The PSP has proved itself as an amazing handheld, and now it?ll do something that most handhelds aren?t meant to do: Play First Person Shooters.
When I first booted up this game on my PSP, I was stunned. The visuals and gameplay were simply amazing, and it proved that a handheld could indeed work a First-Person Shooter. However, after playing for about 40 minutes, I learned that although a handheld could play an FPS game, it just doesn?t do it well.
To make a short story shorter, here?s the storyline: The government has created a combat simulator to prepare their soldiers for war but the combat simulator had too many flaws, and therefore the government had to shut the simulator down. The simulator?s A.I. though, did not shut down. Instead, it absorbed information from computers all over Earth. By the time a hacker found this simulator, it was a complete maze. Word spread about the combat simulator and hackers from all over were jacking into this virtual training tool for fun. It was the ultimate gaming experience. Everyone was playing this game?until authorities realized a threat in the simulator. It turns out that if you died in the game, you died in real life. Authorities tried to shut down the combat simulator, but failed. Now, it?s your turn to try and stop this simulator. You are not a hacker, you are a special elite called a ?Coded One.?
Much like Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory, the storyline is ignored. When playing this game, I couldn?t remember a time where the gameplay cut off for a cinematic to add on to the story, or even text popping up on the screen. Also like Rengoku, the gameplay has major flaws.
Gameplay in Coded Arms is really fun?for the first 30 minutes or so. Later in the game, you?ll find yourself frustrated, and mad enough to nearly throw your precious PSP at the wall. If you look past the levels, ammo and health, Coded Arms is a really fun game. You can shoot mindlessly at enemies who will probably never miss when they shoot at you, you can jump, you can collect health and ammo, and you can run. That?s basically it. Run, gun, collect ammo, and jump for no reason at all.
Frustration begins with the levels. There are 6 sectors in total. In each sector, you choose from 1 of 3 battlefields. Once in a battlefield, you are now in a level. Depending on what sector you are in, the numbers of levels vary. In order to complete a battlefield, you must find your way to the top level, again, much like Rengoku. The battlefields look pretty average. The city levels do look like cities, but everything is in a square room. The ruins are probably the best looking battlefield in the entire game but there are small details in some battlefields that make them look cooler. Levels are randomly generated in Coded Arms, so that means you?ll never experience the same exact map more than once.
I remember being in sector two in the Ruins world when I really got into Coded Arms. I went all the way to level 12 of 13, and I was busting heads! By the time I got to the final level though, I had 10 HP and hardly any ammo. Little did I know, the final level had a boss. With 10 HP and no way to totally recover your health and ammo, I was screwed. Thus, I was forced to restart the sector. Yes, I must start from the bottom level all the way to the 13th AGAIN because Coded Arms doesn?t let you start where you left off. The only way you can revive your health and ammo is to kill an enemy and pray he drops some ammo for your weapon or some health. Once again, this reminds me of Rengoku.
Boss battles consist of you running away and waiting for the boss to stop moving for a little while so you can shoot it in its weak spot. The weak spot is the glowing yellow spot located somewhere on the boss. The bosses in this game look great. The way the bosses look makes you feel as if they are a major threat. Each one looks tougher than any other enemy you?ve seen in the battlefield.
Coded Arms contains a whopping 30 weapons ranging from basic pistols to highly advanced weaponry. Playable weapons include a pistol, an assault rifle, an RPG, and a sniper. When you go deeper into the game, you?ll special weapons like bolt pistols and pulse rifles. If you?re lucky, after defeating an enemy you?ll get an upgrade file. Collect enough of them, and one of your equipped weapons will become stronger.
Surprisingly, the controls worked out very well. The analog stick is used to move while the Triangle, Circle, X, and Square buttons are used to look. Although you don?t get precision when aim, the auto aim does help you shoot. The L button is to jump (which is pointless in this game) and the R button is to shoot. The D-Pad is meant to change weapons and reload. The only flaw I had with the controls was the aiming at enemies.
Although there isn?t online play, you can play with 1-4 players Ad-Hoc. There are 3 multiplayer modes. There is the basic deathmatch, Last Man Standing, and Keep the Mark. Keep the Mark is a game where you kill the man with the mark. Coded Arms allows you to change the settings of the multiplayer mode in many ways like being able to change the map size, time limit, weapon availability and frag limit. One unique option is limiting players to only the weapons they’ve collected in the single player game so far.
Music and sound in Coded Arms is average. The music is bearable, while the sounds were that of a PS2 FPS. Footsteps and weapons weren?t flat or annoying and everything sounds very clear. The PSP is capable of producing sophisticated sound effects and Coded Arms holds up pretty well especially when used with headphones. Music provided a great techno/computer sound to the game to increase the effect of you being in a computer world.
I think the coolest aspect of this game is that you?re in a computer world. That means you collect .wpn (weapon) and .dfn (defense) files. Also, the enemies you?re after are bugs (get it?). Coded Arms does a great job of reminding you that you aren?t in the real world.
Coded Arms is the first FPS game for the PSP, and it a great start. Although this game isn?t perfect, it does prove that a handheld can handle an FPS game?it just doesn?t prove it can handle it well. Coded Arms is a sure rent title that will keep you busy for a couple of hours. Although this game reminds me a lot of Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory, I would pick Coded Arms over Rengoku any day.