|Project Sylpheed (2007)
Available for: Xbox 360
Perhaps you’re one of those gamers who fondly remembers the first time you played the game “Starfox” on your SNES. If you were like me, then you marveled at the entire production: the great soundtrack, the stunning graphics and the all-out epic space battles. It remains one of the truly great sci-fi shooter games of all-time. So you would think in this day and age of even better graphics, bells, whistles, and other stuff that gets packed into our take-home video games that I’d be just as wowed by a game like “Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception.” But you’d be wrong.
Whereas “Starfox” was a great leap forward in terms of programming, production and presentation, not to mention being an all-around great game at its core, “Project Sylpheed” suffers from not being very exciting or engaging at all. Sure, the graphics are shiny, and it’s relatively easy to jump into your ship and start blasting away (especially if you work through the various tutorials), making it one of those games basically anyone can learn in about 10 minutes. But the overall story isn’t very interesting, and the action, while constant, quickly gets repetitive. The missions are often multi-tiered and strung out far beyond any length of time that would keep them worth playing.
Rather than try to explain the whole convoluted story behind this game, let’s just glean the tale from the back of the box itself. “For five centuries, Earth-led Terran forces have colonized the galaxy. The rebel ADAN “Freedom Alliance” has declared war to end the so-called ‘Terran tyranny.’ Two best friends -- up-and-coming Terran ace pilots Katana and Margras -- are separated by the unstable political situation on Margras’ home planet, Acheron. Soon after Margras is forced into exile, Acheron is destroyed in a suspicious terra-forming accident that kills most of the population and renders the planet uninhabitable. Driven by revenge, Margras joins the ADAN fleet and leads merciless raids against his former Terran comrades. As Katana, it’s up to you to stop your closest friend and end the cosmos-spanning war.”
Sounds like it could be somewhat exciting, but the stale gameplay says otherwise. So many missions involve flying around with your squad locking on enemies and shooting them multiple times until they finally explode. There are larger objects, such as ships and huge guided missiles that have to be taken down bit by bit, but these portions feel like the same, drawn-out dogfights. You get into a mission and suddenly you completely forget the main objective, because the action is so numbingly repetitive. It’s as if you become hypnotized through boredom and get lost in the never-ending explosions.
This makes it hard to give a damn for what may have been a decent story. Actually, the whole game could have been a lot better if all the action didn’t take place in the cockpit. After a while, you’re screaming for a break from the monotony of it all, and the cut scenes actually feel like a relief. But chances are you won’t even be interested enough to make it halfway through this title, which is just as well. “Project Sylpheed” has taken the space epic and diluted it to such repetitive machinations, that it feels like a game of good old “Space Invaders” would be a lot more fun. At least there, you have three lives and know it’s all going to end in a matter of time. Of course, you can always just turn the power off on your console when it comes to this game. Better yet, not playing it all is an even better option.