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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Amaze Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2007

 

 

- A fairly faithful (if scaled down) version of Call of Duty

 

 

- Terrible, terrible controls

- Still just another WWII FPS

 

 

Review: The Warriors (PSP)

Review: Call of Duty 3 (360)

Review: Chili Con Carnage (PSP)

 

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Call of Duty: Roads to Victory

Score: 5.0 / 10

 

It seems that developers just haven't quite grasped that certain games just don't work on the PSP. The intention of Sony's portable system is that you can get the quality of console experience in miniature form, but that just doesn't work with first-person shooters, considering the limited control capabilities. The PSP only has one (very bad) analog nub, but it hasn't stopped people from trying. And here we have another Call of Duty game, and here, once again, the platform fails at it.

 

call of duty roads to victory          call of duty roads to victory

 

Using the default controls, the analog nub is used to look around (like the left analog stick on console pads) and the face buttons are used to aim. This doesn't even remotely work for a number of reasons. Since the buttons are digital, you can't change your turning speed. And if you try to look up or down, you'll end up staring straight at the sky or ground if you press the buttons too hard. This results in your stumbling drunkenly around the battlefield.

 

There's an old fashioned control option where all movement is controlled by the nub, and you strafe by holding the trigger buttons, which is just like the way we 

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used to play first person shooters before the advent of mouse look. This is a little bit better, but the whole ordeal is still incredibly clumsy.  It seems like the developers realized this, because each weapon has different auto-aim capabilities. Machine guns are useless against anything more than twenty feet away, but all you have to do is point in the general direction of a bad guy and you'll hit it. Conversely, the rifle is 

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a bit harder to aim, but will still target long range enemies if you aim your crosshair anywhere near them. You can turn off the auto-aim completely, but there's no way you'll be able to hit anything if you have to control everything manually.

 

There are other hilarious snafus beyond simple movement. In one of the control schemes, you press Down on the D-pad to go prone. Logic would suggest that you would press Up to stand back up, but as it turns out, Up tosses a grenade. There have been more than a few times where I blew myself up because I didn't realize that the correct command to stand up was, in fact, to press Down again.

 

I'm not sure if it's even possible to master the controls, and they'll more often than not result in lots and lots and lots of deaths.

 

call of duty roads to victory          call of duty roads to victory

 

It's not like there's anything particularly original here. Anyone who's played any Call of Duty – or any World War II-based FPS within the past ten years or so – will instantly be familiar with the setting. You control various Allied forces from America , Canada and Britain as you run through crumbling European villages, shooting every Nazi you see. You'll need to call in air strikes in a few segments, although these scenes lack the visceral explosions you'd expect. You'll also take on the role of a gunner flying in an airplane. If you have friends with PSPs, there are multiplayer modes for up to six people, which consist of your standard Deathmatches or Capture the Hill games.

 

The PSP doesn't have even remotely the graphical prowess to elicit the same atmosphere of the 360 and PS3 versions, although it still manages to pull off some of the intensity, especially with a good pair of headphones. The actual level designs certainly aren’t any worse than any of the mediocre PS2 installments (Finest Hour, Big Red One, etc), but they're tightly paced and fairly involving, with each level broken up into several mini-objectives. Most of them are pretty long, which is impressive considering that they never stop to load once you begin. But since you can't save in the middle of a level, this positive slowly turns into a negative, as some of the levels do tend to drag on.

 

If there were some kind of alternate dimension where the PSP offered suitable controls for this type of game...well, it still wouldn't be anything spectacular, but at least it'd be a decent miniaturization of Call of Duty. As it stands, it's only barely playable, and it's only fun if you have the patience for fumbling controls.

 

- Kurt Kalata

(June 28, 2007)

 

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