Call of Duty: Roads to Victory Hands-On

World War II continues to rage on the PSP in our exclusive look at the first Call of Duty to hit a portable system.

Given the unabated popularity of World War II shooters on consoles, it's surprising how long the genre has taken to proliferate on handheld systems. Nevertheless, EA and Ubisoft respectively brought their Medal of Honor and Brothers in Arms franchises to the PSP in the past few months. And now, Activision and developer Amaze are likewise working on a new entry in the Call of Duty franchise, which is subtitled Roads to Victory and also for Sony's handheld. The game doesn't stray far from the Call of Duty formula, giving you three sets of missions from the American, British, and Canadian perspectives of the Normandy breakout campaign, which pushed the Allied forces beyond the D-Day landing into the heart of Europe.

This is definitely the Call of Duty style of action you've grown accustomed to on the PC and consoles, though the scale is smaller and the missions are naturally shorter. You'll be accompanied by one or two allies through most missions, and these guys are fully voiced throughout and will chatter back and forth about the goings-on of the battle. You can carry two weapons at any time, which you'll get from an arsenal that includes such old favorites as the Thompson submachine gun, M1 Garand, and the German MP40. Other standard gameplay features from the franchise, such as grenade cooking, are here as well.

Like its console counterparts, the PSP game will contain American, British, and Canadian campaigns.

The first four missions of the American campaign we played were varied, with the occasional action set piece, such as a plane crashing just ahead of our position (those sorts of things tend to be surprising on a small screen like the PSP's). Otherwise, it was mostly storming through bombed-out villages and towns, fighting off Nazi soldiers en masse. Occasionally we got to jump on an MG-88 to deal with an oncoming wave of troops; use a pair of binoculars to sight in artillery strikes on German armor; or grab a Panzershrek to take out a tank rolling down a tight city backstreet. The last mission we got to play in our preview build was set entirely in the air and had us scurrying between turrets to defend our bombing run from waves of incoming fighters. In short, it doesn't seem like Amaze has skimped on the sorts of activities you'd expect to see in one of the "bigger" Call of Duty games for this portable version.

First-person shooters typically haven't fared well on the PSP primarily because of the limitations of the unit's controls. The genre is simply hamstrung by the lack of buttons and a second analog stick, to say nothing of the unwieldy first analog stick that's actually on the system. Roads to Victory is unfortunately mired by these same issues. With the default control scheme, you have to stop moving to throw a grenade, change weapons, or crouch, though other configurations are available.

Luckily, Amaze has compensated for the control constraints with a rather generous auto-aim feature. You only have to be pointing in the reasonable vicinity of an enemy for your crosshair to snap to him, which eliminates the need to be extremely precise with the PSP's analog stick (surely no mean feat). The farther off target you are, the less accurate your shot. So it still behooves your survival to aim as truly as you can, but this feature does help cut down on the frustration quite a bit.

A generous auto-aim feature helps smooth out frustrations with the PSP's limited controls.

Furthermore, when you're locked on to an enemy, hitting the L button to go to the traditional iron sights aiming mode will basically make you snap your aim directly at the enemy's head, resulting in a quick one-shot kill if you're fast enough. You can turn these auto-aim features off if you want a really serious challenge, but even with them on, we still ran into the occasional frustrating death where we couldn't get away from a grenade fast enough. But overall, we liked the way the auto-aim made the game feel a little more forgiving and arcadelike.

Amaze seems to be doing a respectable job with the visuals in Roads to Victory; check out the new trailer above for an example. Though the geometry and textures have taken the slight detail hit you'd expect in coming to the PSP, overall this definitely looks like a Call of Duty game, so devoted fans of the series (and WWII shooters in general) ought to feel at home. The game will purportedly also feature a multiplayer option for six players, though we didn't get to test that mode with our single preview build. Look for more information on that mode, as well as the remaining Canadian and British campaigns, when we post our full review around the time Roads to Victory hits shelves in mid-March.

