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Metareview: Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy was good enough to financially save Square when it was first released. Since then, it's become one of the biggest franchises worldwide. You already know what we think of the RPG remake. Let's find out what the rest of the press thought.
  • Pocket Gamer UK (80/100) found it worthy: "Far more than a cynical cash-in, this PSP version of Final Fantasy is the perfect opportunity to see where it all began.
  • 1UP (70/100) thinks it's lacking: "Beyond the reworked graphics, you won't find much legitimately new content here. Patient players seeking an absurd challenge will dig the verging-on-unfair PSP-exclusive Labyrinth of Time dungeon, in which your characters' hit points constantly deplete over time. But truthfully, original additions feel scant."
  • Gamespot (65/100) is sick of the remakes: "The umpteenth remake of Final Fantasy I is pretty to look at, but the gameplay is showing its age.

It sounds like your enjoyment may depend on if you've played Final Fantasy before or feel that the price is fair. What score do you think Final Fantasy deserves?

Metareview: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas

Publisher Ubisoft was hush-hush about this quietly released PSP version of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas. We showed our readers early footage from the game, and it appeared that opinions were quite mixed on the game. The critics, on the other hand, are quite unanimous in their opinion:
  • Game Almighty (55/100) - "All in all, Rainbow Six: Vegas for the PSP falls short of the lofty standards set by this franchise. It doesn't perform the way you'd expect from a Tom Clancy game."
  • GameSpot (68/100) thinks the game could've been more: "The short campaign and limited multiplayer detract from what is otherwise a solid PSP shooter."
  • Gamer 2.0 (78/100) agrees with GameSpot: the game just needed to offer more: "Vegas doesn't quite have enough entertainment value to be worth it for anyone but the most hardcore of Rainbow Six fans."
The game currently has a Metascore of 59 from the critics. Do you agree? Do you disagree?

Metareview: Crush

It's obvious from our review of Crush, that we think it'll be a worthwhile experience. Does the game press agree with us, or do they think Crush is a bomb? Let's find out!
  • GameSpy (90/100) got certifiably addicted: "With levels that build on each other in terms of complexity (and, thusly, difficulty), the game inspires that kind of 'just one more level' feeling of addiction that may result in you freeing Dan from his insomnia but earning yourself a nasty case in return."
  • 1UP (95/100) loves the originality: "Most games can be described as an amalgam of others, as borrowed game mechanics and thematic elements bounce from game to game within a genre. Crush might have a recognizable aesthetic (think Psychonauts in a dark alley), but it's gameplay is wholly -- and compellingly it's own."
  • EuroGamer (80/100) appreciates the challenge: "There's a genuine sense of achievement and enjoyment when a seemingly impossible level suddenly clicks (or crushes into place, and the confident way the game uses its central conceit as more than just a gimmick is undeniably reassuring and appealing."

If only being correct on game quality was like unhatching an evil plan, we'd laugh maniacally right now. Heck, we'll do it anyway. We were right! MWA HA HA HA HA!

Metareview: Brooktown High

Enough with the ugly jokes! It's time for Brooktown High to finally prove its worth. Does this American attempt at the dating sim score ... or does it just have two left feet? Let's find out what the critics think:
  • Gamespot (56/100) simply couldn't find enough to do: "It's apparent that the game really wants to be played through multiple times to see the different possible outcomes, but it's unlikely that you'll want to play through the game more than once, if even that. Without enough to do, Brooktown High ends up being as shallow as the lame caricatures that populate it."
  • IGN (52/100) thinks that sloppy execution ruined what could've been a better game: "You'll find yourself in the midst of the same conversations time and time again, and though they'll sometimes change on dates depending on where you are, when talking on the phone or at school you'll wind up hearing the same things over and over and over again."
  • Games Radar (50/100) thinks the game is unfair: "Your dialogue choices are out-and-out traps. For example, we had a discussion in which the only options were to either insult the girl or ask her out - one of which made her mad, the other of which forced us to cheat on our girlfriend - who immediately found out."
Burned! Looks like the game has received universal critical dismay. Unfortunate, because the genre, which proved so popular in Japan, needed better representation than this. Unless you really want to play a dating sim, it looks like the rest of us can simply walk away.

