The Simpsons Game PSP
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Here we have the PSP version of The Simpsons Game and unlike the DS version, the other handheld version of The Simpsons Game, the game has remained a 3D action platform game like the Wii, PS3, PS2 and 360 versions. Essentially, it’s the same game as those versions but there are a few differences. There’s no option for a friend to play co-operatively with you, the camera is a little problematic due to the lack of a second analogue stick and, probably most disappointing of all, this version doesn’t allow deaf gamers to enjoy the game’s humour.
After a short tutorial, featuring Homer in the Land of Chocolate, the game will begin with Bart purchasing a copy of Grand Theft Scratchy, a game he isn’t old enough to play. On leaving the videogame store, he bumps into Marge who spots the game and confiscates it. Annoyed, Bart mooches around until he finds a copy of The Simpsons Game manual. He opens the manual and discovers that he and the other members of his family have special powers. There isn’t so much of good story here as a whole load of hilarious nonsense that fits together surprisingly well. All of the game’s sixteen levels have their moments with some being based on older episodes and some being parodies of other games (there are levels called NeverQuest, Medal of Homer and Shadow of the Colossal Donut). The game has a fair amount of collectibles and whilst you’ll probably finish your first play through in less than eight hours there’s lots of replay value here.
The Simpsons game is essentially a 3D action game with quite a few platform game elements thrown in for good measure. In each of the game’s levels you have two characters who you can switch between. You have no option but to play by yourself in the PSP version and the character you’re not using will be AI controlled and, in all fairness, the AI does a good job. The interaction between the two characters is always the key to solving the missions because you have to make use of their individual abilities.
Each character has a unique special ability that requires power, with each Simpson having an item that can be collected to help fill the power meter. Bart has a Power Shot he can perform with his catapult. Homer has a Power Burp. Lisa has a Saxophone Spin that initially causes enemies to be stunned but later causes them to turn on each other. Marge has a Megaphone Blowback which gives powerful blasts from her megaphone. In addition to these special abilities, the Simpsons also have other abilities. Bart can transform into Bartman, Homer into Homer Ball, Gummi Homer and Helium Homer, Lisa can use the Hand of Buddha and Marge can get others to do her bidding with her Mob Marge ability. Whilst the game is fairly enjoyable, mainly because of its humour and subject matter, you’ll soon realise that in terms of the game-play, The Simpsons Game is a bog standard 3D action platform game. It’s also very repetitive and you’ll find yourself doing the same things over and over again.
The graphics in the PSP version are pretty much on a par with the PlayStation 2 version of the game and as such they look quite impressive. The problem however is the camera control which is quite annoying at times. You have to hold down the left shoulder button and then move the analogue stick in order to rotate the camera. Alternatively you can simply press the left shoulder button to snap the camera behind the character you are controlling. The first method of camera control is cumbersome and the second is actually quite a disorientating experience. The game’s frame rate bears up pretty well although it’s noticeably lower at times than in the other versions. Still, the various movies and the game itself all look quite impressive for a handheld title. The load times can be a little on the long side however.
The PSP version of The Simpsons Game isn’t subtitled. Tutorial information is shown in text and objectives are also shown in text. A notepad icon appears on the right side of the screen when new objectives have been issued. Pressing the select button allows you to recall the objectives at any time. Without subtitles deaf gamers are going to miss out on all of the game’s humour. This is a hammer blow in all honesty as humour is a big part of the game’s appeal and without the humour you are simply looking at a decent action platform game that happens to use The Simpsons characters.
Like the other versions of The Simpsons Game, the PSP version is a standard action platform game that gets by on a good use of The Simpsons licence and a healthy dose of Simpsons style humour. With the game not being subtitled the PSP version hasn’t even got the humour to fall back on and deaf gamers will simply have a decent 3D action platform game that happens to feature characters from The Simpsons. If you have access to a PS2, 360, Wii, or PS3 you would be better off with any of those versions as they are subtitled. With the DS version also not being subtitled it means that none of the handheld versions of the game are that great for deaf gamers.