Acclaim has had a steady stream of hits bringing Taito' Japanese releases to U.S. shelves.
Bust-A-Move 2, a classic puzzle game on any system, was one of their more renowned titles. Now comes Psychic Force, a unique fighting game that is purely Japanese in nature.
In a world where psychics have been outcast, a battle for supremacy is waged between eight agile warriors. Not all are willing participants in this battle to the death. Set out in a futuristic world, these fighters are forced to compete, trapped in a cube of psychic energy during each fight Acclaim has brought Psychic Force over from Japan without making any changes to the game, either in story or in gameplay. This was a good decision and keeps gameplay close to how the programmers in Japan wanted it to be played. None of the voices have been changed to English; instead Acclaim opted to subtitle the Story Mode and other cinemas in the game.
What will hit you first is the eye-catching intro. The character designs have a distinctive anime styling that many polygon fighting games lack. The intro lasts approximately two to three minutes and shows off the PlayStation's FMV capabilities very nicely. Also intact is the theme song, sung in the original Japanese.
The gameplay is very much like Battle Arena Toshinden. The difference is that airborne battles take place in a three-dimensional space-the cube. You are able to move freely about the cube up and down, but the computer takes the liberty of moving you in and out of the cube. Touching the sides will stun you so that you're unable to block an incoming attack from your opponent. This becomes integral to the game and in pulling off multihit combos.
Movement is controlled by the directional pad. Blocking (or "guarding" as referred to in the game) is assigned to a button on the control pad. Your attack buttons are light and strong. Both throw projectile attacks when you are at a distance from your opponent. You can also assign buttons for dash and charge. Assigning dash to the X button is probably the best configuration. Without assigning it to a button, dashing is achieved by pressing both attack buttons at once.
Psychic Force is heavily reliant on projectile attacks, lacking the kind of hand-to-hand combat that made the Street Fighter II series so popular. Projectiles can be thrown with the touch of a button, and this leads to some distant fighting with projectiles to see who can block first.
Each character can have three or four different projectile attacks of varying strength.
When the game does get into hand-to-hand combat, it's often very slow. On harder difficulties, the computer knocks you into the wall, stunning you even if you're blocking, making you an open target for a devastating attack. The computer pulls off moves at just the right time that you'll find yourself defenseless against it The graphics in Psychic Force are nothing to write home about. They are well-animated. but the polygon figures aren't as complex as those seen in the original Toshinden. The special attacks in the game produce some cool graphic effects, but they're standard fare as far as fighting effects. While the graphics are polygons, the projectiles and specials seem to have a pixelated, sprite-based look to them. Once you know one character's moves, almost all the other characters share the same controller motions, making it easy to learn every character in the game.
The characters' hand-drawn looks in the intro and cinemas are much nicer-lookinq and brighter than the polygon representations during the game. It would almost have been better to have them sprite- based just to see better animation or brighter colors.
The game's arenas have stunning graphics, but after playing for a while, you realize that the cube isn't quite as big as you once thought. It's too easy to get knocked against it or accidentally touch it. The game's intro and one of the cinemas would have you believe that you fight in the middle of a big city. While the fight does take place there, it doesn't feel like you're fighting in a metropolis setting because of the cube.
If options is what you're looking for. Psychic Force delivers. With Story, Arcade and Training Modes, Psychic Force offers a great deal of playability. The Story Mode only offers opening and closing cinemas after fights to the regular Arcade Mode and takes away the timer.
Psychic Force will have an uphill battle competing against names like Tekken 2 and Toshinden 2, but there have been worse fighting games to show up on the PlayStation. If the Toshinden style of fighter is what you like, Psychic Force matches your taste. The feel is different than Toshinden, but the gameplay is surprisingly similar. If you've played any of the Dragonball games on the Super Famicom, this will seem very familiar as well.
Acclaim has done a good job localizing Psychic Force for the U.S. market. If more companies would take the same approach, U.S. gamers would be benefiting from more of the best Japan has to offer.
