The best looking PSP game we've ever played isn't coming out until summer, but that doesn't mean we can't get hands-on!
I don't care what anyone says about previous handheld first person shooters. They all pretty much suck. Countless dollars have ran from my wallet in exchange for such horrors as Doom and Duke Nukem for Game Boy Advance, and I had all but abandoned the genre. But then I played Konami's Coded Arms for PSP and suddenly I find myself rethinking my position. Leave that dusty stuff in the past, because Coded Arms is the future of portable gaming.
Coded Arms is the first great handheld first person shooter. It not only has the luxury of being the most gorgeous PSP game (believe me, that's a very high honor), but it's also a joy to play, thanks in part to several control schemes Konami's implemented into the game. The goal is to offer the user so many schemes that they'll have to find one that suits their tastes, thereby avoiding the frustration that would occur in previous handheld FPS efforts.
Any awkwardness you may be used to in those kinds of games is alleviated with the excellent PSP analog disc that can be used in a multitude of different ways in conjunction with the system's face buttons. Whatever your preference, there will be a scheme for you (in theory).
The story to this game isn't anything super original, as it sort of sounds like cliched sci-fi that takes inspiration from Terminator or The Matrix. In the distant future, scientists construct this advanced virtual reality system meant to save us in case of an alien invasion, but when they can't get it to work correctly they shut it down... or so they think! Unbeknownst to them the program is still running, and before long it populates itself with all sorts of computer bugs and viruses. It's now up to you to clean up this mess.
Coded Arms is all about walking through beautifully-constructed cyber environments and shooting the heck out of anything that moves with all sorts of high tech gadgets. I began the game with a standard-looking machine gun that just spews ammo, and I just walked around and killed anything that tried to kill me. There were only a handful of computer bugs in the game, and Konami's really stretching on their design because they do in fact look like actual bugs. Whenever I shot them they didn't react to being hit (which should be fixed for the final version), but once they died they "cyber dissolved." It's a neat little effect, and it looks better than the age old "drop dead, shimmer and disappear" act that we've been tortured with for years.
To say that Coded Arms is the PSP's best-looking game is a rather bold statement considering the other gorgeous titles on the system but I stand firm in my belief. Featuring spectacularly detailed futuristic locales that resemble more of a run down town than inside a computer, Coded Arms is quite simply the most graphically intense hand held game that I have ever seen, a true bench mark by which other first person shooters/all games will be judged. Konami's done an amazing job in bringing this William Gibson-esque world to life, and you'll be floored the first time you boot the game up.
One of the PSP's best features (and there are many) is its Wi-Fi capability and Konami is putting it to good use in Coded Arms. Not only can you wirelessly frag up to three other players, but all of the items and weapons you find in the single-player campaign can be used in multilplayer! This includes your sniper rifle, grenades, and other goodies. In fact, and this is a pretty interesting option, you can bet your items before a match. Just make sure you don't lose!
I hope I haven't gotten you too excited for Coded Arms, and I say that because out of all of the quality PSP launch titles that'll release this March, Konami's game won't be among them. Instead, it'll come out sometime this summer. With that being said, gear up for the PSP launch and enjoy Ridge Racers, Metal Gear Acid, and the many PSP sports titles, but keep both eyes on Coded Arms. This one is something special.