Reviewed: June 23, 2009
Released: June 4, 2009
It is no secret that the PlayStation 3 has been a bit light on online multiplayer first person shooter (FPS) action. While the platform has had its share of quality story-based FPS play – namely the Resistance and Killzone franchises – Sony’s online multiplayer FPS action pales in comparison to the plethora of Xbox Live offerings. As a result, PS3 owners are always excited to hear about new FPS multiplayer releases – and CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars is just the title to fit the bill.
Coming across as a hybrid of Unreal Tournament and the highly underrated last-gen title Psi-Ops – CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars might not offer anything new to the genre, but it definitely offers gamers hours of enjoyment.
Primarily an arena-style shooter, the resemblance to Unreal Tournament is obvious. Where CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars breaks out from the traditional run-and-gun design is with the introduction of psychokinetic weapons (i.e. Psi-Ops) available to two of the three character classes.
First, we need to explain the character classes, as CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars can be a tad confusing at first without knowing this information.
The game introduces each of the characters different qualities via a series of bot challenges. Not only are these bot challenges great for gathering character upgrades (and PSN trophies), they teach gamers to recognize the varying character classes and to manage the special abilities in preparation for the fairly chaotic 12-player online action.
At the time of writing, CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars’s online community was still a tad light – but to their defense, most of our homework was done in the first days of release when many gamers were busy downloading and watching E3 news. Still, most of the games we played had at least four players, so the action was still fast and frenzied. Thankfully, local play can be augmented with a host of AI-controlled bots that actually seem to play fairly and proficiently – often making it difficult to distinguish between human and AI opponents.
The online game modes are your basic cookie-cutter versions of the multiplayer requisites; deathmatch, capture the flag, skirmish all make their appearance. One standout is the assault mode, in which attacking players deliver a virtual “hacker” to the defending team’s base and have to hold the fort for a set time. These events end up being real white-knucklers as the timer continues to tick away.
Visually, the game will not win any awards, but is definitely better than most download-only titles. The character models do tend to be a bit stiff and floaty, but the backgrounds are impressively detailed, and neat special effects like the psychokinetic power screen-warping and excellent sniper view really add a silver lining.
On the audio front, there are the requisite weapons and psi-power sound effects, as well as a great announcer delivering quips like “killing streak” and “arena master” with each successive kill.
I am sure that there are more than a few gamers who will balk at CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars’s $10 price tag, simply because it has already been passed around the PC world as a freebie tech demo for some time. And given some of the truly groundbreaking and innovative $10 PSN titles (Flower, Everyday Shooter), there may be some validity in berating a run of the mill first person shooter like CellFactor.
But for even the most reserved Unreal Tournament players, the PSN version of CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars is well worth the price of admission. It’s a blast through-and-through, and one of the best multiplayer experiences on PSN.