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Power Stone Collection PSP

Published by Capcom
Developed by Capcom
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Power Stone Collection, an introduction.

I have always thought that if a fighting game were to appear on a handheld console and be successful, it would more than likely be a 2D game thus avoiding having to contend with the camera angle issues that so often plague 3D fighting games. That’s not to say that a 3D fighting game can’t be good on a handheld just that I would expect it to be more problematic than a 2D fighting game. Thankfully Capcom have proved with the game we are about to look at, Power Stone Collection, that a 3D game can work well on a handheld.

What’s in the Power Stone Collection?

The Power Stone Collection contains Power Stone and its sequel, Power Stone 2. Power Stone offers a Single mode (which is supposedly a story mode), a Versus mode, a Training mode and a Network mode using the ad-hoc method of connection. Power Stone 2 has a 1-on-1 and a 1-on-3 mode, a Versus mode, an Adventure mode, a Network mode (for 4 players using an ad-hoc connection) and a Training mode. In addition to the two Power Stone games there’s a Collection option on the main menu that has movies and mini-games etc.

What’s good about the game?

Both Power Stone and Power Stone 2 play in a very similar manner. You’ll fight against your opponent in a variety of areas that contain health items, gems (known as power stones) that can be collected, items that can be thrown and weapons that can be used.  There are also various hazards that have to be avoided (of course you can always knock your enemies into them). Collecting three power stones enables a fighter to temporarily transform into a more powerful being that inflicts far more damage. The fights are fought on a best-of-three basis and on the whole are fairly enjoyable. Power Stone Collection allows four players in Power Stone 2 and 2 players in the original Power Stone to enjoy a game together using an ad-hoc mode.

What’s bad about the game?

The load times are rather testing and will get on your nerves after a while. Let’s face it here though, quite a lot of PSP games have long loading times and you have to wonder if the UMD was really a wise choice of media to have in a handheld device. There is no support for infrastructure mode meaning you can’t simply head online to play against human opposition. Of course you can play, as we mentioned above, in ad-hoc mode. The problem being that everyone will need a copy of the game. The game sharing feature allows you to send a demo of Power Stone 2 to your friends but this doesn’t allow them to join you in a multiplayer game. Sadly this means that few will get to experience the game at its best.

How does it look?

Both Power Stone games look good although they aren’t exactly pushing the capabilities of the PSP. Both games can either be played at their natural aspect ratio, which leaves small borders at the edges of the screen, or can be made to fill the screen (the default setting). What is impressive is the frame rate which simply flies along with no slowdown being evident. Of course I was concerned with there being camera issues with this being a 3D fighting game but in all honesty there are no real problems here. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to keep track of your character when the battle is flying along and you may need to change the camera angle. Pressing the select button will allow you to switch through three camera angles and these all work pretty well.  

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Neither game is subtitled although to be fair it doesn’t really matter that much due to the nature of the game. The intro to Power Stone 2 isn’t subtitled. The intro to the original Power Stone is shown in text albeit a quick moving scrolling text that can be awkward to read. The character comments during battles are not subtitled, which is disappointing but hardly of any great importance. Announcer comments made on the character selection screens and during the battles are also not subtitled. This would be catastrophic if the game was anything other than a fighting game but thankfully the game is still fine even with all these omissions.

Final thoughts.

If you enjoy 3D fighting games and fancy the idea of playing on a handheld then you’ll be pleased with what Power Stone Collection has to offer. As both titles have appeared in the arcades and on the SEGA Dreamcast many who are interested in this PSP collection will be wondering how it compares but I’ve got to be honest here and say that I’ve never played either the Dreamcast or arcade versions so this is something I can’t comment on. However, as PSP games both Power Stone and Power Stone 2 are quite enjoyable. The highlight of the game has to be its multiplayer options but sadly everyone will need to own a copy of the game in order to play.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Power Stone Collection is a surprisingly good experience on the PSP and Capcom have certainly tailored it nicely to suit the handheld. However the game is best experienced in multiplayer mode and it's a fair bet most will only get to play the game in single-player mode because of the lack of an option to play online.