Tag Archives: PSP

PaRappa the Rapper (PlayStation & PlayStation Portable)

Developer(s) – NanaOn-Sha

Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment

Designer – Mayasa Matsuura

PEGI – 3

Credited as the first true rhythm game as a precursor to the 1978 game Simon, PaRappa the Rapper went on to become the 7th best selling game of 1997, and garnished many positive reviews from critics, as well as two gaming awards and net sales of 1.4 million units worldwide. But even at the time, I was less than impressed by the game, and have never been able to understand the appeal behind it.

Graphics – 5/10

One of the main talking points of the game is the unusual art direction, which was implemented to visually realize the game. Inspired by American graphic artist Rodney Greenblat, it features 2D characters in a 3D environment. Hats off to the developers for trying something that was very new at the time, but the general design of the game was about the only original thing the game had going for it in terms of graphics. The character designs are particularly poor, and by that token, the overall visual style of the game can only be appreciated for so long, the way I see it.

Gameplay – 0/10

PaRappa the Rapper may have began the entire rhythm game genre, but it always has been, and most probably always will be, an extremely bad genre of video games. To me, the only thing that the rhythm games have been good for is influencing the idea of including context-sensitive gameplay into certain games, such as God of War or Dante’s Inferno. But as a standalone genre, I don’t think its worth anybody’s time.

Controls – 10/10

There are no issues with the game’s control scheme at least, but how hard could it have been to implement? Compared to adventure games and RPGs and so forth, I fail to see how there could have been much thought and effort put into how players play the game.

Lifespan – 0.5/10

Even for players unfamiliar with the rhythm game genre, this game will take about 40 minutes to complete, which is utterly pathetic. By that token alone, it’s impossible for the developers to justify charging full price at the time when there were many more and greater games out by then.

Storyline – 0/10

When I first played PaRappa the Rapper as a kid, I thought the story seemed as ridiculous as the gameplay, and decided not to touch it again after the first level. After watching how the rest of the game’s story plays out, I discovered I wasn’t missing anything. The best thing I can say about the game’s story and the titular character is that they promote self-confidence. PaRappa lives by his motto of “I gotta believe”, and it helps him to attain his goals throughout the game. But other than this one flicker of positivity, there’s not much else I can praise the game’s story for. The voice acting as well as the basic premise is laughable at best.

Originality – 5/10

Although Parappa the Rapper perpetuated an original idea, which led to an entire genre, I personally would most rather not have seen it happen at all. Developers had put much more thought into their games than the developers of PaRappa the Rapper clearly did, and because of that, it’s clear to see why many rhythm game series have been discontinued since, such as Space Channel 5, Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Furiious

Furiious

In summation, Parappa the Rapper is an awful wretched game that to me should never have seen the light of day. A sequel followed, which is even worse in my opinion and there are rumours of a third game in the works. In which case, count me out.

Score

20.5/60

3/10 (Bad)

Hoard (PC, PlayStation 3 & PlayStation Portable)

Developer(s) – Big Sandwich Games

Publisher(s) – Big Sandwich Games

PEGI – 7

A vast majority of indie games that Sony seems to have been releasing on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita have been RPGs, much to my personal delight. In my opinion, Hoard stands out as one of the best. It makes use of a very unique gameplay premise, and despite the repetition, makes for an extremely enjoyable experience.

Graphics – 7/10

Like Transistor, Hoard makes use of an isometric top-down view, which in turn, gives the game the illusion of it being in greater detail than what it would look like up-close. I’ve seen the same technique used in many other games such as Diablo III, Champions of Norrath, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. I’ve always been a fan of this technique being used in gaming, and it’s handled very well in Hoard. It does lose some marks for its lack of uniqueness in conceptual design, however.

Gameplay – 8/10

Although this game lacks uniqueness in one aspect, it does make up for in terms of gameplay. The player takes control of a dragon and must collect as much gold and capture as many princesses as possible before the timer runs out, and must collect more so than the CPU dragon in each stage of the game. There are several different game modes, including a survival mode, which gives the game an unprecedented amount of replay value; even the online multiplayer is handled particularly well in my opinion.

Controls – 10/10

Since isometric gameplay has been around for some time, I think there would have been serious issues with this game if the control scheme hadn’t have been handled properly. Fortunately, not only has it been handled properly, but the combat system also differs from many other games, and it actually makes Hoard stand out even more than perhaps players may assume at first glance.

