Coded Arms: Contagion Hands-On

Konami's shooter sequel will see you diving back into the online world of the AIDA for another round of virtual combat.

The original Coded Arms had the inauspicious honor of being the first notable first-person shooter to appear on the PlayStation Portable, though the game's awkward controls and bland, randomly generated rooms didn't do a lot to thrill most portable gamers. Konami's back to the drawing board on the sequel, Contagion, which looks like it will contain a more cohesive storyline and more extensive gameplay features that may help it fulfill the series' potential a little more than its predecessor did.

The game again centers on the virtual-reality combat environment called AIDA, though this time you'll go into the harsh online arena as a character with an actual name. You're an agent named Grant, as we saw during a brief hands-on with a demo version set in the game's early tutorial environment. Grant was taking barked orders from a gruff-looking commanding officer whose face actually popped up on the screen during transmissions. So immediately it looks as though Contagion will have a more involved storyline than the original, which cast you as a nameless hacker traversing the endless random levels.

We noted a number of appealing gameplay features during our quick demo. Contagion offers what looks like an improved 3D map display in the corner of the screen that should make it easier to get around inside the AIDA. We discovered another nice navigational tool in the form of a level-decryption utility. Since the levels in Coded Arms are simply computer programs inside a VR environment, you can occasionally (but not always) "decrypt" them, which turns them into a Matrix-style green grid and reveals certain essential features, like doorways. And once we got to a specific doorway, we entered a hacking minigame that showed a scrolling column of numbers and required us to select the matching number from a column on the side.

Contagion will offer a number of new, upgradeable weapons that will hopefully enhance the shooting action seen in the original. The game is also said to offer an eight-player online mode, though we didn't get to see any sort of multiplayer running at the event. The development reins for this sequel have been handed to Massachusetts-based studio Creat, so we're optimistic that the team there can continue to improve on the original Coded Arms, based on what we've seen so far. Keep an eye out for more on Coded Arms: Contagion around its mid-March release date.

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37 comments
fax555241
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something1257
something1257

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something1257
something1257

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sxeserriph
sxeserriph

Now i really need to get my psp modded w/ a dual analog stick....too bad it'l cost me $100+ :(

Tomdogg
Tomdogg

Well, I hope it comes out when it does. They kept delaying it. The wai had better be worth it.

FoShizzle17
FoShizzle17

I hope the levels will be more interesting than the first game.

Tomdogg
Tomdogg

This better have vast improvements over it's predecessor. Don't get me wrong, the first was cool, but somewhat boring.

BigDoherz
BigDoherz

Hope this is better than the first.

jakesoss
jakesoss

so glad first person is coming to the PSP, there awesome!!

TimoTheThug
TimoTheThug

Looks like a decent game. It is worth to spent 60 euros on but it certainly is a game which i need to keep in mind. It's kinda hard to play a FPS on the psp (did it with Brother In Arms) but after an hour it feels great. I would love to see this one on my psp, but Konami really needs to step up to make it worth 60 euro's

TLR_
TLR_

Coded Arms' controls were no problem. Switch to preset C, and the issue's fixed with a more "Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror"-esque control scheme... what I find hard to believe is that so many people didn't even think to try such a simple solution as trying the other presets before concluding that CA's controls made it unplayable. I mean, that doesn't even require any tinkering with the custom controls option(that so many "professional" reviewers ignored, BTW). CA's definitely underrated, but still not deserving any higher than 7.5. As far as Contagion goes - I was sold as soon as I saw "The game is also said to offer an eight-player online mode". If they go through with that, the game will definitely pick up some momentum... more PSP games need to hop on board the infrastructure train.

TLR_
TLR_

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

marioman50
marioman50

if there is an fps on the PSP, it should use metroid's controls, thats the only solution.

__MJ__
__MJ__

ps3 coded arms has been canceled.

chamber303
chamber303

I wonder when will coded arms come for the ps3

sunzofkings
sunzofkings

hope for the best expect the worst. There's games with much more potential coming to the psp then this.

swordinmyeye
swordinmyeye

I also loved the first Coded Arms, but it could have been better. An online mode could do wonders. But ya have to wonder, where is our other analog stick?

DSfanatic5
DSfanatic5

In other words, don't expect this game to be any better than the first. I have to say, I pre-ordered the first Coded Arms from my local GameStop, and it's also the first game I pre-ordered where I opted to get my $5.00 fee back. I decided not to buy the first game after the reviews came out, and rented it instead. I'm glad I saved myself the money, becaue the PSP's controls don't work well with FPS at all. Sadly enough, there's nothing Konami or Creat can do to remedy this, other than try to offer more variety in the game itself. Nobdody should be surprised when Contagion recieves mediocre scores due solely to the PSP's lack of controls. If the control scheme ruined the first game for you, then don't expect any miracles the second time around. I'm going to guess 7.1 as GameSpot's review score for this title.

RoboticZombie
RoboticZombie

maybe they will fix all the damn problems the first one had like the uninteresting levels, then maybe ill think about buying this game!!

The_Exculpator
The_Exculpator

wasnt to impressed with the first but this game has me mildly interested...62%interested....now if they can work on the story, animation and rag-doll physics, that number could soar!

Re_ensurer
Re_ensurer

It looks ok... but I'm not too interested in it right now.

1PSman
1PSman

Is it just my computer or sis this game skip frames more times than i can count? wes

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

um, a shooter from a japanese dev. will wonders never cease.

marioman50
marioman50

If it uses the face buttons to strafe, it will suck like all of the other games that did that.

BigDoherz
BigDoherz

Have to say the first game was fun but had the potential to be much better. Lets hope contagion fufills its potential.

zsoujiro
zsoujiro

what happened to the coded arms for PS3?, the trailer was great.

msim
msim

why , oh , why did sony only give us one analogue "stick" on psp?

spectyre
spectyre

I'm one of the oddballs that actually liked the first one, so this game has me really stoked.

cobrax80
cobrax80

this game is cool looking, i wonder if it will be fun.

led_zeppelin_19
led_zeppelin_19

I didn't care for the first Coded Arms, but this one does have some potential. Looks like I'll have to get it...

Rhaxdric
Rhaxdric

I'm excited. The original was ok. I'm expecting this to be great. And with online you can't lose.

mechafreak01
mechafreak01

looks alot like type of unreal ( i love unreal) this game will be mine!!!!!!!!!

DevinB09
DevinB09

Well I hope this game is better than the first one. Hopefully online mutilplayer turns out good, and I will pick this up.