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Gun Showdown Review

Welcome everybody to the Wild, Wild West! About two years ago, Activision released a sleeper hit on the console market world in the form of the game Gun. Set in the 1800’s, players took control of Colton White and traveled the old west in a third person action adventure seeking revenge for the death of his father. Two years later, Rebellion is taking the now classic game and porting it over to the portable realm. The question is how well can the portable title stand up to the console original?

In terms of graphics and production, the game has handled the transition very well. Gun is an absolute handheld-graphical masterpiece. The game looks very polished and moves very well. The environments are lush and really give you a good sense of the old Wild West. Rebellion did an absolutely outstanding job in porting the console versions over the PSP. There are many cases in which the graphics themselves look even more polished on the PSP than the console versions. The game is definitely a treat for the eyes.

The sound quality of the game isn’t bad but it just doesn’t sync up too well. All of the sounds are crisp and well done; the gun shots, the dialogue, the music… the quality is definitely up there. The problem is that there seems to be a bit of a delay in the sounds of all of the cut scenes and made it really feel like you were watching a really (really) bad movie. To make things worse, the latency wasn’t always consistent either; sometimes the audio would be late, other times it was early… it just did not seem refined. They seem to have put a lot of time into creating a great sound base, but where is that same effort in terms of integrating it into the game?

Sadly the gameplay and control features of Gun don’t quite handle the transition as well as some of the other features. I found the control setup of the game to be absolutely horrendous. Don’t get me wrong, Rebellion did the absolute best that they could given the physical limitations of the handheld, but they just did not find a good way to make up for the loss of the second analog stick of which the consoles have the benefit. The default setup maps the mouse look / camera movement to the face buttons and the control nub is used to move the character around. There is a toggle within the options menu which will allow the user to reverse these, but neither method is comfortable or tolerable. The main issue is that the camera just doesn’t move fast enough, regardless of which buttons you are using to move it. It seems really unresponsive and makes it very difficult to be accurate during gun fights which, as you can imagine, is a very important aspect of the game. Action games are about just that: action and not being able to move and shoot accurately drastically diminishes the enjoyment of the game. The player feels like the slowest and most inaccurate gunslinger around, the complete opposite of the roll you are supposed to be playing. The control and gameplay are the huge thorns in the side of the game which really inhibit its ability to be an enjoyable title.

Aside from the faults with the control, Rebellion has gone out of their way to beef up the game’s standard story mode in order to appease players. Showdown is really a director’s cut of the original title. There are quite a few additional missions that have been added into the standard story mode which will extend the experience further than what was experienced on the console versions. Aside from general gun fighting, the game will have you playing your share of poker, riding horse back, and exploring towns while speaking to the natives. All of the standard exploration elements of the robust console version are there and then some. Gun veterans will notice a few other additions as well. Unlike the console version, the player is given control of Colton’s horse Rogue immediately following the introductory mission. Before, you had to work further into the game before the ability to travel on horse back was given to you, but Rebellion has given this ability to the players nearly right from the start. It was definitely a nice treat to be given the horse luxury early on in the game. Another addition is the inclusion of throwing knifes as a new weapon in this version of the game which will add some variation to those who may have experienced the previous versions of Gun.

Like many PSP games, Gun includes a few online modes that can be played over both Adhoc (local) and wireless internet connections. Players are given the option to play either standard deathmatch games, Golden Cross (Gun’s version of Capture the Flag), and Texas Hold’em. Unfortunately for the non-poker modes, the control system completely cripples the ability to truly enjoy the games. It is just too difficult to track and shoot your opponents. The camera is not responsive enough in either control option to make it something that you will want to constantly come back and play again. Texas Hold’em is pretty straight forward and nothing particularly great to brag about either. It is really no different than any of the Hold’em versions found in the countless other titles out there…not to mention that you probably aren’t going to find anyone playing it online to join. You do have the option of adding bots into the multiplayer modes to help combat the issue of not being able to find opponents if you want to, but you probably won’t…

I really feel awkward about this game as a whole; on one hand, Rebellion did an incredible job moving the console version over to the PSP platform. On the other hand, unfortunately, they didn’t alter the game enough to truly make up for the physical differences in the control schemes of the various platforms. There is a quality game here, but it is marred by a horrible control scheme that I felt made the game unplayable and impossible for me to enjoy. I am sure that other players out there will enjoy the title and may not look at it in as harsh of a light as I have, but Gun Showdown just wasn’t a good game for me.

Final Verdict

What can I say, Gun Showdown is one of those games that I want to love, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. The game is gorgeous and is a very faithful port of the console versions, but the control limitations of the PSP completely ruined the experience for me. True, die-hard Gun fans will probably be pleased with an investment in this game, but I wouldn’t jump into it unless you know exactly what you are getting into.


5.5 out of 10

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Gun Showdown Review

Related Information

Posted by: BigDuff
Date: November 29, 2006
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Rebellion
Release Date: 10/10/2006
Genre: Action
Number of Players: 1-6
ESRB Rating: Mature
System Reviewed: PSP

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Categories: PSP Reviews, PSP, Reviews

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