One of Psychic Force's unique features is its Story Mode. Unlike the Arcade Mode, the Story Mode does not have a time limit set for each match. Instead, it is a fight to the death.
During the course of the fights, you'll be pulled deeper into each character's history and find surprising revelations about some of them. Each of the game's battles is set in different episodes, and there are opening Cinema Screens at the beginning and end of each fight. Makes you wonder why more fighting games don't adopt a Story Mode, doesn't it?
Stay away from the edge of the cube as much as you possibly can. When attacked, if you hit the cube, you'll be stunned and open to a hit for several seconds.
If you are having difficulty pulling off the game's special moves, go into the Options Screen and set the Command Time Option in Key Config to "long."This will give you more time than is needed to pull them off and generally makes them a lot easier for the beginner.
- MANUFACTURER - Acclaim
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Download Psychic Force
Psychic Force features smooth polygonal fighters who float around a 3D arena and battle with Psychic Attacks. Basic combos and the supercharged arena, which immobilizes fighters when they touch it, also help to make this game fast and fun.
The graphics unfortunately suffer from shrinkage when the camera zooms out. The sounds are strong with heroic fight music for each stage. Control is easy--the combos aren't as deep or as extensive as those in Tekken 2. The game can be mastered easily, which makes it boring in the long run. In all, Psychic Force is a Force to be reckoned with--at least as a rental.
- Combo an opponent into the wall to stun them, then follow with any hit but a special. They can block the special, and you'll waste your meter.
- The best time to use your Psychic Attack is after a long combo.
It looks like Acclaim is jumping into the 3D fighting arena full speed ahead. What makes Psychic Force different from the other games on the market? Is this Acclaim's best title yet? Will this game bring the crowd to its feet with excitement?
Ok, let me answer the questions in the order asked. First, the biggest thing that makes Psychic Force different is the arenas in which you fight. Second, this is one of Acclaim's decent games but certainly not its best. Three, you probably won't be on your feet, but you may sit up and take notice a little. What Psychic Force does offer is unique in its own way.
I always have a bit of difficulty trying to get started on fighting game reviews. The main reason is because they are usually so similar that it is tough to come up with something new. Most fighting games consist of "I hit you, you hit me, I smack you with an occasional 37-hit combo, game over." Don't get me wrong. I do like to play fighting games, I just don't care to review them. I know, I know: "WAAAAHHH!"
What distinguishes Psychic Force from other 3D fighting games is that it takes place in a cube. Since it takes place in a cube, the fighters actually fly up and down instead of being restricted to the ground as a fighting surface. This added a new perspective to a fighting game. Instead of worrying about someone backing you into a wall, you had to worry about someone flying above you and crashing down on your head. This was the coolest part about Psychic Force.
The game takes its name because each fighter is versed in some sort of psychic or paranormal skill. These skills are used in the fighting cube to pull off special moves. Each fighter has a psychic meter that increases and decreases as you perform each move. The moves differ from fighter to fighter, but all are basically lethal—and tough to pull off.
I was not impressed with the controls. I found it difficult to move around and execute moves. The game moved along at a decent frame-rate, but I just found it a bit laborious to fight. The whole idea of this game is to fight, but I found it difficult to do. Because each character had a long range shooting attack, I found myself using that more than anything else. This tactic reduced the game to nothing more than a shooter hidden inside the case of a fighting game.
The characters were all unique enough to make them interesting. Each of the fighters had a distinct personality and special move. This helped save the game from being a dog. The characters all have the ability to fight hand-to-hand and throw the psychic projectiles, as well as shoot from a distance. I wish that the game required more hand-to-hand combat because the long range shooting got a bit stale.
I will give credit where credit is due — and this is definitely where credit is due. The graphics were very detailed and felt 3D. I have seen many games try this and fail. But Psychic Force does a great job of creating a feeling of depth and height in the battle cubes.
lt to control the fighters and even more difficult to pull off the psychic moves. I think this game may be on to something that will freshen the fighting genre, but it still needs to be refined.