Cel Damage HD Review
Cel Damage HD was developed and published by Finish Line games. It released on Xbox One on 11th March 2016 at a price of £7.19/$8.59. It is also available for Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and PSVita. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels.
Cel Damage HD is an updated re-release of the original Cel Damage that appeared on Xbox and GameCube back in 2001. The story focuses on ten cartoon characters who are taking part in a fictional TV show where the aim of the game is to destroy each other with a variety of weapons that are dotted around the map. Nostalgia is a strange creature as I had very fond memories playing Cel Damage on my GameCube but unfortunately for me time has not been overly kind to this game.
What I enjoyed:
Cel-shaded beauty – Cel shading was a craze that swept the gaming world back in 2000 with the release of Jet Set Radio. It mixed some unique game mechanics with cutting edge visuals that had never been seen before. There was an explosion in the use of cel-shading, with games like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and XIII making full use of it to great effect. Trends come and go in gaming and cel-shading was eventually used less and less until recently when it had a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Borderlands series. Cel Damage HD definitely doesn’t look like a game that was first released 15 years ago; in fact it looks right at home on the Xbox One. The colours are vivid and crisp and the gameplay is smooth throughout. Even on four player split-screen everything runs along smoothly with no noticeable frame rate drops or screen tearing. Each game world has a very distinct look that just about manages to not feel too generic, although the themes are still a little clichéd at times. There are a few wonderful moments where the game really takes advantage of its cartoon style. Driving off of the map on certain tracks will result in your car hovering in the air for a few moments before plummeting to the ground Wile E. Coyote style. There are also targets you can hit which will result in a 100 ton weight crashing down and flattening any cars that are unfortunate enough to be driving under them at the time.
What I disliked:
Like Mario Kart, only worse –Playing single player is a pretty soulless affair that soon becomes rather boring. You have just the three modes to choose from and all of them feel fairly stale. Smack attack is a free for all where you have to destroy as many of your opponents as possible to try and reach a score of 300 (or more, if you have changed this), Initially it feel pretty fun as you drive round causing mayhem and destroying anyone who gets in your path. The major problem with this mode is the poorly balanced weapons which are either ridiculously overpowered or incredibly feeble. Flag relay was a slightly more challenging more where you must collect flags and take them to an area of the map to earn points. The more flags you deliver at once the more points you get. My least favourite mode of the three was definitely gate relay. It is the closest you get to an actual race and involves the player going from checkpoint to checkpoint for a minimum of eight laps. The main issue with this mode is that when playing solo the A.I is so stupid it makes winning the races an absolute breeze. I’d often be lapping opponents by the end of the 2nd lap and find enemies going around the circuit completely the wrong way. They’d also get stuck on the slightest bump and it made the whole thing a rather frustrating experience.
Get those friends over – If ever there was a game that was crying out for Xbox Live multiplayer, Cel Damage HD is it. Unfortunately we once again have a game release where the only way to take part in multiplayer is to get a group of friends over and play via split screen. I understand that the implementation of online multiplayer can be prohibitive due to the cost but when a game is as reliant on its multiplayer as Cel Damage HD is it makes no sense to not have it included. I got through the entire game solo in around three hours and there wasn’t anything that made me want to come back to play this again. The inclusion of leaderboards or competitive score based modes may have brought me back for more but as it stands there is nothing here to draw me in.
I’m a little surprised that Cel Damage HD is releasing to the Xbox One as it was never a game that was critically acclaimed or had a massive fan base behind it. There is a lot of fun to be had with this game if you can get a few friends over to play it but less so if you intend on playing this alone. I would suggest you either take advantage of the temporarily discounted launch price or wait for a sale as there is not enough here to keep a solo player entertained for more than a few hours.
Score: Wait for a sale
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