Latest Game and Movie Reviews (Live Update)

* Game Ratings (/10), Movie Ratings (/5)

DS Tokyo Beat Down 7.1
Xbox 360 Fracture 8.0
MOVIE The Unborn 0
PC Left 4 Dead 8.7
Xbox 360 Mirror's Edge 8.5
MOVIE Dead Space Downfall 3.5
MOVIE The Day the Earth Stood Still 0.5
PSP Super Stardust Portable 9.7  CHOICE PICK
PSP Need for Speed Undercover 2.8
Browse more game reviews | Browse more movie reviews | Subscribe to articles


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Game Review 17 - MechAssualt:Phantom War

What was once an exclusive Xbox franchise is now rumbling on your Nintendo DS/DS Lite. MechAssualt: Phantom War captures your attention once you fire up the game. The campaign mode begins innocently enough – with cut scenes that are forgiving on the eye with smooth animation. However, after you get past that, you are expected to be ready for battle right away. The action plays on the upper screen while the lower screen is handed the job of displaying some important icons like the “get in/get out button”, the “swap weapons” button, and the “defensive special” button, which is different for every mech, tank and battlearmor. The surprising thing is that the game developers have decided to dedicate some space on the lower screen to a help button and a warbook button, which tells you more about the mech, vehicle or battlearmor that you are in. To be honest, I find this feature quite helpful. The controls although twitchy at first, will become comfortable after you get used to it – believe it or not, it works as smoothly as a computer mouse! The D-pad is used for moving your mech and the A, B, X and Y buttons are used for looking and aiming. There are two other control options for you to select, but none works as well as the defaults. I understand that it is common for games that are originally made for consoles to be downgraded visually when they are brought to the handheld, and do not expect this game to be spared either. Images with lower resolution and some polygonal structures can be seen, but MechAssualt: Phantom War is still one of the graphically best DS games around. The terrain is well peppered by trees and cliffs and enemies do not suddenly appear out of nowhere. If you think that the DS rendition of MechAssualt will not contain as much content as the Xbox versions, it is time to calm down. Through the course of the game, there will be many opportunities for you to jump into several classes of mechs (light, medium, heavy and assault) and the tanks, not forgetting the battlearmor, which you will start the game with. Each mechs have their own set of statistics, including the weapons that they carry. Weapons can be upgraded temporarily by collecting the scattered power-ups or by destroying other mechs. When it comes to the missions, the action is intense, and it just keeps on intensifying towards the end of the game. Earlier in the game, the opposition goes easy on you but as you progress, you will realize that your enemy likes to keep you seriously outnumbered. And that is a very bad thing, considering that you may need to disembark from your mech quite often to change to a stronger mech.I will say that the A.I. can get challenging at times, especially when you are faced with many mechs that are stronger than yours. But that is balanced by easier boss battles. Often, you just need to activate your jumpjets to dodge homing missiles that are constantly rained at you (ah, it still requires much skills). Missions are varied, ranging from getting to point A to B, to destroying structures to escorting friendly units. Puzzles are integrated as an element into gameplay as the form of hacking. They usually involve matching symbols together and are generally simple to accomplish, so you will have no problems. Even if you fail to solve the puzzle, there are little consequences besides the need to retry it, except in crucial situation where you are hacking a mech in the middle of a tight battle. As far as multiplayer goes, (unfortunately) Wi-Fi is not supported. It is just a pity that you have to rope in a few friends to play with you in the same room, but wait! Single-card play is also not supported. Now, you need to convince them to buy the game with you. Amazingly, my only complaint about MechAssualt: Phantom War is its audio. Audio is a bit on the soft side -- it can barely be heard if there is any single noise disruption, but a pair of earphones will do the job. Other than that, I must say that MechAssualt for the DS is a good attempt at bringing the Xbox robotic action game – it is a marvelous feat. But there is another thing that the developer missed out on – the save system. MechAssualt is clearly not a portable game, given that it saves only at the start of every mission. Checkpoints accumulated in between missions are void once you shut down your DS. Overall, the nice touches override all the minor flaws (save system and lack of Wi-Fi support). Highly recommended.

Platform Available: DS
Good points: Intense action, great gameplay that keeps you on the edge of your seat, nice controls, one of the graphically best DS games around
Bad points: Game is saved only at the start of each mission, no Wi-Fi support
Overall score: 9.5/10


Post a Comment

<< Home

Powerplay Megabytes | Achievement Unlocked! | SUPER Rant | Game Reviews | Time Capsule | Movie Reviews | Previews | Hardware Guides | Features and News