The Wild West theme has been used in movies since the beginning of Hollywood, and has been the setting of some of the greatest flicks of all time. The transition of the Wild West to the video game realm has not been as successful, and curiously has not been used all that often. That changed last year when Activision released Gun for the current consoles as well as the Xbox 360, with good results. Now a year later Activision is back on the saddle with Gun Showdown now for Sony’s Playstation Portable. So how does the transition to the small screen turn out? Read our full review to find out!
For those who did not give Gun a shot last year, I should probably do a quick catch up on what this game is all about. First off, the game’s storyline from last year is completely intact ,and Gun Showdown just takes the original story and adds just a bit more depth. Anyways, you play as Colton White, a typical looking gunslinger who is seeking revenge (isn’t that all Wild West movies?). What transpires is there is an attack on a steamboat that claims the life of his father. So you are off an open ended adventure to take out the responsible parties, and have some side adventures along the way.
One of the big concerns for any game coming from the consoles to the PSP is that it will just be a direct port, in that you will be playing the same game on a small screen. Well, rather than being a slimmed down port, Gun Showdown actually adds even more content to the original game. But the big question is, is there enough content to the game to make it worthwhile to check it out for a second time?
Well one of the big changes that was made to the PSP version of Gun Showdown is the controls, which had to be modified quite a bit to work on the PSP. In fact, one of the big changes is the analog sticks, which were an extremely influential part of Gun Showdown. Unfortunately, the translation has not been as smooth as hoped, and does take something away from the experience of the game. One of the big areas you can feel this change is when you’re exploring the vast world on horseback, which is a bit challenging to do on the PSP. My thumbs up goes for the shooting mechanics, which is probably the best translation, feeling the most fluid part of the PSP controls.
The port to the PSP still brings to the table a very open environment style Wild West game that translates well to the small screen. The game does actually seem to flow a little better with the extra content, which actually seems to fill some of the voids that the console version had. However, if you had any bad feelings about the original Gun, I doubt many of them are going to be changed by this version. This is just an extended version of what we saw before, with a bit more challenging controls and the same great western storyline. Being that this is a portable game, you have to be impressed by how much great content can be packed into such a small UMD.
Visually you can see that some things were toned down a bit for Showdown to make it all fit and work on the PSP. The frame rate seems to be the game’s biggest challenge, as it seems to dip in some of the hectic action sequences that have multiple enemies coming at you at once. There is also a lack of detail found in the environments, which does make the game look a little bland in comparison to what we saw in last year’s game.
I have to say that the original Gun was more than anything original, in that there just aren’t a whole lot of games based-off the Wild West. The game takes a GTA style approach, in that it allows you to travel around the environments and do the missions whenever you feel like it. There are plenty of side missions to go into Gun Showdown that do help keep the game feeling fresh and new throughout the game. This is a deep PSP experience that also has some multiplayer that is interesting, but neither adds nor detracts from the overall experience.
Gun Showdown is a game that manages to take the original game and transitions it into a very nice package on the PSP. Although the controls just weren’t as fluid as they were on the consoles, it was good to see that they could take a console game and actually make it even deeper on a handheld. If you liked Gun and want to take it on the road, you’re going to really enjoy Gun Showdown for the PSP.
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.