Usually, when a home console release makes its way onto a portable platform, the game is either rebuilt from the ground up or extremely scaled down to better fit the handheld. Keen Games should be commended for attempting to deliver the full console experience of G-Force on the PSP - which it almost does, just minus any semblance of fun.
One of the reasons we’ve let G-Force on consoles squeak by relatively unscathed is because we appreciated how well the controls worked even within the game’s paper-thin premise. You’ve got guns, you’ve got things to shoot, and a satisfying way to go about shooting them. G-Force on the PSP could have axed any number of appealing features in its transition to the handheld system, but instead of cutting missions or building a new engine altogether, it decided to ax Darwin’s ability to use guns. It kept in lines of dialogue related to guns (“Your new toy won’t help you here!” or even “Here, I brought this for you”), but it cut the guns themselves. WTF?
Without guns, you’ll be relying on your wussy electric beam sword for the entirety of G-Force’s seven-plus-hour story, which means you’ll be pressing the Square button a lot. There’s little to no strategy involved in killing most enemies in the game, and their behaviors have been dumbed down so that they can all be defeated with rapid hammering of Square. It’s awful. And just because it’s mindless doesn’t mean it’s easy, either: whether or not you die during each skirmish is more dependent on whether or not one of your fallen foes randomly drops health pick-ups than on any gaming skill. You’ll die often and you’ll lose interest fast – the story, with its horrifically obvious plot twists, certainly provides little motivation to soldier on.
The PSP version of G-Force contains a bunch of other bad design choices, too. For one, your jetpack doesn’t immediately recharge its battery upon landing as it does in the console version – you’ll sit and wait for the bar to fill up, or worse, miss a jump because you hadn’t waited long enough to recharge. Also, in the console versions of G-Force, you could deploy secondary character Mooch the Fly at any time to explore unreachable areas and solve puzzles. In the PSP version of G-Force, you can only deploy Mooch when you see a message pop up letting you know you can (and therefore have to) use him. Having the game basically tell you “Hey, use Mooch to solve this puzzle” takes out any pleasure in figuring it out for yourself. Also missing are the driving sections and a number of fun moments that the console version uses to break up the monotony; prepare to run through a lot of air vents and not a whole lot else.
Lastly, instead of hacking computers automatically (or with a projectile, like in the console versions), you’ll play a little minigame wherein you press the corresponding face buttons as they float down the screen, a la DDR. These hacking minigames are far and away the worst part of G-Force on PSP – you will rarely miss a single button press, they last almost two minutes each, and you’ll sometimes have to do up to four of them, one after another, to progress. All so you can control an enemy robot for thirty seconds, clear out a room of baddies, and open a door. Well, at least the robots can use guns…
G-Force for the PSP takes away any joy that might come from being a super-spy guinea pig and leaves a lousy, repetitive grind. There’s nothing exciting about the unlockables, the ending is one of the worst we’ve seen in recent years, and the hacking minigame makes us want to scream. Pick this up only if you think you’ll die without more G-Force in your life.
Jul 28, 2009