Psyvariar 2 Extend Edition Hands-On

We try out Success' conversion of its arcade shoot-'em-up on the Xbox.

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TOKYO--Developer Success was showing off its Xbox shoot-'em-up both in its booth and in Microsoft's exhibit area at the Tokyo Game Show. The game is an enhanced version of Psyvariar 2, Success' top-down arcade shooter. The Xbox version features a harder difficulty, which seems decidedly tough, as well as a remixed soundtrack, among other extras. We tried out a demo of Extend Edition at TGS and came away pining for such 2D action on the system in the States.

For those unfamiliar with the Psyvariar series, there's not much to say about the game's premise. The action is set in the future, where you're put into the confines of a powerful mech suit that's armed to the teeth. Much like all 2D shooters that have hit since the genre began, whatever narrative there is behind Psyvariar can be conveyed by the universal language of shooting everything up real good.

Such a simple description proves to be an equally apt descriptor for the gameplay in Psyvariar, which has you zipping around and blowing the bejesus out of anything and everything that comes your way. Psyvariar's unique gameplay twist comes from the evasion system and your ability to temporarily power your attacks when enemy bullets come close. Imagine a cross between Burnout 3's against-the-flow-of-traffic driving dynamics and a shoot-'em-up.

The graphics in the game are arcade-perfect and flow like butter on the Xbox. The mix of 2D graphics and assorted special effects make for a flashy package that's never more satisfying than when the entire screen is chock-full of bullets and enemies. The massive explosions, which are part and parcel of boss fights in the series, are equally slick and pleasing to the eye.

Psyvariar 2: Extend Edition plays well and provides a welcome bit of 2D shooting action to the Xbox library. The game's fast-paced, very challenging, and impressive visuals are all just what the doctor ordered for those hankering for some 2D fun on the system. Of course, said doctor would have to be Japanese, since Psyvariar is just another in a long line of arcade conversions to the Xbox that will, in all likelihood, never see the light of day in the US.

That said, if you're set up to import Xbox games, you'll want to be ready to pick this one up when it hits the retail arena. For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of the Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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