The Con PSP Review

Sometimes you can spend ages thinking of a cool intro to start a review with. You’ve got to try and be funny, clever, witty, and most importantly engage you, the kind reader, sufficiently to make you care enough to read the rest of the inane ramblings you see below. However, this was not the case when The Con arrived on my doormat as almost instantly I began to think of many ideas that were not only funny, clever, and witty, but quite possibly all of the above combined into one. Idea’s flooded my mind where I going to tell you that ‘this game was a con’ and ‘don’t be conned into buying it!’ I think my best idea was ‘this is far from a long con; you will want to get rid of this in less than a day!’ Unfortunately when I started to play the game those ideas were quickly shot down as I kind of enjoyed was I was playing and as a result you, the kind reader, was left with this sorry excuse for an intro – for that I am truly sorry.

The Con is your typical fighting game, but with a twist… in fact the name ‘The Con” actually gives you a good idea of what the game is about. Before every fight you are given the option of placing a bet on what is about to unfold. You can either bet on yourself winning or, and more interesting, on your opponent being victorious. Then as you work your way though the fight the odds will change depending on how you fight until the betting window closes. It’s then up to you to either win, lose, make an incredible comeback or put up a credible fight. To help you in your quest the game has a few extra options compared to your typical fighter as you now have the option to throw fake punches or exaggerate how much a has punch hurt you. The developers do a good enough job at pulling this off as the crowd will realise if you are not doing a good enough job of selling your beating and they will figure out you’re throwing the fight unless you put some effort in. This is all tied together by a basic story which sees you go against lower tier fighter as you work your way up to a boss.

The fighting gameplay works kind of like a toned down version of Fight Night having you swaying and ducking to avoid hits. The four face buttons are then mapped to all the different attacks. The R shoulder button is used for blocks and dodging while the L shoulder is left for the selling of the fight I mentioned above having up you throw punches with very little power if it is held down in conjunction with the attack buttons. Outside of the main story mode there is a quick play option to let your created character or some pre-made characters battle it out with some survival and time attack options available to mix things up a bit. If you and a friend own the game (yes I know that is unlikely) then there is the option to wager some of the items against each other in a multiplayer battle. All in all I had some good fun playing the game in short busts. At times when I got a bit bored of fighting aspects of the game it was the gambling aspects which kept me wanting to play a little bit more. In all honesty the ideas could have been better put together, but when all is said and done The Con is a nice break from the fighting norm.

With the game opting for a behind the back view for fights it is hard to praise the graphics very highly; nevertheless some aspects of the game do look very nice. The fighters themselves look the best with some nice looking animations and textures making each of the selection available stand out from each other. Environments are less satisfying and look drab and dull when shown next to the fighters. The menus and other parts of the presentation such as the life bars are also not highly eye-catching and could have used a bit more work. In terms of audio things start to go even further downhill. Firstly the soundtrack is just terrible with some cheesy aggressive-funk style music making up most of the soundtrack. Even if you like the punk genre there really is nothing to enjoy here as most of the tracks seem very cheaply put together with nothing memorable to be heard. Next up is the voice acting – which is interspersed throughout the story mode cutscenes – sadly it has little to no emotion put into it and comes across as sounding very flat. Probably the best aspect of the audio is the sound effects as most of the kicks and punches seem to make a good solid sounding impact.

All in all The Con does not take itself too seriously… it knows it is never going share in the same type of gameplay Tekken brings to the handheld nor will it ever be as perfectly balanced as a certain Virtua Fighter series. If the game were released on a home console it would just not work as it is no where deep enough to stand up to substantial gameplay, but as a handheld title there is some fun to be had. If you are the type of gamer that likes to take your PSP along with you when travelling and you’re looking for something to play on the bus then you could do a hell of a lot worse than to pick up this game. When all’s said and done it is not a title that is going to set the world alight, far from it in fact; it just might be a lot better than you think it is… it was for me anyway.

At least it’s not just another port.

7.0 out of 10
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