CellFactor: PsychoKinetic Wars Results

8
CellFactor: PsychoKinetic Wars
  • Addictive gameplay
  • Simple, no-frills blasting
  • Nice range of characters
  • Does nothing new
  • Last-gen graphics/sound
  • Made with online in mind

CellFactor: PsychoKinetic Wars

August 19, 2009 by Jeff Barker  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox Live Arcade

Overview

Title: CellFactor: PsychoKinetic Wars
Release Date: 3rd June 2009
Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Shooter
Platform[s]: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

I’ve never been a big fan of First Person Shooters, except maybe Duke Nukem 3D, Goldeneye and BioShock – but saying that you’re an FPS aficionado because you played any of those games is like saying you’re into Hip-Hop because you bought the track Puff Daddy released after Biggie Smalls got shot – so I was slightly surprised when the opportunity to review CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars came up and I found myself grabbing the bull with both horns, and even more surprised when I realised I’d lost a good couple of hours to online deathmatch, even though I didn’t get any higher than second from last in the any of the match rankings (which is unsurprising, as it was my first on-line FPS dalliance).

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Gameplay

CellFactor started life as a tech demo on the PC which then grew into a full (free) game. With that in mind you can certainly see where the games’ origins are, as there is no story whatsoever – no interstellar war being raged between good and evil, and no key characters to fall in (or out) of love with. For the standard FPS gamer, this can only be viewed as a good thing as it rids you of any alliance or emotion, and concentrates on cold, hard death and destruction. To that end, you could say that CellFactor was designed with the multiplayer deathmatch in mind, but there is quite a sturdy single player game hidden underneath all that online bravado.

There are three different classes of character (which we’ll come to later) to choose from, each offering different strengths and weaknesses that need to be learned and invested in if you wish to progress to the later levels or indeed, take your game online. The single player game is based around different challenges and team games which start off fairly easy and get progressively harder as you continue, teaching you the finer points of each character’s pros and cons…and although this in itself is pretty damn enjoyable, you can’t help but feel that it’s just some beefed up training module for the kind of bad-asses you will encounter in the online world. In a fairly bold move Ubisoft has given its characters “Psi” abilities alongside the usual pistol/shotgun/pulse rifle/rocket launcher armoury, obviously attempting to set the game apart from the rest of the FPS genre – and it works quite well, adding another dimension to the carnage and drastically changing your in-game tactics..

Each character has different levels of Psi/Weapon ability, which leads us nicely into the introduction of the aforementioned character types. First up: Bishop (no, not him off Aliens) – she’s a cyborg with large robotic mammaries and prefers using her Psi abilities over her weapons – shooting out blue beams and such in place of bullets & missiles etc. She can also fly for a short while as well, which is quite handy for getting out of trouble quickly. The Blackops character is the only humanoid out of the three, and is a good all rounder – he uses his Psi abilities in the same way as Telekinesis in BioShock, picking up random objects and firing them at targets using the power of his mind. He can also teleport quickly from one spot to another, but you can only move to close-ish places and shouldn’t be relied on as an escape technique. The Guardian reminds me of the X-Men’s Sentinels, favouring brute force and the ability to dual wield his weapons, and instead only really using the Psi abilities to run quicker (barging any hapless opponents in the way) and leap, Hulk-like, into the air.

The games themselves range from Team Deathmatch to CTF, to Assault – personally the most enjoyable – where you must capture a “hacker” hidden on the map, take it to your opponent’s base and wait for it to upload without getting blown away. Things can get particularly mental at times, especially if you have a full house of Live players who know what they’re doing, but it always remains enjoyable and lends itself very well to “one more go” syndrome.

Graphics

Unfortunately, the graphics are all very last-gen, using similar palettes and shades as the original Halo – and several of the maps have a similar, Halo-esque feel to them. Saying that, the maps are many and varied – each with their own distinct look and feel – and it’s easy to remember exactly where you are on each. There are no cut scenes to speak of, and providing you remind yourself that CellFactor was borne from a Tech Demo it’s easy to forgive its lack of graphical flair. One small bonus is the ability to “pimp” your character with a variety of colours and accessories, earnt as you progress through the single player campaigns. It adds an air of individuality, and is quite a nice addition.

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Audio

Again, the sound is very last-gen – doing nothing new in the way of clicks, pops, whizzes or bangs – sticking to the usual tried and tested pistol/shotgun/machine gun noises, and slightly grainy yells of pain, mid death. There is a female voice over during the team games, letting you know when flags have been taken and dropped etc, and during particularly frantic sessions this can be quite annoying.

Overall Score & Replayability

All in all, CellFactor is a very enjoyable game, helping to fill a section of XBLA that is sorely lacking in decent shooters – if you can look over the last-gen graphics and sound, you will find a highly addictive game that ticks both online and offline boxes and although it is by no means a Halo or COD beater, it will certainly keep you coming back for more for quite a while.

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