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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Coded Arms

Picked up Coded Arms at Real Canadian Superstore for $9.98. Pretty good deal, apparently it's a Greatest Hits title now too?

I've heard a lot about Coded Arms, and not in a good way. But it's one of the few first person shooters for the PSP, and I've always been curious about it. It looks good... why does it get such a critical drubbing? I soon found out....

The problem with Coded Arms is that it really has a lot of potential to be an awesome game, but there are such problems that hold it back. I think it's that feeling of disappointment where the negativity stems from. Playing it, the game certainly does look good. But the overall design is just a series of plain hallways and rooms. The map is randomly generated, so techincally each play experience is different, but it doesn't hide the fact that the overall map design is really bland. There's a map screen which looks a lot like Metroid Prime 3's map, and just as confusing to move around & read. Switching between weapons is very clunky, and you can only hold a certain amount, so you have to swap out weapons-- it's really cumbersome.

Despite the lack of a 2nd analogue nub, I believe that FPS games can work on the PSP. Coded Arms uses what I think is the best control scheme for a shooter on a PSP (given its limitations): using the face buttons to aim. But the aiming in Coded Arms is pretty bad; it's *sorta* sticky, but not really... which makes for a lot of missed shots just because you're fighting the targeting system. I can't help but imagine if Coded Arms had the sort of aiming from Resistence Retribution or even Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, it would be such a better game.

The lack of health & ammo in later levels is a problem, as you're basically stuck with what you've got. Overall Coded Arms feels like a lost opportunity to make a really decent FPS for the PSP. If it didn't look so promising, it may not be as disappointing. But it's not a terrible game, and I'm finding it worth my $9.98.


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