Cracking Code Lyoko?
Although Code Lyoko is far from a powerhouse in gaming, the series has inspired a few titles in recent history. Last year, Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity was released for the Nintendo Wii to mixed reviews. This year, the title is getting an update (of sorts) and has been ported over to both the PlayStation 2 and PSP. If you’ve already played the Wii version, the PlayStation 2 and PSP versions are essentially the same.
The story takes place during the fourth and final season of Code Lyoko after William was taken away and X.A.N.A. caused the complete destruction of Lyoko. You begin the game after Lyoko has been rebuilt by Jeremy, and you discover that several alternate Lyoko worlds, referred to as replikas, have been created by the evil entity X.A.N.A. I’m not going to lie, if you are not a Lyoko fan, you won’t understand any portion of the story. But then again, if you’re not a Code Lyoko fan, you probably won’t be picking up this title either.
Levels feature a very basic design, and if you’ve ever played a platforming title, Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity will feel very familiar. Most levels are almost strictly linear and generally consist of fighting baddies, flipping switches, and jumping on platforms. In addition to the generic platforming levels, there are also a few vehicle levels which add a little variety too the mix. However, these feel incredibly basic as well and only consist of traveling through a narrow corridor and shooting at enemies.
You are able to play the game as all four members of the Code Lyoko team, Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi. Many of the game’s levels depend on your ability to switch between characters and correctly use their specific abilities. Odd has a special cat-like climbing ability, Yumi and Aelita have special long-range attacks, and Ulrich has one he uses at close range. As you progress in the game, you will be able to unlock new attacks and power-ups for your characters. Most of these power-ups are unlocked as you go through levels and require no extra effort on your part. But as you close in on the end of the game, you may come up a little short, and completionists will have the opportunity to go back though levels to unlock all their power-ups, if they so desire.
Although being able to play as all the characters and having some level variation definitely adds some value to this title, it just can’t seem to save itself from feeling extremely mediocre. The levels take no chances, the gameplay feels stale right from the very beginning, and aside from the fact that this title features characters from a television show, nothing here feels unique or interesting. Another problem is the nearly identical levels. Although all the different stages supposedly take place in different replicas throughout lyoko, they all look basically the same and you can’t distinguish one level from another.
The graphics continue this mediocre trend and look so-so. One redeeming quality comes in the form of the cutscenes, which look almost identical to the computer animated portions of the show. However, this positive facet is somewhat negated by extremely repetitious animation. Graphics on the PSP version look slightly crisper and better than on the PS2 version. However, the over-sized graphics on the PlayStation 2 just look stretched in comparison, and if you’re looking at visuals alone, the PSP version is definitely the better buy.
One big difference between the console version of the title and the handheld version is the loading times. While the PlayStation 2 version had its share of loading times, they were generally kept within a 4-6 second range. However, the PSP loading times border on the outrageous, and they can sometimes take upwards of 10 seconds. Sure, you get to look at a cute picture while the game loads, but you could also take a nap, which is a huge problem.
Another thing that Code Lyoko fans will appreciate is the sound in this title. All the characters are fully voiced both during cutscenes and gameplay, and there are no instances of unvoiced scrolling dialogue. Music seems like it is taken right from the series and is mostly inoffensive.
Controls in this title on both the PlayStation 2 and PSP are pretty much what you would expect and utilize the control stick for movement, the square button for weapon usage, the X button for jumping, and the shoulder buttons for aiming and cycling characters. Any special moves you might unlock will be triggered via the triangle button. The whole thing is very easy to learn, and aside from the initial lag that occurs between auto-aiming with L1 and firing a weapon, everything else here feels comfortable.
If I could say one thing about Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity, it would be that it’s has to be one of the most formulaic game I’ve ever seen. It is a very short mix of running, jumping, attacking, and nothing else. It gets points for being playable, but it still loses major points for being no fun, despite mechanically working well. The only real reason to play this game would be for the diehard Code Lyoko fan, and even then I would recommend the RPG-like Fall of X.A.N.A. for as a game to curb your Code Lyoko craving. Unless of course, you’re into predictable gameplay, And then this one might be just the thing you need.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
Graphics look fine, and the animations are crisp and clean. The only complaint I have is the extreme repetition of said animations. 3.5 Control
Very basic controls are easy to learn, although the shooting system can take a little getting used to. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Voiceovers are done very well, and the level music is adequate. 2.7 Play Value
There’s nothing beyond the first-player story mode and some tacked on bonus content, but for fans of the series that’s probably all they need. 3.1 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.