Publisher: Square Enix, Inc.
Developer: Game Arts and Seta Corporation
N Amer - 07/10/2007
Developed by Game Arts, Project Sylpheed is an arcade-style space shooter with some pedigree behind it. Released in Japan last year by Square-Enix, the game must’ve turned a few heads, since the game will see release stateside with some help from the big “M” themselves. While it’s set to be released as a budget title (if you’d consider 40 dollars budget), the game does pack quite a bit of punch with some very intense space battles. Although the mission structure is pretty plain, the crazy amounts of action and adaptable controls should appeal to fans of space shooters, who might want to take notice when the title releases next month.
Project Sylpheed’s storyline is a bit convoluted and corny, but that might be right up some gamers’ alleys. The storyline follows the trials and tribulations of a group of young cadets as they band together in the middle of an intergalactic conquest. It’s all very anime and a tad nonsensical, and the dialogue is almost laugh-out-loud goofy.
However, that’s not really what this game is about. Project Sylpheed is an action-arcade game that is focused primarily on hardcore space battles. The game’s missions are very intense, with the screen constantly covered in pink and blue streams of missiles and ships zooming through the air, er, space. You’ll spend a significant amount of time not just shooting down enemy ships, but also dodging the copious amounts of fire they send your way.
Another cool element in Project Sylpheed is that it allows you to customize your ship in between stages. You can purchase more weapons and components by earning points in missions, which vary depending on your performance and whether or not you complete side missions and the like.
The controls are fully customizable, allowing gamers from all levels of experience to mold the game to their personal playing skill, which is a very good thing at least as far as I go, since I found the default control scheme to be very unwieldy. The easiest control set feels a lot like other games from the genre, like Rogue Squadron and Star Fox, which most gamers should be able to pick up very quickly. You can also reassign the button mapping, which was a very nice touch.
Being an arcade style flight sim, Project Sylpheed’s mission structure is pretty simplistic. The missions usually digress into standard “kill off all the bad guys to move on formula. Even though the battles are usually quite intense, this can grow slightly tedious, since a little more variety would’ve provided a lot more incentive.
Another problem with Project Sylpheed is the complete lack of Xbox Live components. With a game like this, it should be a no-brainer, since the space combat element lends itself well to huge scale multiplayer battles and even the arcade-style play would at least warrant some leaderboard rankings. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort is to be found in Project Sylpheed, which is a single-player game through and through.
Graphically, the preview build wasn’t terribly impressive, but it did get the job done in a workhorse sort of way. The ship models weren’t very detailed and lacked the graphical punch of most games on the 360, with complex textures and effects nowhere to be found. The space environments also didn’t showcase a lot of detail, whereas the potential for planets and distant star system effects are certainly there. However, the game does run at a very respectable framerate, and even at the most intense battle moments didn’t turn the whole affair into a slideshow.
Project Sylpheed has some fun moments and the level of intensity is certainly admirable. Unfortunately, many gamers might want more depth and variety from the missions. However, gamers looking more an accessible arcade shooter should keep their eye out for this one when it ships in the coming weeks.