Metareview: Pocket Pool

What could be better than a game of pool filled with porn stars? Almost anything, it seems. Unsurprisingly, Pocket Pool is being blasted by critics. And it's not just for poor taste, too. The game fails to deliver an accurate billiards experience, negating even the thinnest hope of legitimacy the title could have hoped for.
  • Gamespot (34/100) - "Five minutes of Internet searching ought to yield you near-infinite amounts of sexier imagery than what this game has on offer-and for free, at that!"
  • IGN (40/100) - "Pocket Pool is a poor billiards game through and through. The bonus stuff (read: pictures of half-naked women) that the game is built around isn't worth the time it takes to earn them, and the pool itself has numerous problems"
    • Modojo (40/100) - "The ball physics are floaty for one, forcing the ball to roll either too much (into a pocket) or not enough (to make contact with a target ball). Worse yet, the AI-fueled opponent can be off the charts."
    Congratulations, Eidos. It appears you've published this year's worst PSP game. Wonder how long this will take to end up in the bargain bin?

    Metareview: Valhalla Knights

    Valhalla Knights looked so promising when it was first previewed so many months ago. Looks like it'll join the ever-growing collection of RPG failures on our system. The critics, for the most part, have bashed XSEED's latest, telling you to stay far, far away from it:
    • 1UP (35/100) likens the experience to torture: "I can't remember the last time I felt so constricted as a gamer. Sure, running around the dungeons and slashing through enemies is enjoyable enough -- and, dare I say it, even fun at times. But as soon as you attempt to play through Valhalla Knights like its an actual game, it completely falls apart. The viselike grip Valhalla Knights holds."
    • G4 (40/100) thinks the game is too old-school for its own good: "This is not a game for the impatient, especially since there's no in-game help system. When it comes to combat tactics or building a party, you have to learn by doing (and probably dying)."
    • IGN (53/100) wanted to like the game, but couldn't: "Valhalla Knights succeeded at impressing me with fun, real-time combat, completely pissing me off with drawn-out quests and eventually driving me away due to the complete lack of anything resembling story progression."
    Ouch! Those are some of the harshest reviews we've read in quite some time. Valhalla Knights is now available in stores ... if you dare pick it up!

    Metareview: Puzzle Quest

    If you weren't able to quite tell from the demo whether you liked Puzzle Quest or not, maybe the reviews of others will help you. Other than these reviews, we'll have a review of Puzzle Quest up soon. But enough of that for now, what did the critics say?

    • Gamespot (8.5/10) "The parts may seem commonplace, but Puzzle Quest's blend of RPG and puzzle-game convention makes for something refreshingly unique and dangerously addictive."
    • Games Radar (7.0/10) "The PSP version loads a bit more slowly but looks better, and the DS version features lighting-fast loads but tosses in slightly sluggish, clunky touch-controls."
    • PlayStation Official Magazine UK (5.0/10) "It's gently hypnotic stuff, but fight a dozen super-intelligent skeletons and you'll soon be yearning for the simple pleasures of Lumines." (Mar 2007)

    [Via Metacritic]

    Metareview: Full Auto 2

    Regular PSP Fanboy reader Hashbrown Hunter commented, "It looks like Sega doesn't love the PSP enough to make a good game." At GDC, I played Full Auto 2 and noted that "Weapons don't feel damaging enough, and it simply doesn't feel like your car is taking damage." Well, looks like fears were warranted--Full Auto 2 sucks. Too bad it couldn't break away from the curse of its console counterpart.
    • IGN (61/100) thinks the game lacks depth: "An extremely shallow career mode, unbalanced vehicles and weaponry and simplistic tasks makes this a game that only the hardest of the hardcore racing fans would want to play."
    • GameSpy (60/100) notes that poor design choices litter the game: "All would not be lost if the level design and mission objectives worked to the game's strengths. Only, they don't."
    • Gamespot (41/100) thinks the game fails on almost every level: "One of the things that Full Auto got right on consoles was its explosions, and this version has none of that, either."
    Looks like this franchise has crashed and burned. Let's hope that future PSP games from Sega actually show us some real love.

