SONY PSP REVIEW: RENGOKU: THE TOWER OF PURGATORY
It's been a while since I've played a good, mech battling game. After playing Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory, it's still been a while since I've played a good, mech battling game.

Rengoku is an action game that contains a few light RPG elements but for the most part the gameplay is based on hack-and-slash with some dungeon crawling. A.D.A.M. is the playable mech, or android in this case. As he destroys other bots he gains more power which is essentially the same as leveling up with experience points. You can also harvest weapons and other items from the wreckage and use them to customize A.D.A.M. You will also be able to find some interesting items located in various crates.

There are not many parts availabe to which makes this customizing feature rather shallow. The few parts that you collect are useable but there's no strategy involved in which ones to use and where to attach them. Regardless of where you find them you have to proceed, or backtrack I should say, to a terminal to have it installed. Each weapon has an energy rating and it will drain as you use it requiring you to make more trips to the terminal to recharge it.

Backtracking is something you'll have to get used to in this game. At times you will face bots that are superior to you in every way. Your only real choice is to go back and kill some more bots until you gain the appropriate power level to take the tougher ones on.

Another aspect of the game that you'll have to get used to is redundancy. The control system also lacks depth and regardless of what weapon you're equipped with all of the battles result in button mashing. While traipsing through similar looking levels you will locate enemy bots inside familiar looking rooms. Locking onto your target, you blast away until someone dies. The only skill required is the ability to muster up enough patience to continue doing this until the end of the game which thankfully comes rather quickly.

All of the levels, rooms and the majority of enemies look the same. There's not a lot of variation and this can cause you to get lost in some of the environments which are devoid of landmarks that you could use to mark your position. At least there's a map of the levels to help guide you but it's not a good design consideration to make player so reliant on it.

The bots have a uniquely futuristic look to them. They don't suffer from Transformer-ism. The animation, on the other hand, isn't so good. How bad would you consider the animation if it can't even make a robot look natural while it's walking? That's real stiff. And while we're on the topic of bad animation, I should mention my hatred for the anime-inspired storyline which includes robots philosophizing about the mysteries of life and the sanctity of the soul. It's so pretentious that I was actually swearing at the screen. I wish I could use some of those words here but I think you know which ones they are. Never mind the spiritual crap, just focus on developing a good robot, action game with lots of violence.

By far the best feature in this game is the four-player Deathmatch mode. Here's a chance to use some strategy and skill. The framerate holds steady and you won't be bothered by the Hanna-Barbara-style backgrounds. Unfortunately there are a lot better Deathmatch modes out there and this is no reason to purchase this game. There's a weapon and item-trading mode that lets you trade your goodies with other players. It's too bad there isn't a mode that would let you trade games because I would trade Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory for just about anything else.

PReview by Vaughn

As Maxwell Smart would say, if his career was still alive..."The old hack n slash in the PSP trick".....ah yes. Konami is hoping that you'll be jonesing for a good old dungeon...er....tower crawler when the Sony PSP hits the shelves in March.

The concept of the game is simple. As A.D.A.M., the kick ass battle android, you'll have to make your way up the Tower of Purgatory - all the while improving your once rudimentary skills and upgrading your armaments. Are you "android" enough to accomplish this suicide mission? Buy a PSP and this game and prove that you are!

The beauty of Rengoku lies in its randomly generated level design to keep the game fresh as well as a wireless multiplayer mode. From a visual standpoint Rengoku is looking might fine and at least looks right in line with anything you'd currently find on the aging PS2. In fact due to the tighter resolution and smaller screen, we dare say it will actually look better.

Action RPG's are a mild sensation with certain pockets of gamers out there. We can't be sure if Rengoku will be a killer app that should have you lining up on day for a chance to play it and certainly Konami has been a little more hit than miss lately as far as we're concerned. Still, it's something to keep your eyes and ears on.

Features:

  • Intense fighting action with randomized level layouts!
  • Strategic weapon upgrades – upgrade body part armaments
  • Breathtaking graphics from famed Japanese illustrator Jun Suemi
  • 1-4 player wireless multiplayer gameplay

 

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System: PSP
Dev: Konami
Pub: Konami
Released: Mar 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
2.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
2.5