SONY PSP REVIEW: THE CON
The Con
In-depth betting system
Large list of characters
Several Fighting Systems to choose from
Graphics could use some work
Upgrade required

Hit me with your best shot. Fire away! by J.D.Keifer

December 14, 2005 - Remember back in the day of schoolyard fights. When you go out to extract revenge on the kid who stole your truck. When you're encircled by tons of kids screaming, "FIGHT!" over and over again until a teacher breaks you up. Well, not a lot of things have changed since those schoolyard days. Except for now you aren't fighting for that truck, but for wads of cash.
The Con shows this childish manner of fighting in the best way possible. In a game so in depth, you can get lost in its entire fist throwing glory.


You start out as a rookie fighter under the control of a large underground illegal fighting ring, led by a big guy who never takes his sunglasses off. The big guy, Kuro, sets up a tournament to pit the best fighters against each other. Reina, a quite large lady who in every scene has a glass of alcohol, introduces you to the fight ring. Soon, she is shot dead by your new boss and you quickly go to work for him, earning loads of cash and kicking some ass.

Of course, this game has its story mode. And unlike most fighting games out there, the story mode is huge. Not that the actual plot is deep and no more then the occasional prissy cocky fighter that thinks he can take you, but the game takes quite some time to play out. You start out as a low rank unrespected "D" rank, and gradually work your way up through the ranks until you get to the big and bad "S" rank. Each rank has only a certain amount of respect you can gain, but the amount of money you earn doesn't have a set amount. The fighting is the usual punch and kick attacks with some strategy used to get your combos into play, but the real strategy comes when making you money. To earn you money you have to place bets down, and you have three choices. 1: Place the bet on yourself and kick the crap out of the opponent. 2: Place the bet on yourself and add a time for when the bet will come into play. From there you start out losing, throwing and landing the occasional punch to make it look like your actually trying, this boost the bets on the other person. After the bet comes into play, release your fury, beat the opponent, and walk away with more cash then what you started with. 3: The final one has you place the bet on the opponent to win, with a time for the bet to come into play. You start out winning, but don't KO the opponent, and then when the bet comes into play you start losing and take a dive. Or lose the match.

In Story Mode you get to choose whom your going to fight as, you have a choice of 20 different people to choose from, or you can customize and create your own character to fight with. You can customize your character from what he wears on the battlefield to what fighting style he uses. After that, you get to choose who your teammates are, unfortunately you don't get to customize and create your own character. After, you have created your team, you get to line up your fights. You choose from 6 different opposing teams who all have different schedules. Each team has a certain number of weeks out, in which they wont be fighting. In those weeks out, your team has a chance to rest, heal wounds, and train their stats.


Along with Story Mode, The Con also has a Quick Play mode were you can go in and fight just like a good old-fashioned brawl. With modes from Arcade to Survival, you can go through and just pummel your way to the top. However, you can't use your custom character in the Quick Play battles. But you can unlock characters to use to fight with. Finally, The Con has multiplayer battles where you can just have a good old-fashioned beat down with your friend.

The controls in the game are simple and easy to use. Your punches and kicks flow fluidly and combos are easy to throw out. However, the game doesn't allow you to move around the 3-D fighting ring. Instead, the D-pad or analog is used to dodge attacks, such as leaning back, ducking, or sidestepping. Without it allowing you to walk around, throws out all possibilities for grapple attacks or throws from behind.

The graphics are nice and flow smoothly with this type of game. Its no Team Ninja production so don't expect too much from it. However it does add small, almost unnoticeable red noses, and bruised cheeks during the fight. The cut scenes are pretty and flow nicely.


The voice acting in The Con could use some work. As in, they could have found someone to do the voices other then the 5 year olds that they had. It seemed like everyone in that game, with exception to a couple of people, couldn't speak proper English. At least the words being said match up to the lips of the people talking. Hits that land on the opponent are barely heard but sound on queue. The music is one two songs that cycle and change every once in a while, after a few minutes of these songs I eventually turned off the music off.

Mixing fast paced action, and fist fighting has always been something that a fighting game required. The Con, integrates all these into a great game with only a few faults. The Con will be sure to give you hours upon hours of play time while also allowing for something that you can pick up and play when your bored.

Features:

The Fight

  • Different styles of fighting – Street boxing, Kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do, Jeet Kune Do and Wrestling.
  • QotOver-the-shoulder" camera angle puts players directly behind the action.
  • Players can create and customize their own fighter with build, facial and clothing options. quotImage import" players can insert their face onto their in-game character via the Memory Stick.
  • Players can gain experience and decide how fast their character's fighting abilities enhance.
  • Intuitive controls allow for easy entry for gamers of all ages. Reprogrammable combo strings for advanced fighting combinations.
  • Story, arcade and Wireless modes satisfy the hunger a variety of gameplay cravings.
  • Manage a stable of fighters to help you reach the "Big Time" Game sharing ability allows non-owners to participate in a head-to-head wireless match (without a UMD disc).

The Con

  • Gambling/betting elements turns each fight into more than just a fight, but a gamble itself.
  • Pull off a con by timing the placing of your bets, taking dives or exaggerated punches (mid-fight) to tilt the odds and turn the tables of the fight for a major payoff.
  • Raise the stakes when playing wirelessly, by placing your unlocked items on the line in head-to-head fights.
  • Use your hard-earned cash to pay off your debt, buy hundreds of items, recover faster after injury, or train for new combo techniques.

The Crew

  • Develop and grow your team to reach the ultimate level of supreme fighting experience.
  • Special 3-on-3 match format puts pressure that you have three solid fighters, not just one.
  • Work towards paying your debt, establishing a crew and earning enough money to "buy in" to the ultimate underground fighting tournament.

By J.D. Keifer
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
The Con (PSP)
3.4
Graphics
The graphics could definitely use some work. Just don't expect too much. Not bad, but you've seen better.
4.6
Control
Simple controls. Easy to learn and use.
2.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music goes off. Voice actors need acting lessons.
3.6
Play Value
Some will find a lot of value for their money here.
3.9
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PSP
Dev: SCEA
Pub: SCEA
Release: Dec 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by J.D. Keifer

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best