Robotech Invasion PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

Before playing Robotech Invasion, we had never heard of this so-called “space opera.” We went into the game as blind as a bat; and only later researched the nature of the show to make us feel a little less dumb on our gaming subject. We are now a little more clued up on the Robotech universe, and know that the series was mega popular in the states. We obviously do not rate such titles on how educated we are on the source material though.

We have heard talk of a preceding Robotech game, which was presented with fully cel-shaded graphics. Undeniably this suitable look would have warmed the fans; as such a style most certainly would have captured the vibrant look of the show. Sadly Robotech Invasion goes for something entirely different, settling instead for a basic visual set-up, which doesn’t win it any points from us. To be fair the visuals are functional enough, but we just couldn’t help thinking “PlayStation” and wanting cel-shading at the same time.

Robotech Invasion can be played from both first and third person perspectives, making it possible to switch between the two by a simple tap of a button. We prefer getting much more up, close and personal with the first person view, although both views work just fine. It’s nice to be given the option opposed to being restricted to a single view, whoever said that gaming freedom was only associated with massive “go anywhere at anytime” 3D worlds was clearly wrong.

An interesting aspect of the game is the fact that you can use your battle armour to transform into a motorbike (or cyclone in Robotech terminology), which may sound exciting, but sadly isn’t as thrilling as it should and could have been. The vehicle is painfully slow and only is speeded up when you get hold of the boost later on, which – to put the boot in even further – can only be used for a short burst at a time. We have a hunch that the development team must all ride to work on pushbikes.

The game itself is a no frills shooter, which definitely seems to be heavily inspired by Halo on the Xbox. You come equipped with a Master Chief like shield, which recharges when you manage a breather from all those lasers. This shield also deactivates, while in cyclone mode, which is counterbalanced by the fact that you can go a wee bit faster, despite this its still another aspect that doesn’t really inspire you to transform.

We can finally brush the disappointing motorcycle aside and tell you that the rest of the game is pretty exciting stuff. Much like Halo, environments are often lit up with pretty laser lights and buddies also accompany you in the fight. These comrades can often die, and for this very reason they must be protected. If you are a man short the game is unwilling to allow you to move on, instead it sends you back to the last checkpoint, which – for the record – aren’t spaced out too badly at all. Levels are large and linear, and a waypoint indicator assures that getting lost could only happen to a man with a white stick.

The game is action packed from the start to the finish, although somehow it did manage to result in stints of us being bored. Perhaps the solid competition has just spoiled our judgement, as there were times we wished we were playing other shooter titles (this one is nicely priced though!), fans will most likely lap it all up though. It’s simply a little unpolished next to its higher priced rivals, which we can mostly forgive.

The game can be played online for up to 8 players, although the servers aren’t exactly heaving with people that want to shoot you, resulting in little luck of finding any active games. When games are finally found or someone does eventually join your server, it’s clear to see that its pretty generic stuff, there are no real surprises other then the fact that you can transform into the rubbish motorcycle. It’s all serviceable enough though and we applaud the fact that a budget title has the option; it’s just a shame that the servers are really quite dead.

For £20 you could do much worse for a first person shooter. The motorcycle does happen to be pretty slow for our liking, but the rest of the game is quite a blast to play and even reminded us a little of Halo, which can only be a good thing. It’s top quality shooting for a cheap price; it just lacks that special spirit of the shooting pedigree.

6/10

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