+ Truly gorgeous artwork
+ Addictive gameplay
+ Perfect party game
– No real depth to the game
– Only certain weapons are really worth using
– No online multiplayer
Cel Damage… What can I say? This one caught me by surprise when it got released. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t even know it was in development, let alone coming out for next-gen consoles. So imagine my surprise when I log into the Sony store and find a heaping wad of nostalgia available for only $8.99 (USD) I don’t think I could have honestly purchased this game any faster, and before you knew it I was reliving one of my favorite games from two generations ago.
Cel Damage was originally developed by Pseudo Interactive back in 2001 for the PS2, Xbox, and Game cube. Even though the game never hit the level of mainstream success that it’s darker brother did, (Twisted metal & Vigilante 8) it did amass a cult following as well as being one of the first games to truly you it’s art style in a proper way. So seeing that we are smack dab in the middle of the age of re-releases, it’s only fitting that a game that gained marginal success be given the HD treatment over a decade later and have a second chance of capturing a new audiences attention.
Cel Damage has a roster of ten different racers, each racer has their own signature weapon, and if that doesn’t cut it for you; you have around thirty different zany weapons to pick up throughout your battle. Anything from grenades, to chainsaws. Mortars, to baseball bats. You name it, you can use it here to bring death and destruction upon your enemies.
Granted with any destruction game, there are certain weapons that you’ll develop a tendency to gravitate towards. However, part of this reason is due to some weapons being extremely overpowered, making the game feel more like a race to see who can get the best weapon first. Granted this is counterbalanced by each weapon having it’s own unique timer built in, and after (x) amount of time the weapon is forfeit.
There are four primary zones that your carnage will take place within. Desert, jungle, graveyard, space. Each level if uniquely designed, and has four sub levels within it. All levels have their own specialty weapons to unlock, as well as level traps for you to take advantage of. The only draw back with these level, is that they’re kind of small. You’ll quickly be able to cross from one side of the map, to the other before you even realize what’s happened. Granted; part of the reason it was designed in this way, is because of the different game modes, but it still feels surprisingly claustrophobic at some points.
Speaking of Game modes, this game had three different offerings for you to run through. “Smack Attack” which is it’s destruction derby mode, “Gate Relay” Which is a point-to-point race mode, and “Flag Rally” which is your point capture game type. Each mode does bring something unique to the table, and does keep you entertained. Over time however, you’ll begin to realize how little depth this game really has, and how it feel more like something you’d be playing more at your local arcade, then on your local console.
Part of the reason this also feels this way, is that there is no online multiplayer what-so-ever. Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m not an advocate for every game needing online multiplayer, but when your game is designed to be played with fiends, or as a party game. Which this game is, on both counts mind you. I would expect a little online interaction to increase the longevity of the title, as well as it being indicative of the product that is being sold. I understand from trailers of the game that the developers wanted to purposely not include online multiplayer, but it does beg to question their motivation behind this move. Was it truly an attempt to re capture localized multiplayer, or was it a way just to cut cost?
One thing that can said about this game, is that this is one of the best looking cel shaded games on the market, only to be rivaled by Wind Waker. Everything in this game is not only eye popping, but also eye catching. Anything from beautifully animated levels, to just the details that they put into the racers cars is truly a treat for the eyes.
Seeing as Cel Damage didn’t really hit it big the first time around, I was very surprised to see an HD remake. Pleasantly surprised, but none the less shocked to see it. It seems like so far this next generation of gaming in nothing more then a walk down memory lane, which even though is entertaining, is not quite original or needed.
The one major thing Cel Damage had always suffered from, even in it’s original release, was the lack of depth to it. While there is a wide assortment of levels, they feel almost put to waste seeing that the primary game mode is not to explore, but to destroy. Keeping you extremely close to one another, and not allowing you a chance to explore. While there is 36 weapons to chose from, only a handful will ever truly be used seeing that this game has some serious balancing issues.
Sadly, the one thing that could have very well saved this title and made it more than just a mediocre re-hash would have been the one thing they purposely avoided. Online multiplayer. As stated before, not all games need an online portion, but if you game is meant to be a “party esq” title then yes, you need online. It adds a whole extra level of re-playability that otherwise is missing altogether.
Cel Damage HD get’s a… 7.5 out of 10