Activision serves up another does of Call of Duty action exclusively for the PSP. Roads to Victory might not be as grand as its big brother on the consoles, but given the platform Call of Duty: Roads to Victory marches forward with its guns blazing.
Incase you haven’t had your fill of WWII action, Call of Duty: Roads to Victory can travel with you as you fight across the battlefields in WWII. Roads to Victory takes you through three different perspectives of the second world War starting with the United States, then leading up to the Canadians (represent) and then to the Great Britain. Activision and developer Amaze Entertainment have slimmed down the content for the PSP, but in no way have the missed any aspects that you love from your Call of Duty franchise. Roads to Victory is a lengthy adventure in the world’s most popular war.
The first campaign is with the United States as an American Infantry soldier in the 82nd airborne brigade. The date is September 1943, near Altavilla, Italy during Operation Avalanche fighting against the warmongering Nazi forces. The seven chapters of the United States campaign are broken down into multiple objective missions that are mainly run and gun situations with a few variables added in which includes being aboard a B-24 Liberator, or the plane with the bubble turret. Like Call of Duty 3, the tasks switch on the go as the story progresses leading the player down different sets of twists and turns. The main difference in the Call of Duty 3 storyline and Roads' is the sense of scale with smaller playing fields and shorter distances between objectives.
Amaze Entertainment didn’t forget about the Canadians participation in the war. The folks to the north, us Canadians also have a campaign as a rifleman in the Canadian First Army. This campaign ups the stakes as you are deep in enemy territory defending a radioman advancing into town taking out hidden German snipers. Eventually you’ll find yourself capturing a farm house, taking out German tanks with an 88, and onto a dangerous mission protecting a convoy and placing satchel charges on Panzer tanks. This campaign focuses more on stealth and using you sniper rifle to take out the enemies, it’s a little slower paced, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less exciting. If you enjoy the sniping aspect in shooter games then the second campaign with the Canadian soldier will keep you on your toes.
The last campaign as a British commando for the Parachuting Regiment puts your troops in the delicate mission of taking the Arnhem Bridge near the capital province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. Similar to the first campaign your tasks will be jumbled up and switched as you go like destroying Flak cannons, protecting barricades, and linking up with your tank column. I felt the British campaign was more challenging then the others, and rightfully so given we are near the end of the game. It seems the balance between the campaigns could have been equaled out a little more, but it should keep the casual gamer satisfied.
I noticed a minor amount of small problems in Roads to Victory with some questionable tougher than normal enemies with headshots that don’t kill and some frame rate issues that was less of a surprise. Also, Roads’ feels more arcade like then the console versions because of the auto aiming system. I understand this is needed because it’s nearly impossible to aim with the PSP in a faced paced situation, but the radical jumping around creates a dulled out experience. Some segments where just too easy and unchallenging because of the auto aim function, at times I just barreled through the enemy lines without a concern about getting hit, or aiming. I wouldn’t even give credit to the response time of the Auto Aim feature, but it’s a necessary evil. It’s hard to work around the control scheme for shooters on the PSP, so even though it dampened the overall experience the game is I wouldn’t have taken it out.
Roads to Victory has a fair amount of incentives build into the game such as downloadable wallpapers, art assets, and other related unlockables. The biggest bonus has to be multiplayer handled through Ad Hoc, although it would have been better with an Infrastructure mode or at least game-sharing. Online you can blast through six modes including a few standards like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Hold the Flag and King of the Hill. There are also a number of maps that up to six players can have fun killing each other on the go. I know a lot of gamers might expect a little more out of the multiplayer aspect in Roads to Victory because the console version is multiplayer heavy, so you’ll just have to make due until Activision sets us up with the next portable Call of Duty game.
Given the downscaled graphical nature of the PSP, Roads to Victory handles this well. The graphics are very smooth with a good amount of detail. Even the character animations are nicely tied up, along with a lot of scenery packed into each level. Roads to Victory also features some real war footage that ties in the production nicely giving this pint size version a big console feel.
The sound also keeps up the high standard with all the familiarities from the Call of Duty franchise duplicated. The sound scape is filled with a cinematic soundtrack, lots of explosions, voice work, and other atmospheric effects. The soundtrack is the real star in the audio of Roads to Victory. The quality of the other effects, mainly gunshots, and explosions dropping off, the job gets done. It’s impossible for it to hold up to Call of Duty 3, but for what you expect, it’s an achievement.
Call of Duty games can have a lot of mojo with their fast paced action, conclusive storyline, and a well rounded multiplayer mode. It’s no question that Activision has the formula nailed. The handheld solution to this isn’t so easy and Roads to Victory is proof. It’s hard to recapture a console feeling especially in a shooter for the PSP. Roads’ has a few moments that really stand out, one being the bubble turret and some of the one foot action, but the mojo doesn’t carry throughout the game. It’s patched up and delivered with a half smile. I dig what they have accomplished in Roads to Victory, but next time it could have a little more to make it more memorable.
Call of Duty: Roads to Victory is everything you expect out of Call of Duty, shrunk down to scale for the PSP. The war torn adventure is epic and dramatic following the paths of three soldiers in WWII. Despite a few nitpicks that seem to come along with all first person shooters on the PSP, Roads to Victory holds up nice given the platform. The biggest complaint would have to be no Infrastructure multiplayer which can be dealt with if you have friends to hook up with in the Ad Hoc mode. If you have enjoyed a Call of Duty game in the past, then Roads to Victory has everything you need for a eventful epic war-game, picking this up should be a given.
Gameplay: 7.5, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 5, Mojo: 7. Final: 7 / 10