PS2 Roundup • Page 3

Naruto: UN 2, Dragon Ball Z: BT 3, High School Musical, Final Armada, Jackass.

Final Armada

  • Developer: I-Imagine
  • Publisher: Virgin PLAY

Try this at home, ladies and gents: pop Final Armada in a random pile of PS2 titles and ask an unwitting somebody to place them all chronological order. Nine times out of ten Final Armada's going to be the first one in the list because, despite coming out recently, it looks like a game from the first months of the PS2's life. Possibly even a scrubbed-up N64 title if we were being particularly cruel. Levels lack detail; bland terrain with outcroppings of crude trees and rocks, and a poor, muddy draw distance to boot. Character models are stiff and wooden and lack what should be de rigueur voiceovers in the cutscenes. It really it is a game that's come unstuck in time.

Sadly, it plays like it has, too. This isn't a game that makes up in personality what it lacks in looks. Its premise is clunky vehicular combat: trying to drive in circles to get behind enemies in order to put a dent in their metallic hides with your weak gun and weedy supply of missiles. The viewpoint fails to account for your peripheral vision in all this. Trying to futilely loop behind a swooping fighter without being able to look left and right shouldn't really be anybody's idea of fun, particularly how it's done here. And while you can look behind, it's stupidly mapped to the button which cycles through your forward camera views as well.

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Wouldn't it be nice if somebody invented a better explosion than the ones we've got now?

The game's one conceit to some form of innovation is a wingman who flies beside you and aids in battles; a wingman that requires nothing more tactical than to be pointed towards the enemy and commanded to fire. Pointless, really.

It starts off relatively easy and gets tougher as enemies overwhelm, adopting the Halo system of shield recharging (ah, so we can at least ascertain that it came out after that game) to make the challenge. While your health is poor, your shield fills up pretty quickly when damaged. That doesn't make the slog any more exciting, though, and a few fixed turret missions later on really put the boring icing on the boring cake. Transformers (the good PS2 one), say, or even ancient Rage game Incoming had more ideas based around the same shooter concept while also looking a hundred times better. Any sympathy for Final Armada not having to make do with a triple-A budget is stifled by mediocrity of the worst kind.

My next trick: look deeply into my closing paragraph. On the count of three you will forget about this unmemorable game completely. One... two... three. There. It's gone.

3/10

Jackass

  • Developer: Sidhe Interactive
  • Publisher: Empire Interactive

As we speak my band of zany Eurogamer cohorts have set fire to my underpants and fired a coconut at my testicles, so what better time to write this review? Well...oh no! They're riding space hoppers naked and beating me with a giant inflatable spoon! What will they think of next?

Seriously, I've a fond regard for Jackass' gonzo brand of sado-masochistic skater comedy. With its cult cachet slowly flickering out in the years since the TV series and movies finished, however, it feels a little out of place for any game to be cashing-in now. Should we now expect an OC adaptation? An Ally McBeal action adventure? A Firefly MMO? No, wait, scratch that last one.

Still, despite an untimely release, it's hard not to let out a weary sigh upon the realisation that the videogame of the show is nothing more than a predictable collection of minigames. What more could you or I expect, or Jackass deserve, though? There are thirty-five in total, some culled directly from previous shows' stunts (e.g. eating eggs till you vomit or paintballing Johnny Knoxville's private parts); a lot more high risk and fantastical (racing dodgems on the top of skyscrapers, playing golf with grenades, or paddling through poo-infested sewers, and so on). For the most part, they're usually scatological and painful, often both at the same time.

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Nearly all characters are also available to play in their underwear. It's a Jackass tradition, and slightly erotic.

There's certainly an effort to offer variety. The game mixes up challenges with different environments and multiple goals in each, without too much in the way of an overlap between them all. There's nothing entirely memorable, however: any game involving a vehicle or moveable object, handles awfully, and the challenge never gets beyond the standard tapping X, swerving to avoid Y, or matching face buttons to play. The only difference between this and a thousand other minigame collections is your Jackass cronies guffawing and gallivanting in the background.

The problem underlining it all is that the games are way too easy. Despite a few extra objectives to achieve, most can be cleared after one or two goes. At around ten minutes per game, at least they don't overstay their welcome, but they don't offer longevity either. Once the story mode is cleared you can go back to earn points to unlock the usual movies and artwork, but the glamour and comedy fizzles out by then.

It's a bonus that they got the cast together to mo-cap and voice the characters. It at least adds a semblance of authenticity to proceedings, but while the presentation is decent enough, the game's still a rudimentary collection of short, simple vignettes you'll half-heartedly enjoy racing though then quickly tire of. I could also argue that Jackass ethos is all about spontaneity and recklessness, which this game evidently lacks, but we'll leave it at that. Even the sound of Steve-O and the Jackass japesters laughing uproariously over the top of it all can't turn this into goof off gold.

5/10

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