Reviewed: October 17, 2006
Released: September 26, 2006
Through the years I have really only enjoyed one strategy RPG series; Final Fantasy Tactics. I havenít spent that much time with many other games in the genre but the Tactics series has always given some pure enjoyment.
Spectral Souls for the PSP wouldnít naturally be my first choice for my powerful little handheld. It just happens to be another strategy RPG for the PSP. This time is different though. This time I would come to the edge of insanity.
Let me just start out by saying that Spectral Souls is like any other strategy RPG on the market. Just imagine Final Fantasy Tactics. The story is somewhat complex and offers three different sides. It offers moments of greatness, but for the most part it just drags on. Like many other similar games the gameplay can become repetitive after only a few hours. None of this matters though since all of this is overshadowed by a dark cloud of loading...loading...loading...
It isnít very often that a game is so unbearably boring and frustrating at the same time that I refuse to continue after only a few hours in. This game has the worst loading of any game that I have ever played. Yes, I said it, the absolute worst. Not only are the load times between battles absolutely ridiculous, but the game loads between each move. Not just a second or two either. Itís more like 5 seconds of loading between each individual attack and player movement on the field.
Considering that you have to move anywhere from 2-5 times to position yourself, execute multiple attacks, use healing items, possibly move again, and continue attacking, the amount of time taken to complete a battle is easily doubled due to these load times. The first battle alone took me nearly twenty minutes to complete. Not only do these load times slow down the game but it is also makes it extremely frustrating.
I canít imagine the level of patience required to play this game. All I know is I donít have it and never will. No human being should naturally have this level of patience.
Usually I would penalize a game for not having multiplayer but in this case I am praising it. Multiplayer would only spread the frustration to everyone you play against. The battles are long enough with only one human player. I donít want to imagine how long and boring they would be with two players.
My anger continued as I discovered that this game didnít even have above-average visuals. The characters have small bodies and big heads, basic anime style. If youíre thinking that the colors or textures are great just because the loading times are long then you are wrong. In fact, this game is on the below-average side of the spectrum.
The environments and character models are decent at best. I would expect these types of graphics on the DS but not on the PSP. It is capable of so much more and given the outrageous load times that this game has, it should have some better and more demanding visuals.
Spectral Souls is full of disappointments. Maybe these lame tunes would be fitting for a game that does not spend so much time loading but not for this game. With these kinds of load times I would expect an award-winning orchestra score not the generic music that the developers decided to implement into the game. There arenít even any voice-overs. I donít like this game.
I donít care how much this game costs donít buy it. Donít rent it. Donít borrow it. Donít even think about it. Stop reading this review right now and read a review on a game that is actually worth your time because this game is nothing but a big pile ofÖLOADINGÖLOADINGÖLOADING.
I like the Final Fantasy Tactics games and was initially impressed with the presentation of Spectral Souls, but after the very first battle I was convinced that this game was going to be long and agonizing, and it was.