Rise to Honor
Just like with any form of entertainment, trends have a definite place in the world of videogames. Right now, one of the most popular trends seems to revolve around the Grand Theft Auto 3 concept of free-roaming environments. However, the idea that's been in the minds of developers since the PSX and N64 era is the concept of creating a more cinematic experience in games. This should come as no surprise with the advent of realistic 3D graphics but when does a game become a better movie than an actual game That's the question revolving around Rise to Honor, the newest action game from SCEA.
Rise to Honor has an unmistakable cinematic flair to it, but unfortunately that doesn't always make for a good game. Since that's the case, Rise to Honor can be looked at in two ways: as an interactive cinematic experience and as another action game.
As an interactive cinematic experience, Rise to Honor succeeds on most levels. Not only does it star martial arts action star Jet Li, but the cut scenes (of which there are many) are very well done and some of the action sequences in particular seem like they're straight out of a blockbuster Hollywood action flick. The graphics and audio, though not extraordinary, help compliment the movie feel. It truly feels and looks like a modern day action movie.
However, just watching Rise to Honor and basing an opinion solely off that would be faulty since the gameplay doesn't hold up nearly as well. Rise to Honor is primarily a beat-em-up with several other gameplay elements like shooting and stealth thrown into the mix for some added variety. Instead of basing all combos on the four face buttons of the PS2 controller, they're instead all based off the dual analog sticks, much like the Ape Escape games. For the most part, it works well and allows you to attack enemies on the fly from all directions. However, the traditional beat-em-up issue of repetition plagues Rise to Honor and it isn't alleviated by the other underdeveloped gameplay elements. Stealth in Rise to Honor, for example, is little more than a game of 'Red Light, Green Light'? and it feels like filler more than anything else. Likewise, the shooting elements feel clumsy with the dual analog control setup and it pales in comparison to the Max Payne titles, where it obviously gains a lot of its influence. In addition Rise to Honor is also short ' easily beatable in a rental period with few incentives to play through again.
I can't help but think that Rise to Honor will hit it big with the star power of Jet Li and its incredibly high production values. As an interactive cinematic experience, it ain't bad, but if it had to rely entirely on its own gameplay, then it'd be something else entirely.
Download Rise to Honor
You're kung fu superstar Jet Li, and you're not interested in having dim sum with the thugs in this beat-em-up.
HOW WAS IT?
Rise's claim to fame is its 360-degree fighting, whereby you use the right analog stick to hit anyone in any direction. Sounds cool--but at heart, this felt like just a ho-hum button masher (well, technically a control-stick masher) with some gunplay. It's going to need more variety to rise to "fun."
Rise to Honor infuses the classic beat-em-up formula with cinematic flair. Kit (aka Hong Kong legend Jet Li) Yuns kung fu is so seamless it seems choreographed. Take, for instance, your typical restaurant ruckus you know, the one where the cleaver-wielding chef chases crooks from his kitchen. Parry blows with whatevers at hand that Peking duck should do nicely then flip a goon onto the hot grill. Clever controls make ass kicking as easy as it is elegant (simply shove the right analog stick in the direction you want to attack), and counters keep you from feeling like youre on the martial arts treadmill at least for a while. It’s not that there arent other things to do: Scripted action sequences and sloppy but fun shootouts punctuate the fistfights. The former are adrenaline-fueled affairs that have Kit playing hide-and-seek with armed helicopters and staying out of a sniper’s scope, while the twin pistol exchanges of the latter are comparatively low caliber. As cool as they sometimes are, such sequences are simply interludes hardly enough to keep the slugfests that take center stage from becoming a chore. If the enemies werent so cheap in the later levels, it wouldnt matter. But once wave after wave start evading your every move no matter how much you mix it up, forcing you to find and exploit the A.i.s blind spots, martial artistry stoops to lowbrow brawling. When the dust settles, it’s worth checking out...once it hits matinee price.
I didnt know the bell curve could apply to videogame difficulty. Rise to Honor gets crazy hard about halfway through (with cheap sub-bosses that have supermagnetic grabbing abilities), but then it peters off with the last few levels and not just because I got enough fighting experience under my black belt. I still enjoyed pressing on, though, because a great control scheme and plentiful save and checkpoints keep the frustration down. The gameplay variety helps, too. Rise doesnt excel in any individual area the stealth/shooting/beat-em-up parts wont kung fu sweep anyone off his feet, but together, they combo for a mindless good time. Too bad you have the same moves set from start to finish, and the coolest Jet Li chop-socky stuff only happens in cut-scenes.
Rise to Honor might seem like revolutionary movie-star-in-gam-ing fusion, but it’s basically just an excuse for Jet Li to star in a dumbed-down (yet beautiful) remake of the arcade classic Final Fight. Brawlin vets can expect Metro City fisticuffs flashbacks it seems that beating up five goons at a time is still the best way to reach the top of the criminal food chain. Luckily, the silly-sounding analog-stick fighting scheme actually works. If not for some serious balance issues (some bosses can easily kill you in two hits), stupidly out-of-place stealth levels, and finicky weapon controls (it’s really hard, for some reason, to hit somebody with a stick), Honor might have been more than just a solid rental.