Robotech: Invasion PS2 Review
Remember Robotech, that anime series which debuted in the early 1980s? No! Well that’s ok cause neither do I (I only lived through six years of the 80s anyway) but upon receiving this title for the purpose of reviewing I did a small bit of checking up on it and found out that it did look like a rather interesting premise. Robotech: Invasion is the second in what is looking to be a trilogy of games, the first having been Robotech: Battlecry. I personally have not played Battlecry so this is my first look at the Robotech universe and honestly I can’t say I am very impressed.
Gaming Brought Back To The 80s
The basic premise of Invasion revolves around a breed of aliens called the Ivild who have succeeded in colonizing earth. To fight these aliens, humans have cobbled together a resistance force. As you play the game you switch between playing as an on-foot humanoid soldier and a motorcycle rider. Oh, a motorcycle rider – that’s sounds cool! Yes it does sound cool in theory but in the game it just does not work. There is a whole list of things wrong with it, the first being that riding the bike is extremely slow and as a result very boring! Next, the controls feel a bit off and never feel accurate which adds another detrimental note to the list. All in all it is just better to stay in humanoid mode; or rather it would if it played any better.
While playing the humanoid mode, the game feels much like Metroid Prime; but instead of playing like the famed shooter, it reminds you of all the things Metroid did correct and how hard of an act it is to follow. In this mode you can carry two different weapons at one time; one which you must carry at all points (the modular, protoculture-powered gallant rifle) which means you can only really choose one weapon at any time yourself. Interestingly the above named weapon can be upgraded as you advance through the game which is one of the game’s more interesting features but that’s only one ray of light in a shroud of clouds.
In humanoid mode, you can switch easily between first and third person viewpoints. The heads-up display is reminiscent of Metroid Prime, with a large, round readout that takes up much of the screen with gauges, ammo counters, a compass, and other pieces of information. Depending on what type of cyclone armour you have, you’ll have access to a low-light, night vision mode, thermal vision, and later in the game, stealth camouflage. The game also has a “lock-on and track” feature similar to Metroid which lets you fine target via the right thumbstick to shoot the Invid in the eye (their weak spot). Disappointingly the campaign is not the most interesting ever, sure it has all the standard type of missions you’d expect (escort, search and destroy, rail shooter) but none really stand out as being spectacular in anyway. In fact only one of them is anything more than above average. The game also has some online multiplayer mode but are enough of people going to buy to make these interesting?
All in all graphically, Robotech: Invasion won’t be blowing your mind with any new graphical techniques and looks rather average. I believe the first game (Battlecry) used the cel-shaded technique to match it up what was seen in the series in the 80s but for whatever reason (time constraints) Invasion has completely abandoned this and instead gone for your bog-standard 3D engine. Weirdly it looks as if the developers did not communicate with each other when making the game as some aspects look much nicer than others. Some of the soldiers in the game look great and move about nicely and seem to use some nice animation but other aspects like some parts of the environments look very lazily animated and as a result the whole game suffers. Also many areas of the game are very dark which everyone knows is not very nice to look at. In terms of sound, the game also suffers for one very big reason as it contains some of the worst voice acting seen in games since the conception of the spoken word. The music and sound effects are ok but nothing special, they just do their job.
Basically, Robotech: Invasion is an FPS done wrong with few redeeming features. Only worth buying if you have already played almost everything else in the genre that is available or if you are a huge fan of the series and need to own every piece of merchandise that is available. I believe the series deserves much, much more than what is being dished out at the moment (and that is coming from someone that knows very little about the franchise). Must try harder!