Gun Showdown


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


While late to the party, Activision's Gun Showdown survives mostly intact on Sony's portable. A stack of new modes and features evens out a few brief cuts to the main story. Showdown's problems have more to do with the hardware than any design issues.

gunshowdown.jpg (29939 bytes)Hardware limitations are not graphical. In fact, Gun is one of the best looking titles on the console yet. There is some abrupt loading at random times when moving through the open ended world to pull the textures from the disc, but remains smooth during heavy combat. With the sharper screen, this might actually be an improvement if you played through the console original on a low end TV.

Story sequences are told through heavily compressed video with some occasionally off-putting artifacting issues, which is only a small complaint when compared to the controls. This is where Gun Showdown becomes a constant aggravation. Aiming is handled like almost all other first or third person shooters on the system. The four face buttons act as a second analog stick, and with some adjustments, it's not difficult to find a comfortable setting.

The issue is with the d-pad. Numerous critical actions are mapped to it, including quick draw aiming, health restore, picking up objects, mounting a horse, switching weapons and talking. Since down handles three of those tasks, you can only imagine the horror of leaving a key item that needs picked up like a keg of dynamite next a horse with a NPC in the middle of it all. That could actually require a reloading of a previous checkpoint. The d-pad is also inaccurate, making it difficult to register the proper command on occasion.

Those moments will obviously be rare. It doesn't take away from Gun's superbly written story, satisfying weapons, unforgettable soundtrack and memorable characters. The PSP does edit some moments such as a cannon attack early on, though if this is your first experience with the game, you're not missing much. Side missions are complete, creating some excellent replay value.

For an open-ended game, there could have been some additional tweaks as well. Some noticeable complaints are still found within the game, such as the player's horse randomly disappearing after a mission. This requires the player to walk to the next objective, sometimes on the other side of the game world. Matters are made worse by a lack of random horses grazing the plains on the PSP.

Third-person gunplay comes alive with 16-player Ad Hoc deathmatch, capture the flag and poker. Given the complete lack of multi-player on the home consoles, this is a welcome improvement. An additional six mini-games allow for quick access to the titles fantastic action. Poker is also available in single player.

For a PSP port, Gun Showdown is one of the best available. Its quirks are there and frustrating at times, but this is no different than the PS2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 editions. Showdown is no less memorable on the PSP, and is a solid addition to the consoles growing library.


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Last updated: Sunday, November 12, 2006 10:40 PM