Remember Konami? What happened to them? They used to be a premier game studio, releasing games like Suikoden, Silent Hill, and Metal Gear Solid. Lately though, all of their games suck. Suikoden 3 and Suikoden 4 were disappointing sequels. Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill 4 shouldnít have even been part of the ďSilent HillĒ franchise because they were so bad. And do I need to even bring up the convoluted storylines of the last two Metal Gear Solid games? Itís not only their mega-franchises that are floundering either, their original titles like Rengoku and Nano Breaker have received less-than-stellar reviews (one of which came from yours truly). Now, Coded Arms can be added to the growing list of Konami games which donít live up to their hype.
Coded Armsí storyline is ripped essentially from every machine-gone-bad movie weíve seen out of Hollywood. In the future, the government decided to create a machine that would help train soldiers and of course the machine malfunctioned. Inside it, massive battles are raging on so the government decommissioned the machine and left it to fight its battle. People were curious about the computer so a group of hackers, known as the ďCoded Ones,Ē hacked into it and soon were fighting on the virtual battlefields. Naturally, you are a Coded One and itís your turn to fight.
And thatís the end of that. Thereís really no storyline here because this game is as about as advanced as Wolfenstein or Doom. There arenít any storytelling or dialogue sequences: itís just you, your guns, and your enemies. None of this is a problem really, not at all. I’ve played dozens and dozens of FPS games that don’t even have storylines and I’ve never gotten bored with them because they keep me entertained with their levels, weapons, and enemies. Sadly, Coded Arms has a crappy storyline and failed to keep me entertained with its levels, weapons, and enemies.
Just like Rengoku, Coded Arms features randomly generated levels to keep things interesting. Even with this fine feature, none of the various areas that you’ll travel through are interesting and the levels themselves never provide any challenge. Basically, you walk into your randomly generated area, shoot whatever is in there, and walk into the next part of your randomly generated area. You donít have to pull any switches or anything like that, just shoot shoot shoot until the level is over which grows old very, very quickly.
Easily, that was the biggest let-down about Coded Arms. Then, there were the controls that I had to contend with. Iíll admit it; I suck at console FPS games. I can handle most of the Xbox ones provided they give me a little extra time to aim, but I canít play a PS2 shooter for the life of me and it looks like I wonít be able to play the PSP shooters either. Since the PSP is missing a second analog nub, which more and more seems to be a very poor omission, the developers decided to use the triangle, circle, square and x buttons for looking around. Needless to say, I had a very hard time aiming like this. I was all over the place. Without the lock-on targeting system that the developers incorporated in the game, I probably would have stopped playing Coded Arms before I got into it.
All this complaining might give you the impression that Coded Arms is an awful game, but itís not awful, itís just downright average because it does have a few good things going for it. For starters, the loading times are a lot better than most PSP games and are a lot less frequent. There are also tons of weapons that grow in power as you progress which is a great incentive to find and kill every enemy who walks in your direction.
Then thereís the graphics engine, which is a massive plus for the game. Coded Arms is one of the best looking PSP games Iíve played and Iíve played quite a few of them. Explosions just look incredible (and gosh, do I love explosions) and there are some nice touches like bullets hitting the walls and making marks. Sadly the audio portions of the game arenít nearly as pleasing as the graphical portions and you have to suffer through crappy repetitive techno beats and some stale gunfire sound effects.
If youíre looking for an FPS game on the PSP, Coded Arms is the only way to go. But that doesnít mean that you should rush out today and buy it. This is a very basic FPS game that might entertain you for a while, but itís pretty boring and repetitive and I just couldnít get that excited about it. Sure, itís got a lot of flash, but thereís no substance to the game. If you really need to kill some stuff on the go, pick up Coded Arms; donít say I didnít warn you.
Five out of ten