Since its high-profile launch, it’s a mighty surprise that the handheld is still searching for a must-buy title to really catapult it to super-stardom. Today we are going to check out one of the more action oriented PSP games to come out in 2005, one that actually had a decent run on the PlayStation 2. The game is Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, and it tries to make its mark on the untested territory of shooters on the PSP. Is it successful? Read our full review to find out!
For those of you who haven’t heard of Ghost in the Shell, than here is a quick rehash for you. The game is actually based on an extremely popular anime series, which I can’t say I have been overly familiar with. But I have watched a few episodes, and can safely say that these are more "mature" anime shows. Now you would hope since Standalone Complex is based off the show that you would be given an extremely engaging storyline to along with it, but unfortunately this is not the case.
In this game you are apart of the elite Section 9 force, who are really the crème of the crop in the police force. Now without going too far in-depth, there are some governmental shenanigans going on and of course it is your job to uncover what the heck is going on. The game really never gives you a firm introduction of what is going on and why you should care, but instead just goes through the motions. The story, for lack of better words, was just plain and uneventful. Never once was I intrigued, and never once did I ever care one blink what happened to any of the characters in the game. When this sort of thing happens, you know that’s not a good sign.
You can really see that the developers were struggling to figure out how to get the best controls, so they really just give you multiple options on control schemes, each with their pros and cons. Of course no matter which of these schemes you pick, you will instantly find that most of the guns are less accurate than when you were five and blind folding yourself and trying to hit a target. At times trying to hit things is just a complete joke, and this of course is another "not so good" sign for the game.
What really saves you from dying all the time is your "tachikoma", which literally are the saving grace for your character. Basically these are little tanks that just obliterate your enemies, and make up for the lack of aim that you will have with your own weapons. You will find the small tank doing most of the work, while you just resort to mopping up after the carnage. Although this sounds like fun, in reality this kind of takes away from the challenge of the game.
In the end, Standalone Complex really has a few too many problems for my taste. Some things I should mention are the level design, which feels like the old school FPS style where you just go through the same style corridors over and over again. I have said that this game is capable of so much more than what we were given in the final product. The game does work and it has some good points, but the overall feel of the game just isn’t that impressive. The game has a really poor story, the controls are difficult, and the whole feel of the game was just that of a lackluster first person shooter.
Visually Standalone Complex is one of those games that I just felt could have been more than what you saw in the final product. The environments were a sore spot for the game, as they didn’t carry a whole lot of variety. What makes matter worse is that they all start to look alike after a while. The animation works well, and doesn’t seem to have any major glaring issues. The overall look of the game is good, but nothing that hasn’t been done better on the PSP to-date.
For those of you consistent readers out there, you know already that I am a pretty big fan of the FPS genre, and I have to admit I was hoping Standalone Complex would fill the void on the PSP. Well of course there were some major issues with the game, and the main one being the sheer difficulty in trying to hit a target. The game does have some multiplayer options, but these were plagued by the same problems as the single player, which really made the multiplayer rather uneventful. The game just wasn’t all that entertaining and although it was nice to see another attempt at a FPS on the PSP, this one just wasn’t all that enjoyable.
In the end, Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex ended up being a game with some ideas that really just didn’t pan out. The shooting in the game was much too difficult and the game itself just lacked any sort of story or interesting features. Fans of the anime show might find some things to enjoy, but everyone else will probably be fine just staying clear of this game, as it just doesn’t have enough to offer for even a rental.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.