Power Stone Collection (PSP) review
"The Power Stone series has returned and delivers great multiplayer fighting action for the PSP. The overall game experience isn't actually new, but due to the fact the Dreamcast console that carried the game was only sold for two years, most gamers probably haven't played it, which means most people will truly be playing a brand new game. "
The Power Stone series has returned and delivers great multiplayer fighting action for the PSP. The overall game experience isn't actually new, but due to the fact the Dreamcast console that carried the game was only sold for two years, most gamers probably haven't played it, which means most people will truly be playing a brand new game.
Capcom tried to dress up this port for owners of Power Stone 1 and 2 to enhance it and attract them. A portable Power Stone experience for under $30? That already attracted me, but I'm glad to see them port the game with extras because the PSP is a much better handheld console for the experience.
The graphics and core gameplay remain the same as the Dreamcast versions, which works just fine on a console lacking in the graphics department and one that lacks a second analog stick as the Dreamcast's controller lacked one as well. The characters and stages are brightly colored as in the DC versions, but unfortunately are quite pixelated and full of jaggies as most PSP games tend to be. The pixelation doesn't seem to take away from the overall look of PS1, but definitely takes away from the look during a PS2 4 Player battle as the camera is always zoomed out from the characters. It would be difficult enough to see the characters or items on a small screen with sharp graphics, but this pixelation makes details very difficult to view without eye strain.
The menus themselves are easy to read as are PS1's game endings which are placed in a separate menu along with art and sound clips from both part 1 and 2. The menu hosts unlockables for the game including PS1's VMU games which are now played on a Game and Watch style screen. The control is quite tight for the VMU games, but I feel that in both PS1 and PS2, I can't run as fast I want. It seems that because I can't actually bend the analog stick in a direction like on the Dreamcast, I can't suddenly change direction as quickly, which hurts the gameplay.
Button mashing works just as well on the PSP as on the DC controller and feels more comfortable than on a DC controller. Precise movements work quite well on the PSP, except when you want to run into someone and pound them. Again, the PSP analog stick's slower response time may force your character to stop early or just keep going. It doesn't seem to hurt the game terribly during 1 on 1 battles, but trying to face 3 different opponents in PS2 can really be tricky. Fortunately, the characters have large health meters in the game and lots of stones, so you don't have to worry about losing health as fast as in PS1, and you can usually stand still and tap the attack button and damage multiple opponents.
Although each character's story is simple in PS1 and there is only one major story in PS2, there is still much joy in the game as each character attacks differently and transforms into a whole new character. It's definitely the gameplay that is the heart of the game unlike many Capcom titles like Resident Evil and Dino Crisis, where the story keeps bringing gamers back. The choice of how to attack an opponent and the choice of stage select in PS2 help give this fighter some freedom and replayability. The sound effects for all those weapons and the weapondry in each stage of the game help add uniqueness and replayability as well, but the characters all speak Japanese, which is a negative for a North American audience. Fortunately, the music and effects are precise arcade quality, so it's a nice game to listen to using the PSP's large speaker.
Another large part of Power Stone's replayability is the ability to obtain new items. Every time you beat PS1 with a character, you unlock a new item such as a gatling gun and extending pole. For PS2, you unlock items through a one life only Adventure mode which can be combined to make in-game items in a special mode. You can take anything from cheese to iron and combine it with cloth and an apple and make food items, weapons, and other power ups. These new items certainly make combat interesting.
Each game included in the collection has a different focus on combat. Power Stone 1 focuses on one-on-one fighting with power struggles over collecting three power stones. Usually, which ever character transforms first will win the bout, but in Power Stone 2, that matters little. It focuses on choosing the best paths in an adventure style stage, beating more opponents than anyone, grabbing the best items, and collecting stones as many times as you can. It takes a lot of time to defeat someone with martial arts, so operating vehicles, using items, and grabbing power stones is the key to winning. Power Stone 2 also has two huge bosses to face instead of Power Stone 1's single giant boss. In general, PS1 is a tournament style fighter, while PS2 is a Super Smash Bros. style multiplayer beat-em up. It would be hard for me to choose just one Power Stone game to play, but since Capcom packaged both of them together, we all get the best of both worlds.
I can't recommend this game over the two Dreamcast versions due to having to play on a small screen and the pixelated graphics, but since Power Stone 2 is truly a rare find, you might as well buy Power Stone Collection like I did if you want to play it. Some advantages of this pint-sized Power Stone game is the ability to battle other gamers wirelessly and of course, the ability to play Power Stone where ever you want.
For hardcore Power Stone fans like myself and fans of wacky fighters, I highly recommend Power Stone Collection on your PSP. Although flawed, it is still one of the most fun game collections available for the PSP.
Community review by japanaman (June 20, 2007)
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