    Metareview: After Burner

    The playable version of Sega's After Burner: Black Falcon at GDC left me more than a little underwhelmed. Now that the final game is out, critics seem to have mixed praise for Planet Moon's latest PSP exclusive:
    • GameDaily (80/100) loves the old-school revival: "The studio captured the old-school feeling of the arcade original while, at the same time, adding enough originality and excitement to make it feel like a cool modern-day action game."
    • IGN (79/100) enjoyed the game, even with its poor multiplayer options: "Lots of games have tried to bring an arcade feel to their next-generation efforts, but it's rare to see someone nail it like After Burner has."
    • Electronic Gaming Monthly (47/100) agrees with my quick first-impressions the most: "After Burner sports merely decent graphics while managing to suck all the fun out of a once-great franchise."
    While I didn't enjoy my time with the game, the critics at GameDaily and IGN seem to have enjoyed the arcadey feel of After Burner. Maybe it's one of those games you learn to love? The game is out now.

    Metareview: Burnout Dominator

    We've had our eye on Burnout Dominator for a while now: it has pretty looks, and features new content made exclusively for PSP and PS2. But, we were worried: maybe the game looks too much like the previous Burnout games? Surely, explosive car gameplay can't get old ... or can it? Let's see what the critics had to say:
    • IGN (85/100) thinks it ups the ante from previous Burnout titles ... almost: "The racing is just as adrenaline pumping as it's ever been, and possibly even more so than what we saw in Burnout Revenge as you need to be afraid of traffic once again. However, the lack of standard features and modes like Crash are a rather big disappointment."
    • Gamespot (82/100) doesn't think Dominator revolutionizes the series, but thinks it's still good: "Burnout Dominator is more Burnout, and that's great. It may not have all the newfangled bells and whistles that you'd want from a sequel, but if you're a fan of the series who absolutely must have new tracks as soon as possible, Dominator should satisfy you nicely."
    • GameSpy (60/100) thinks it's a clear step backwards for the franchise: "Rather than another true entry in the series, Dominator is a simple C-grade mashup."
    You've seen the footage, so you should be able to decide for yourself: does this throwback to the earlier Burnout games do it for you? At least one thing's agreed upon by all three of these critics: get the PSP version instead of the PS2. It looks more impressive, and has slightly more functionality than the console counterpart.

    Metareview: Call of Duty [Update 1]

    Just like the other WWII FPS game on the PSP, Call of Duty has been getting some spectacularly mixed reviews. Who to believe? Are the controls really that great? Are they really that terrible? Message boards across the internet have been producing quite a variety of responses. For once, the critics reviews may not actually inform anyone on the "correct" purchasing decision for this game.
    • UGO (87/100) loves the incredibly generous auto-aim: "Call of Duty: Roads to Victory is one of the few must-own titles for the handheld. If you've ever gotten a kick out of picking up a gun and killing evil people in a video game, look no further."
    • IGN (66/100) hated the controls and the gameplay: "The sluggish and somewhat delayed controls wouldn't be so bad if the gameplay accounted for it, but it doesn't."
    • Gamespot (62/100) thinks the game feels more like a free mod than an actual game: "The poor AI, combined with frequent respawning of soldiers, makes it feel as if you're playing some sort of WWII-themed shooting gallery at times."
    Do any of our PSP Fanboy readers have this game? What do you think about this game?

