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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Quick Review: Teen Titans (PS2)

Rented Teen Titans via GameFly shortly before we moved and just got around to trying it out. It didn't get terribly good reviews, and there's some very good reasons as to why ... but more interesting is how close Teen Titans really is to being a very fun game.

The knocks are severe: too many cinematics which add nothing to the story but constantly break up the gameplay, camera angles which make following the action a lesson in squinting and a combo system which often means well but sometimes simply gets in the way.

And yet, in some ways the game offers serious improvements over similar and far more popular games like X-Men Legends. There is no inventory to worry about. You don't spend experience to learn new powers - you simply build up new combos as the game continues onward. There are temporary powerups throughout the game as opposed to sharing power tokens. This leads to a much more streamlined gameplay that doesn't toss in a bunch of mechanics which feel out of place (because really ... does Magneto need Adamantium Power Gloves Of Regeneration?).

Somewhere in between Teen Titans and X-Men Legends would be a great game. More of a descendant of Double Dragon or Golden Axe that Diablo or Nethack ... much like the old Avengers coin-op of old (which is still one of my favorite Sega retros).

Sadly I can't recommend Teen Titans just for fun, but there's some interesting points to it. It also sports some fairly decent design concepts (like how the character portraits are done in manga style) and could be a fun brawler. Right now it's mostly a testament as to how difficult the genre really can be.

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