Originality – 7/10

I think the reasons why this game stands out among most other indie RPGs released on PlayStation console of late are many; it has a great amount of replay value, making it last for hours upon hours on end, the combat system differs from most other RPGs I’ve ever played, and it’s also one of the very few games whereby the player is put in control of a dragon, which personally speaks to me since they were my favorite mythological beasts growing up. I have enjoyed a few games to include dragons, such as the Spyro 2, and later Skyrim, but this title does very well to differentiate itself form even those two classics.

Happii

Happii

Overall, Hoard is an extremely addictive and enjoyable game, and it is an exceptional catalyst for keeping PlayStation 3 consoles on shelves for at least a little while longer. It’s one of the very few games I’ll play multiplayer on, and several more game modes to keep players entertained for an extraordinarily amount of time.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Armoured Core (PlayStation, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable & PlayStation Vita)

Developer(s) – From Software

Publisher(s) – From Software, Agetec & Sony Computer Entertainment

ELSPA – 12

Before From Software rose to prominence with modern-day critical marvels Dark Souls II and Bloodborne, they first conceived and pioneered the Armoured Core series back in the fifth generation of gaming, and brought it to the PlayStation in a time when the console’s controller posed some issues. To me, this game addressed those issues in some style and brought to gamers a lot of entertainment in the process; including myself.

Graphics – 8/10

For the time, the visuals of this game were extremely impressive. Aside from having very few visible glitches (something very rare in early PlayStation games), its conceptual design quite diverse, taking place in a wide variety of locations, such as oil rigs, deserts, city streets, and futuristic enemy bases. Things did start out questionable on the PlayStation in this respect, especially with the game Bubsy 3D, which had the frame rate of a children’s pop-up book, but this game was able to effectively showcase what the console could do in its early stages.

Gameplay – 7/10

As one of the earliest third-person shooter games, gameplay involves the player having to customize and maintain their own robotic soldier, and blast their way through each stage as they come. The level of customization in this game is quite phenomenal for one of its kind at the time and makes me think why its no wonder why From Software would later venture into RPG gaming. On top of that, it’s incredibly satisfying to take down as many enemies as possible, and there’s also quite a lot of strategy involved since if the player can maneuver efficiently enough, and dodge as much enemy fire as possible, they can afford to sacrifices armor upgrades in favor of weapons upgrades.

Controls – 10/10

Here are no issues with the control scheme whatsoever, which again, is particularly impressive for a 3D game not developed with the use of an analog stick on the controller. Targeting enemies is also pretty akin to Ocarina of Time as players can maneuver around enemies whilst aiming and firing, making the game surprisingly much simpler and easier to cope with than many of their latest efforts.

Lifespan – 5/10

To complete every stage of the game will take around 4 to 5 hours, which for a game with so many customization options available, is fairly underwhelming. From Software would go on to address this issue with the four sequels that were released, but it all started out much shorter than what either many gamers may have liked at the time, or what was genuinely possible since CDs were capable of holding much more memory than cartridges.

Storyline – 5/10

There wasn’t much in the way of an established storyline in the first game; only relying on a basic premise to keep players interested. It basically involves the player character working his/her way up the ranks of an army called Raven’s Nest. In all honesty, however, I don’t think the game should lose too many marks in this respect, since it would be later on in the fifth generation when aspects such as story would be much more built upon than ever before, with story primarily existing in RPGs, as opposed to other genres of game.

Originality – 8/10

In terms of originality, there weren’t many games at the time that could have players controlling robots and fighting them on battlefields, and ever since, it has set a very stable trend within the industry. The game went to be a major influence on other series’ such as Lost Planet, Hawken, and most recently Titanfall. Huge robot soldiers had been a recurring thing prior throughout Japanese entertainment with programs such as Gundam Wing and the Power Rangers, but it has been extremely interesting to see their inclusion in video gaming over the years, and this game can be seen as the catalyst for that.

Happii

Happii

Overall, Armoured Core was not only an extremely unique game for its time but also an incredibly enjoyable one. It has been ported to a number of modern consoles, making it very easy to get hold of, and I would recommend anyone with any console it was ported to, to download a copy.

Score

43/60

7/10 (Fair)