Gungriffon Blaze – Second Opinion

Playing Gungriffon Blaze, I definitely agree with Chi when he said that almost everything is done wrong here. The offenses taken separately by themselves aren't anything that would ruin a normal game, but there are just so many individual pieces that don't work. When you add them all up it makes for a pretty miserable experience, and a game that does not deserve to be purchased under any circumstances.

In terms of graphics, it's extremely bland as Chi already mentioned. While the visuals are fairly solid, who cares? It comes off as an unimaginative PlayStation game using the PlayStation 2's much-lauded power only to eliminate clipping and severe pop-in. It's a bunch of unremarkable generic robot designs running through featureless fields and pixel-flat trees, with only the occasional blocky bunker or slope to break up the monotony. For most of the game I felt as though I was playing the one copy of Krazy Ivan in existence which didn't include the obscene amount of fog. The only thing out of the game's entire visual display which caught my eye was a 12-second snippet of the intro movie. What's the point of this game being on the PlayStation 2 if they aren't going to take advantage of the machine by making it artistically and visually attractive?

Another thing which annoyed me to no end was the horrible control layout. Any game which uses the shoulder buttons for major functions like, oh, let's say "jump" and "shoot" while LEAVING FACE BUTTONS UNUSED in the default setting needs to go back to the design team and be redone. There are alternate setups offered, but they're all clunky in one way or another with none satisfying, mostly due to the two-stick control scheme. With such a supposedly powerful machine, it's sheer laziness to not offer the player the option to re-map the buttons and switch the functions of the sticks.

Far and away, the thing in Gungriffon Blaze which destroyed my enjoyment beyond any hope of salvation was the complete and utter lack of a map or usable radar device. While the areas you fight in are unexpectedly small and surrounded by the infamous "you are leaving the area" invisible walls formerly found in Star Fox or WarHawk, at times it was extremely difficult to locate the enemies you're there to annihilate. While relying on line-of-sight is fine in some situations, having no map of the area to look at for reference points was either an incredible oversight or one of the worst decisions in game design I've seen in a while. While I appreciate certain elements of challenge in video games, having the designers take away all informational resources while I'm in a warzone is not one of them. With no way to tell where you are on the battlefield, the next best thing would be to have some way of locating your enemies. Unfortunately, your only locating device is a yellow version of K.I.T.T.'s eye from Knight Rider, which is so woefully inadequate and nonfunctional that I was making wombat noises in frustration. Even the most basic PlayStation game had features which solved these unnecessary problems.

I could go on and on and on about things in the game that didn't work, but to make a long story short there was nothing at all here that I liked or which merits hard-earned dollars from hard-working consumers. In the hour and a half it took me to complete the game's paltry five stages, I was assaulted by one unsatisfactory thing after another, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The game doesn't even have any next-generation features which couldn't have been done on the PlayStation. It's a short, boring and unimaginative game which offers absolutely nothing to the genres of giant robots or mecha warfare that hasn't already been done better by a dozen other games, including its own predecessor on the Sega Saturn. Any gamer would be much better off just buying a DVD and some popcorn than wasting any time with this sad disc, and that's the problem with the current lineup of PlayStation 2 software in general. With all the hype, Sony sure hasn't delivered on their promises quite yet.Rating: 2.5 out of 10