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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activsion

 

Developer

Rebellions Studio / Neversoft

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q4 2006

 

 

- Decent amount of additions from console versions (new multiplayer and mini-game modes) make this more than only a straight port

- M-rated GTA-style gameplay will bring a real sense of blood-shedding-and-guts-spilling gun-slinging revelry to the PSP

- Visually holds its own against its console brethren

 

 

- Controls arenít as good as they are on the console versions

- Story mode over all too quickly

 

 

Review: Gun (360)

Review: The Godfather: Mob Wars (PSP)

Review: Red Dead Revolver (XB)

 

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Gun: Showdown

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

The Wild, Wild West that defined the expanding landscape of 19th-century America, while not totally ignored, has always been a underutilized setting for games. There have been plenty of great Western-themed games, just not as many as the genre would seem to warrant. I mean, you have horse wrangling and riding, gunfights, cowboys and Indians, and New World settling out in the untamed wilderness of undiscovered American soil as possible storylines for games. Two of the more recent Western-centric games were the excellent Oddworld: Strangerís Wrath and the gritty, M-rated Gun, which has rustled up a PSP spin-off, Gun Showdown.

 

gun showdown          gun showdown

 

Gunís console gameplay, which can simply be described as Grand Theft Auto-meets the Old West, is brought to the portable playground. Youíre one Colton White, a once-meek-but-now-vengeful wronged man seeking vigilante justice in and around Dodge City for the unspeakable events and consequences of an ill-fated hunting trip. But this isnít just a complete port of the console version. For the PSP, there are new multiplayer (which, for some reason, werenít included for consoles) and quick-play mini-game modes, although thereís a somewhat 

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scaled back story mode (that moves as a too-frenetic pace, even with some additions absent from the consoles) with plenty of side missions (such as making deliveries, collecting bounties, even playing in high-stakes games of Texas hold-íem poker) that pay off in money or increases to your abilities statistics.

 

One major change adapted for the PSP, lacking a second analog 

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stick, is the control schematic. It does well considering youíll be using a D-pad as a major contributor to navigating Colton throughout his dangerously wild Western adventuring. Coltonís movements are dealt to the lone PSP analog stick, while the four face buttons manipulate where heís looking and aiming (as well as flinging your sidearm back into its holsterís resting place and also switching weapons), although thereís overgenerous auto-aiming that comes in handy during hot and heavy bullet-exchanging. That can be reversed so that the gun aiming is mapped to the analog stick while Colton is moved around with the D-pad, but either way will take an adjustment period for console gamers.

 

gun showdown          gun showdown

 

While the controls are OK for moseying Colton around and firing his six-shooter, it doesnít feel quite as secure when it comes to Coltonís horseback riding, especially when thereís gunfire heading your way. And although the console version wasnít exactly the prettiest lass on the ranch, with sometimes-muddied visuals, the development team does a rather commendable job bringing a nearly matching graphical level to the PSP.

 

Saddle up, hombre, for Gun Showdownís a straight-shooting, hang-íem high good Western escapade (you almost expect Clint Eastwood, Mr. Spaghetti Western himself, to make an appearance). A solid story with accompanying satisfyingly gory and glorified GTA-esque Western gunplay along with added multiplayer and mini-game modes overcome a too-short story mode and just-barely-OK controls as Gun Showdown ride off into the sunset as a quality Western-themed adventure for the PSP.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(March 17, 2007)

 

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