The Call of Duty series has been around for years now, pleasing fans with its high action and unforgettable battle scenes. For the first time the series has gone portable, but how does all this big action fare on a smaller screen?
Roads to Victory is a pretty straight forward shooter that brings the feel of the console versions to the PSP. Unfortunately, because the PSP isn’t nearly as powerful as the new next gen systems, Roads to Victory’s action is just not as fun as one would hope. Instead of fighting off waves of dozens of enemies, the player will be lucky to face about three at one time. But it is not entirely the developer’s fault. The PSP’s lack of a second analog stick and smaller screen hold back the potential that this series has.
The game has a very liberal auto aim feature. When an enemy is close enough, the game will automatically lock onto the target ahead of you. This auto lock feature is a must as the game’s control scheme is weary. Despite having four control layouts to choose from, the default is the best. The player will use the analog nub to move the character while the face buttons control aim. This is probably the best setting any developer can use when making a FPS on the PSP system, although it is never as accurate as it should be.
Every aspect has been built around the PSP’s hardware. Because the system cannot handle as much as a big next gen system, there are fewer enemies on screen, the control layout and auto aim function has been adjusted, the levels are shorter, and the AI is a lot dumber. The shorter levels do well to serve the portability of the title, but the enemy AI is pretty bad. Enemies will have the hardest time shooting the player, only giving damage when the player is within very close proximity. Throughout my time with this game, I only died a couple times from standard enemy fire. The only thing the player basically has to watch out for is mounted gun turrets.
The game does harbor decent graphics. Scripted events, like a tank blowing up right next to you as you walk by or fighter planes flying directly overhead in the heat of a battle, help give the game that Call of Duty feel. It is too bad that the game does possess a decent amount of bugs that will completely hinder gameplay. On more than one occasion, my game locked me in a certain section of a level due to a horrible glitch. After getting stuck by an invisible wall, I back tracked for 15 minutes, thinking maybe I needed to go a different way to reach the star destination marker. It was only after I restarted the entire level was I able to proceed.
Call of Duty helps set the feel of battle through the sound of guns, soldiers barking orders, and massive explosions. However, the PSP version, again, is just not as depictive as the console titles. I feel as though the sound is too big for the PSP system to handle, even with headphones on. The dinky speakers do not give the game any justice.
When this title was originally announced, everyone was hoping for some solid online multiplayer modes to keep the battle going after the single player campaign was completed. Unfortunately, only local multiplayer was included. Plus, every PSP owner will need their own copy of the game. No game sharing here. If you can manage to find some local players to fight against, there are four game types to choose from. Having a solid online battle mode would have been a great way to extend the life of this game especially with having such a short single player experience. But the unlockables, such as new wallpapers for your PSP, are a nice incentive to replay some levels to get a new high score.
Roads to Victory would have scored a lot higher if I never played a console Call of Duty game before. But every thing about this PSP installment screams the term, “dumbed-down” due to the hardware limitations of the system. After living life in a mansion, it is hard to go back to living in a log cabin. This shooter will still entertain as it is fun game to play; it just won’t entertain for very long.