Trying desperately to shake the reputation that they were merely cashing in on sequels to established franchises, rather than creative genius and ingenuity, Namco has done everything from merging with another company, Bandai, to working with as many different and diverse developers as possible, like Xpec, [who was responsible for making perhaps the worst X-box game of all time, Black Stone: Magic & Steel] in a desperate attempt to broaden their scope in the video game world.
Unfortunately, Namco’s newest collaborative creation with Xpec, Bounty Hounds, a third-person, sci-fi shooter for the PSP, doesn’t live up to the high standards of the other games they have released on the Sony Portable [Ridge Racers, Tekken: Dark Resurrection], but thanks to an engaging story and solid graphics, the game does end up with more positive qualities than bad.
To go along with a solid storyline that has players hunting aliens on distant planets for the good of mankind, Bounty Hounds has a very unique sense of style, making it one of the better looking PSP shooters currently available. Everything in the game, enemies, weapons, environments and our hero, Maximilian all look great, while the animations of all the characters are smooth and well polished.
Unfortunately, there are times when the camera in the game acts up, making it almost impossible to tell where the awesome looking enemies are coming from. Pressing the left and right triggers on your PSP in Bounty Hounds will rotate the camera for you making things a little easier for you, but more often than not, the enemies in the game are too fast to catch this way, making most gamers dizzy in an attempt to defeat routine enemies.
Another problem in Bounty Hounds is that despite having the opportunity to customize Maximilian with various different weapons, the gameplay mechanics are way too easy. Aside from a simple three-hit combo, there aren’t many other ways to attack enemies, making a game with good graphics and a solid story seem dull and repetitive.
On the whole, if you can get past the haphazard camera and simple gameplay, you might eventually come to like Bounty Hounds. However, if great graphics and a good story alone aren’t enough to quench your gaming thirst, look elsewhere.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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