Despite the fact that Sony was hoping developers would use the PSP to create better games, a lot of effort has been put into porting existing console games onto the platform. The end result of all of these ports is a graphically inferior product and sometimes their are even a few features missing. After the abysmal console versions of Marvel Nemesis Rise of the Imperfects, we couldn't help but feel a little worried about what the outcome of the game on the PSP would be like, so is the game better or once again imperfect?
It is important to note that whilst the games have an identical title, they are very different in numerous ways. The basic storyline remains the same though, the game centres around the six imperfects who are in New York with the sole purpose of causing trouble and destruction, this is so that their boss can get ahold of armour. It's not a very memorable story and the cut-scenes don't really tell a story that you'll keep with you, but the story serves as a basic excuse for fighting and that is all you really need to know.
There are three main modes in the game and they include quick play, multiplayer and the core single player option, campaign mode. The campaign mode let's you initially choose from The Thing and Johnny Ohm. You will fight through ten different scenarios against the other characters in the game, as you complete these rounds you actually unlock other characters from the game that are also playable in multiplayer and in the quick play mode. Along the way you'll also unlock extra battle areas and new cards, which take advantage of the card battling system implemented into the game. The PSP version also includes two exclusive characters; Captain America and Dr. Doom, but this is at the sacrifice of Daredevil and the Human Torch. Given the choice we'd probably rather the former characters as they have their own individual style, so we appreciate the addition.
The quick play mode is fairly self explanatory and is fairly engaging for a quick battle if you're on the run. It really is essential to play through the campaign mode though otherwise your options will be extremely limited. the multiplayer mode allows you to engage in a battle with any of the unlocked characters in any arena. There is no infrastructure mode but the game allows you to play via a wi-fi ad hoc mode. This is a disappointment as the console versions included online play.
The game play is a little different to your traditional fighting game, as it relies on a card based system during battle. Everytime you defeat an enemy in the campaign mode you are awared a rank of either bronze, silver or gold, this is ranked on how much time it took to defeat the enemy rather than how much power you had left. After this you're given a choice of cards and you can assign four card moves to the directional pad of the PSP. Each card grants special abilities and only you have the option of using cards, the computer doesn't have the choice. There are a total of over 170 cards, and using them to play through the campaign mode becomes essential later on.
Overall it feels as if the cards are used to balance out the fact that some characters are simply stronger than others. For example you're much better off using Elektra than the Thing, and taking on Elektra as the thing is a difficult task, so much so that cards become a necessity rather than a luxury.
The moveset is very limited in the game as well, and this can often mean that the moves become very repetive after awhile. However, this doesn't hurt the game so much because there are also special moves that each player posseses. The camera is one of the most noticable distractions to the game, and the lack of the second analog stick on the PSP has forced the developers to think of another way of controlling the camera. When you lose sight of your opponent if you press the block button quickly it will even up, now whilst this may seem like a good idea, it really doesn't work. There is nothing worse than having to stop in the middle of attacking a foe just so you can see them, sometimes you have to make the decision as to whether to keep attacking and hope for blind luck or stop just to centre the camera, and this left us very frustrated numerous times through the campaign mode as the action is fast.
Graphically the game looks fairly impresssive and it looks like a lot of effort has been put into making the game look good. Each character looks and moves exactly how they do in the comics, with Spiderman moving fast and the Thing moving slowly, but with great force. The environments can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, as some of them don't look as good as others. We didn't have any frame-rate problems until there was an extremely large amount of things happening on screen at once, but it never became an annoyance. Some of the interactive objects look a little flat, and don't look as detailed though.
The sound in the game isn't exactly memorable either, and it doesn't seem like their has been as much effort put into the sound as was put into the graphics. There are no voice overs in the PSP version either, which is surprising, but we have to assume it is because of space restrictions on the PSP's UMD. The background music blends into the background and you can barely hear it once the battles begin.
The campaign mode doesn't take too long to go through the first time, but with a total of eighteen characters it could take a while, as each battle has a unique scenario. There are also over 150 cards to collect and the wireless multiplayer mode, but we're assuming most people won't play through the entire game before the battlesbecome a little repetitive.
Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is a better game on the PSP, but this still doesn't make it an incredibly memorable adventure. It's evident from the beginning that this is a different game to the console versions, as there have been better characters implemented and a more improved single player mode has made the cut. However, playing through the campaign mode 18 times to unlock all the characters is repetitive, as are the battles after awhile. The cards don't add as much to the game as we'd hoped, which means you'll often be facing an uneven battle. If you simply must get this game then we'd recommend the PSP version, but there are better experiences out there.
XBOX: Marvel Nemesis Rise of the Imperfects