Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2, PSP) – Review

Liberty City Stories Cover (PS2 version)Adapting the Grand Theft Auto games to the PSP seems like a no-brainer particularly to help boost the lagging sales of the portable console, just as Grand Theft Auto 3 was successful in boosting sales of the PS2. Certainly, one can expect certain concessions to be made to work within the limited PSP scheme, but with Liberty City Stories, developed by Rockstar’s Leeds and North divisions, and published by Rockstar games, there may have been too much made in the graphics department and too little in the controls. Furthermore, the game adds little new to what GTA3 provided, making the game feel like a rehash rather than a sequel.

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Forza Motorsport 2 (360) – Review

Forza Motorsport 2 - CoverGran Turismo has been known to be the most realistic console racing simulator to date through its various incarnations. When the original Forza Motorsport came out on the original Xbox, it did make an impression due to its strong realistic physics and was given very positive reviews, but was still overshadowed, in the overall console market, by Gran Tursimo 4 for the Playstation 2. Now, Forza Motorsport 2, developed by Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios, has hit the market and may have flipped the tide for good in its favor. The game’s physics engine is even further improved, and allows for not only tuning and improvements of cars, but physical damage to cars (something that is generally missing in realistic racing games), and a huge number of options to adjust the game from a detailed racing simulation to a fun arcade racing game. It also sports one of the best Xbox Live implementations that ties in well to the single player mode. By far, Forza Motorsport 2 is a definitely must have for any racing game fan and may easily surpass Gran Tursimo as the best racing game ever.

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Crush (PSP) – Initial Impressions

The concept behind crush is very very similar to that from the recent Super Paper Mario, but I have a feeling the market of people that own a Wii and own a PSP is rather slim.  But still…

The story’s a little weird to start, basically an insomniac using a virtual reality device to try to cure him.  Each 3D level is a small platforming around with colored marbles about.  To open the exit of the level, the player needs to collect a certain number of marbles, and then make it to the  exit.  There are also special bonus items one can collect.  In this fashion, the game’s similar to other puzzle-action PSP titles like Gripshift.

The feature of this game is that you can have the player “stomp” to flatten whatever view you are looking in from 3D into 2D.  The views are fixed to top down and the four directions parallel to the ground.  When you do this, you end up either as a simple top-down maze (if starting from the top view) or a 2D platformer from any of the sides.  This causes platforms that may be separated by a great distance in 3D to be a step away in 2D.  Some blocks are impassible, and your stomp will be canceled if it leaves you in a precarious position.  There’s monsters that roam some of the levels that a proper stomp will crush them.  Unstomping can result in you being on a platform you could have never been on in 3D mode, so this allows you to get the necessary marbles to get the exit opened.  Unlike SPM, you can spend an indefinite amount of time in either mode without damage, which is good for collecting all the extra goodies that are available.

So far, through the tutorial and first handful of levels, there’s nothing impossible, though I think I’m still learning the “rules” of the game and most of the steps I take are by trial  and error.   But compared to some of the other puzzle games, this one seems to offer the first unique variation on the theme, and with Super Paper Mario still fresh, it’s easy to think on how the puzzles work here.