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Discussion

43 comments
taino1128
taino1128

first COD on a handheld. lets hope its better than Medal of Honor and Brothers in Arms.

jacnewforce07
jacnewforce07

Im going to have to get this! Im more ready for a final fantasy title for the psp though

p5ilocyb3
p5ilocyb3

damn man... psp games just keep getting sweeter and sweeter. Definatley gunna add this to my psp collection. Cant wait to headshot you fools online! lol.

BoBKiD
BoBKiD

Oh boy! Oh boy! I can't wait! *drooling over the PSP* I really hope the controls are better than MoH though because sometimes, they could prove very slow, especially if you wanted to turn around and aim.

buccs882
buccs882

the control scheme on MOH heroes was pretty good well atleast when you put it on elite (pathfinder was pretty good also)

chamber303
chamber303

i believe that the best control sheme for the psp in fps games is to use the same sheme as metroid prime on the gamecube. And this one comes close to that.

pdo4545
pdo4545

this looks so tight.

Gusis1337
Gusis1337

I cant wait even though it comes out in a few weeks

mingfu
mingfu

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

YalCantDeMe
YalCantDeMe

I always new COD was gonna go on psp :)

psp100thNOOB
psp100thNOOB

this will be a BIG hit I know... Much more if ever they can do more of the easy control like in other PC games... PSP... Rock On...

DC_MChief
DC_MChief

i wonder how much people can the multiplayer hold. i hope 32. but mostlikely 16

Doolum
Doolum

the graphics looks amazing already.

masyllek
masyllek

I hope COD is better then MOH

GTCzeero
GTCzeero

I've always preferred COD over Medal of Honor, not just for the multi-national perspective compared to MOH's USA bias.

DC_MChief
DC_MChief

Ima get this game!!!!!!!!!!!!!! looks better than MOH heroes.

mrekolost
mrekolost

wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo now this is my buy of the year or one of them :)

KnightsofRound
KnightsofRound

It's about damn time they had the Canadians in a Call of Duty game.

xXRobbyXx
xXRobbyXx

hopefully it will turn out to be a great game

Quintly
Quintly

Hmmz, it sure looks promising.

gamenux
gamenux

24 players online... ggeez... there should make a 24 player counterstrike for psp. I am sure it would be a hit.

habitat
habitat

hopefully this is intense and as fun multiplayer-wise as the original games that were released on pc. i also agree with romanticide...where are the original guys!?

BubbaHotep1
BubbaHotep1

Hopefully there will be skirmish play with bots or even better.... multiple multi-player modes with bots.

Romanticide
Romanticide

The visuals are batter than in the first COD , and if it have a respectable control scheme and a 24 player onlyne multiplayer ... call me soled They really arent better. Anyway, I hope this is better than MoH on PSP, I loved that. Playing that got me playing Call of Duty again on PC. I hope Treyarch stop violating the series soon and let the original developers get on with the next CoD.

Pastehunter
Pastehunter

The visuals are batter than in the first COD , and if it have a respectable control scheme and a 24 player onlyne multiplayer ... call me soled :)

nexusprime
nexusprime

a MOH: H or Metroid prime control scheme would make this one of the better fpss on the psp.

nevereathim
nevereathim

I really want this game, before this was on my list, now it's no doubt on whether I will get it

gamenux
gamenux

damn, how did they manage to cram 24 players in 1 game. That is just amazing. I hope the game is smooth when 24 people start screaming bloody hell. lol

DevinB9
DevinB9

If the game has controls like MOH Heroes, than I'll be satisfied. 24 players online with vehicles...nice.

SolidFear
SolidFear

If the controls are anything like Medal of Honors, than I'm super happy. Those were great controls.

chamber303
chamber303

not only games but connectivity with ps3. lets don't forget the digital cam and gps system for psp

Bigboss232
Bigboss232

this could be big i see more games like this in psp's future

chamber303
chamber303

the best way to program fps game controls on for the psp is to make them identical to metroid prime from the gamecube. i beleive this is what we have on this game. AMAZING. all fps games on the psp should have this control scheme.

lilmp89
lilmp89

24 players online with vehicles for PSP sounds pretty big...I'm quite interested to see how that will turn out.

timma25
timma25

Hope they take out the snap to headshot thing for multiplayer....

wolfboy20
wolfboy20

Seems nice!!! but im worried for the controls