Right, let me firstly say I am not a huge FPS fan, mainly due to being extremely bad at them. Apart from the ButtonMasher Shadowrun gatherings, I feel a bit scared to venture into the online world or frags, gibs and tea-bagging.
Enter Cell Factor: Psychokinetic Wars. With 30 or so single player challenges to prepare me for the upcoming online sacrifice I jumped straight in. The challenges are split between the three character classes you can choose between: Bishop, who specialize in telekinesis powers, Black-Ops, with his mix of guns and psychic abilities, and the Guardian, a tank who can dual wield and kill with a charging run. The first thing I noticed was the speed. This is a fast game, almost too fast for my old reactions!
After a couple of challenges I noticed I was unlocking upgrades, both visual and arsenal wise for my psychokinetic warriors. The visual upgrades include different helmets and armour while the upgrades to your powers and weapons range from higher damage from guns to faster recharge times for psychokinetic powers. The catch is you can only have two of these upgrades at any one time.
All of a sudden I found myself enjoying this fast paced run and gun action. Even if each of the 7 maps and 4 game types seem to reappear all too soon after just playing it. Not being a veteran of FPS I started thinking ‘This must be what all the fuss is about!’. Cold hard shoot-them-in-the-head action.
Of course guns are pretty standard fare and the selection is about as standard as you can get, pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifle and rocket launcher. The powers add a new dimension with things like teleport, telekinetic throw, and a charged running attack. Nothing like seeing an enemy reloading and dropping your shoulder and charging into them.
Now lets face it, this is a XBLA game so the graphics aren’t any Gears of War but I found them nice enough. But I rarely had time to take in the vista with all the frantic action going on around me which is a good thing I guess. The audio again gets a pass mark with plenty of solid gunshots and a suitably deep voiced commentator for the expected ‘Head Shot!’ comment and the like.
So I guess it’s time for the inevitable comparisons. One word, Shadowrun. Take a cut down, high paced Shadowrun and you will have a fair idea with what to expect from Cell Factor: Psychokinetic Wars. And this isn’t a bad thing at all. Coming from someone who felt a bit overwhelmed by Shadowrun at times, this Shadowrun-lite is great.
One thing this title will rely on is a good community for it to survive. This is first and foremost a multiplayer game and if it goes the way of most XBLA multiplayer games then it will die a potentially undeserving death. It takes something special to survive the XBLA, has this got it?
I imagine to the hoards of FPS fans out there this will be very run of the mill but it’s always nice to have a good old shooter on the hard drive for that quick fix. But again will the Multiplayer survive? And with games like Shadowrun and Halo 3 available at ridiculously cheap prices does Cell Factor: Psychokinetic Wars make the grade? I say yes, especially if you can con a handful of friends into getting it too. Cell Factor Tuesdays anyone???
Released 3/6/2009 for 800 MS Points.