ends way too soon. Add in that sense of deja vu of "I've played a game like this before", and you're probably right. It's just another Ratchet & Clank game. Nothing more, nothing less. 3/5

Resistance: Retribution - Sony Bend does it again. Taking the atmosphere and folklore of the Resistance series and translating it perfectly into a third-person shooter, Resistance: Retribution is full of incredible surprises. There's a cover system that works well (unlike some other popular third-person shoo-- Gears). Additionally, there's online multiplayer full of fun modes, an active community, and some of the most fun I've had on a portable online. 5/5

Sonic Rivals 2 - One could imagine what this game would be like if there weren't racing or catch-up AI. Instead the game would be a traditional Sonic game with the same level layouts and gameplay. It'd be a heck of a lot more fun is what it would be. That much is for certain. As it is, the sheer amount of frustration from the rubber-band AI is just too much to bear in Sonic Rivals 2. 2/5

Star Ocean: First Departure - The original Star Ocean popped up on the Super Nintendo pretty late in its life. It only was released in Japan, so it's a treat to finally be able to play the first Star Ocean with updated graphics, voiced cut-scenes, and updated music. While much more basic than its sequels, Star Ocean: First Departure is an interesting game to check out for RPG fanatics and curious PSP owners alike. 4/5

Star Ocean: Second Evolution - A port of the PlayStation One original, Star Ocean: Second Evolution was familiar territory for me, a fan of The Second Story. There's lot of same-y things here from the excellent battle system to the likable cast of character to the wonderful world and soundtrack. Like FFT, Star Ocean: The Second Story is one of the best period. New cut-scenes were added as well as a majority of the conversations being voiced. Overall, a tried and true installment to the Star Ocean series. 5/5


Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron - I loved the original Battlefront for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It was just fun, frenetic, and frantic-- all F words and all %%##ing (there's another F-word) awesome. Renegade Squadron on the other hand has some of the most headache-inducing visuals on the PSP. Combine that with odd controls and a glitchy camera, and you have a pretty poor experience overall. Recommended to true Star Wars nuts only. 2/5

Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology - Tales of the World is a compilation title featuring heroes and villains from past and present Tales Of titles. The game features fast-flowing, real-time battles in glorious 3D. There's plenty of quests to take on, monsters to defeat, characters to customize, and areas of the massive dungeon to explore. Not the best RPG that the PSP has to offer, but it's a fun little romp a definite buy for fans of the Tales franchise. 4/5

Tokobot - Tokobot is a game where skill and strategy go hand-in-hand. You play as a secret agent named Bolt attempting to enter a strange temple. He comes across a friendly group of special robots named Tokobots. They help him get safely through the various levels on his quest to get to the heart of the very temple. This 3-D puzzle/adventure game isn't without its problems. The main offender is the camera which can be problematic for sure. 3/5

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth - The trend of porting PlayStation titles to the PSP continues with Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. The first VP came out way back in 2000, ten years ago. The game is now very rare, so it's great that Square-Enix came out with a port for those of us who missed out on the original. New cut-scenes were added to this action-RPG, and the game is quite a blast to play. Recommended for RPG fans. 4/5

WipEout Pulse - More speed, more tracks, more racers, WipEout Pulse is the sequel to WipEout Pure, and it's the better game as far as I'm concerned. While the series has yet to reach F-Zero heights in popularity, the series is known for its fast, item-based arcade action. Pulse has players taking part in either online or offline races, competing in challenges to reach new grids full of more challenging courses and race types. If you have the need for speed, WipEout Pulse is here for you. 4/5


WipEout Pure - Pure as the driven snow, WipEout Pure is also all about fast-paced races set in the future. The sense of speed is unparalleled on the PSP with eight racers taking each other on at once. If you have an interest in arcade racing and own a PSP, WipEout Pure is the cheaper of the two handheld WipEout games, and it's definitely worth a purchase. 4/5

Interested in past editions of SPC Quickies? You know you want more! Check them out below!

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five
Volume Six

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