    [Update 1: Added Gamespot's review.]

    Metareview: 300

    It's the game we so wanted to be good. Too bad you were right, readers: the critics are absolutely bashing this game. Hopefully, the movie will be able to hold up better than this critically blasted game:
    • Gamepro (45/100) hates that nostalgic feeling: "It's essentially a throwback to the days when movie-licensed games were always awful."
    • IGN (57/100) at least enjoyed the cutscenes: "The stylish cinematics are better than any single moment of gameplay and serve as the only reason to bother playing 300: March to Glory to its conclusion."
    • Game Informer (63/100) didn't find the game too bad, as long as you turn off your brain: "It's interesting that they called this 300, because that is about how many times you jam on the X button in the first minute and a half. Then again, there is something mindlessly appealing about beating up endless waves of dudes."
    The poor reviews for the game won't hinder me from watching the upcoming movie. I mean, can they really mess that one up? I hope not.

    Top 5 on PSP: Action

    PSP sales have been quite good the last few months and I figured there's probably a lot of new PSP owners that may not be up to speed on what great games the system has to offer. With that in mind, every day this week we'll feature a new genre and list the top 5 games (according to metareviews), so no matter what you're into, you'll have some idea of what games you should own. We start off the week with one of the most popular genres around: Action.

    Top 5 Action games on PSP

    1. (tie) Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories/Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
    2. Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
    3. Daxter
    4. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters
    5. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

    I'm lucky enough to own and have played all of the games in this particular list and trust me, they are all incredible gaming experiences and it's all the more impressive that they're on a portable. I do have to say that I think Ratchet & Clank is better than Daxter and GTA: VCS is better than GTA:LCS, but you really can't go wrong with any of these games. What did you think about these 5 games? What action games aren't on this list that you think every PSP owner should have?

    [Data Via Metacritic]

    Metareview: Chili Con Carnage

    Steve's been crazy for this game. Maybe it's because it promises "the highest kill rate of any PSP game ever!" [Source: Gamespot] This PSP-exclusive version of Total Overdose certainly has been receiving decent reviews, making it far better than the "refried port" I thought it would become:
    • Gamespot (74/100) says the new game absolutely trumps the original: "By trimming the fat and ramping up the ludicrous factor, Chili Con Carnage does what Total Overdose couldn't, and creates a wildly over-the-top action game that's not only bizarre and funny, but also fun to play all the way through."
    • IGN (77/100) says the game is fun but mindless: "All this is great, it does get a little repetitive after a while. You'll find that you're performing the same "jump, lock-on and nail a headshot" move over and over and over again."
    • (85/100) notes that you'll have fun, as long as you play by the rules: "If you play it the way that it's clearly meant to be played, as opposed to just blasting through the levels as fast as possible, then you'll be rewarded with one of the best action games on the PSP."
    Not great, but certainly not bad. Maybe we'll find out what Steve thinks about the game once he picks it up.

    Metareview: Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters

    Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters just came out on PSP and a lot of gamers have high hopes for the title given the history of the series. We here at PSP Fanboy love Ratchet & Clank, but what about everyone else? It seems like most critics agreed with us, but let's see why:

    • IGN (90/100) "It's packed with fantastic single-player content, has a strong multiplayer element, boasts a great visual and thematic presentation, and excels with razor-sharp gameplay mechanics."
    • Yahoo! (100/100) "For the last two titles, the developers of Ratchet & Clank have done a wonderful job building full-featured multiplayer support into their games. Size Matters is arguably the best attemt to date. Although it only supports four players at a time, the maps and modes are meticulously build to wring the most out of multiplayer matches."
    • 1UP (70/100) "If you're looking for a game that matches the quality of the previous games in the Ratchet franchise...well, keep looking."

    Not sure what game 1UP was playing, but they're the only one to even give the game anything close to that score, so if you're a fan I think you need to check out Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.

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