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Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception (Xbox 360) artwork

Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception (Xbox 360) review

"Imagine it's the year 2632. Humans have advanced technology, the ability to fly around in space with ease, and we even found alien species that resemble humans. What a small world eh?! But then imagine that life is like a video game with terrible gameplay. And that's the recipe for Project Slypheed, a failed attempt at an action game in which you get into big space battles and try to resolve things by blowing stuff up. "

Imagine it's the year 2632. Humans have advanced technology, the ability to fly around in space with ease, and we even found alien species that resemble humans. What a small world eh?! But then imagine that life is like a video game with terrible gameplay. And that's the recipe for Project Slypheed, a failed attempt at an action game in which you get into big space battles and try to resolve things by blowing stuff up.

The story of the game puts you in the shoes of Katana Faraway, a young 19 year old Earthling who's part of a military force that's trying to stop an evil army from restricting freedom and prosperity throughout the galaxy. He's teamed with a big cast of characters that you may or may not grow to like, including a guy who loved Mike Tyson's face tattoo so much that he got one for himself. I kid, but seriously the character Raymond looks like Mike Tyson. Anyhoo Katana has issues cause his former best friend Margaras is part of the evil ADAN army that he's facing and this causes him much grief and blah blah blah. The story isn't interesting. It doesn't have any twists or turns, or at least none that can't be seen coming from a mile away. There are a ton of cutscenes to watch but the script is horrible and really the characters look like every other character from an anime game.

But stories don't make the game...even if Square Enix is supposed to be the best at that sorta stuff. No the gameplay has to put us over the edge and give us reason enough to buy it. And unfortunately the game fails in that department too. Horribly I might add. The game is a single player only romp in which you pilot these Delta Saber ships around and get into big space battles with the evil ADAN army. There are 16 levels in total and the game tries to change up the action every now and then. Sometimes you're just killing all the enemies. Other times you have to escort civilians and protect them from blowing up. And in another mission you might be clearing a mine field so that your troops can move forward. But this diversity isn't that different as all you're really doing is blowing enemies up. They fly near you, you kill them. End of story.

Everytime you clear a mission you get points for how many enemies you killed, if you chose to do sub-missions or not, and overall how you performed. You then use these points to buy new weapons for your ship. But every upgrade is always not even really worth it. Like you'll see an upgrade that will get you a better firing range, and that's it. Same attack power, maybe less ammo than usual, and it's ridiculously expensive to buy. In other words, it's a waste of money. But you'll have to play the game quite a fair bit until you get the better weapons, which you can only unlock by buying the first few. But hey it's a cool idea right? You get to customize your ship! And it even gets affected by how light or heavy all the weapons are. But you know it really doesn't make the gameplay feel different at all. I'll get a weapon with higher attack power and it still feels like the same results. And if you're gonna let me customize my ship, let me paint some art on the thing and get my creative juices flowing!

But why is the gameplay tedious? Let's start with the dumb controls and ridiculous display. You use the left analog stick to move the ship, and you can go up or down, left or right, and you can spin horizontally as well. Yes spinning and moving left or right are on the same stick. You push lightly to move left or right, and you push hard to spin. So basically if you're chasing an enemy who moves to your side, you have to push lightly to kinda meet up with him. The ship is so slow at turning and moving around you'll hate the cutscenes for teasing you with it's hyper active space battles. Cause trust me, how the ship moves in a cutscene and how it moves in the game are two very different things. It almost feels like you don't even move, it's more like the ships are moving and you're just aiming where to shoot and I'm sorry, but that is extremely boring to me.

And it's just aggravating on the eyes as well. There are too many damn display items on the screen. You've got your health bar, your shield bar, your engine speed, how many ships you've killed, how many warships you've killed, how many enemies are left, what formation your troops are in, how much ammo's in your main gun, how much ammo's in your sub-weapon, your radar, the timer, a bar measuring how close in range your target is, and the TARGETS, my god the targets are everywhere! Giant freaking orange and yellow circles, and your ally's health bars, and then they'll actually talk to you and their face and text will come up too. MY GOD! Get rid of the interface I wanna see the action here! I mean the graphics are almost decent because the ships look great and all of the effects like missle launching are awesome to look at as well. So why do you slap all these damn icons on my screen?! Yeesh. It's really annoying to look at.

The gunplay is a matter of lining up the enemies with your crosshairs, pulling the trigger, and they die. It's not complicated. Should you get hurt you can actually fly over to your medic ship and it'll not only reload all of your ammo, but it'll restore any damages you may suffer from your enemies. And I actually liked that aspect a lot....well, almost. Now we come to another stupid dumb choice which quite frankly extended my playing time way longer than it needed to be. THE TIME LIMITS. I don't know who thought this was a good idea, but for some reason every level has a time limit. You have to complete every objective in under 10 minutes, or you have to restart that objective all over again. There's no reason, the only explanation you get is from your radio lady, and she just says that time's running out. These missions aren't quick. They will take time and it's mainly because of how slow your ship is, and how heavily fortified some of these warships are. So I guarantee that every level will probably take at least 10 to 15 minutes to complete....assuming you don't lose. And you can actually try and do sub-missions, but this time limit business gives you no incentive to wanna try.

If you die during your 8th minute trying to accomplish the objective, you have to restart that objective and waste another 8 minutes. If you should not beat the objective in 10 minutes, you're more than likely going to spend another 9 or 10 minutes retrying the objective. I mean these are long missions! These levels are time sucks. They are long and they don't have any real good checkpoints. I literally spent an hour on one level and after finally beating it, I never wanted to play the damn game again. Because the levels are almost exactly the same. Sure the levels look different, maybe there's a planet in the background this time! But the gameplay is always going to be about shooting down ships, and that's it. And spending an hour on one of 16 levels, really left me no desire to play the others. Since I knew I would spend 10 to 15 (OR MORE) minutes doing the same crap over and over again. I hated this game.

Presentation wise it looks okay. I mean it's anime influenced sci-fi game. All of the characters have blue hair and red hair and silver hair....the ships look good but they aren't so cool you'll wanna build lego versions of them or anything. And in the audio department the game features some pretty weak voice acting. Which is a shame since every 10 seconds someone is talking to you and even screaming at you for shooting them, even though they fly right into your line of fire because they don't have the common sense to stay away from where you're facing. The music is techno and some of the bits were actually nice to listen to. Most of the audio however is forgettable. So to add insult to injury, the game doesn't even look or sound that great to help rise above it's awful gameplay.

I absolutely had no fun whatsoever playing this game. The presentation is average, the story is lame, and you spend 16 really long levels doing the same thing over and over again. Hooray for time limits!

ClementJ64's avatar
Community review by ClementJ64 (September 30, 2007)

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