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Crystal Defenders PS3 Playtest

Are the high end versions as terrible as the WiiWare one? Find out here.


Here are some impressions of the PSN version of Crystal Defenders, based off a short play test of the demo version. My play time was short because I couldn't bear to keep playing.

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As previously announced, the PSN (and Xbox Live Arcade) version of Crystal Defenders includes the W1, W2 and W3 cell phone entries in the series, offering up over 300 stages. The three versions feature different jobs and gameplay elements, as well as different difficulty, progressing from W1's beginner's play to the more advanced play of W3.

Based off the demo, the PSN version offers the following modes selectable at the main title screen: Game Start, Play Demo, Ranking, and How to Play & Options. The Play Demo option is inaccessible in the demo. The Ranking option delivered the message "out of ranking area" for me, so I presume it's also something that requires the full priced buy.

The options mode lets you select the following:

How to Play
A nine page text introduction detailing how to play the game.
You don't actually get to change the controls here -- just view the control layout.
Here, you can select five levels of sound volume (in case your receiver's volume control doesn't work?) and toggle rumble on and off.
Game Information
All the copyright info.
Contact Information
Square Enix's phone number, operating hours, and website address.
English credits, showing an absolutely massive list of people from Square Enix's branches throughout the world.

Select Game Start, and the game lets you chose individually from W1, W2, and W3. Of these, only W1 is selectable in the demo. Select one of the three options, and you're taken to a separate title screen, offering up options for starting the game, checking your score, and viewing replays.

I was surprised to find, when starting up the W1 game, that the overworld map from the Wii version is gone. At least in the demo, instead of selecting a stage by moving between locations on a map, you simply select from a text-based menu.

These older screens are from the 360 version. Sure, it looks nice in stills, but the animation is lacking. And, of course, the control totally ruins the experience.

From what I can tell through a few sessions with the demo, the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Crystal Defenders really are ports of the cell phone versions, with a few visual updates. Even the play field dimensions remain the same as that of a cell phone screen. The extra space on the left side of the screen is used to display upcoming enemy waves. The extra space on the right is used to display the jobs that you have available to you. I'm not sure if this is useful.

The demo gives access to just soldier, black mage, and archer jobs, and allows for play against 20 waves of enemies. This was more than enough for me, as I couldn't stand playing beyond the first few waves.

The big problem I had with the WiiWare version was in the poor control of the cursor. Sadly, the PSN version also appears to fail with the cursor control. The cursor starts of moving too slowly, and when it does get up to speed, it's difficult to stop moving on the exact grid square of your choice. Switching from d-pad to analogue controls don't help, as the analogue controls appear to just translate into d-pad presses.

The PSN version also suffers from some visual issues. While I like the look of the game, with high res sprites and visual elements, the animation is choppy, making the game a bit tough on the eyes.

With all these interface issues, I think I'm going to skip out on the paid version. Square Enix should really consider rebuilding the game with the strengths of the target platforms in mind.

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