300: March To Glory
300 was a school example of the “more action, more spectacle, less story”-trend that currently runs through Hollywood. Nobody looked up for a CGI effect or liter blood more or less in this epos about 300 heroic Spartans that – if they want to save Greec society – have to stand ground against the millions of Persian soldiers under the leadership of Xerxes. In the PSP-exclusive action title 300: March to Glory you get to redo these epic battles again.
You play with Leonidas, king of Sparta and leader of “the 300″. The game faithfully follows the storyline of the movie, although with less eye for the intrigue on the homefront. During 10 missions (about 8 hours of gameplay) you have to defeat the Persian armada.
300: March to Glory is a pure third person slasher with little room for subtlety and tactic. You have three types of attacks (fast, hard and a hit with your shield) with which you can do comcos.
However, these are all but fluid and you’ll quickly fall back to brainless button bashing. Defending is done with the L-button and in certain levels you also have to use the “duck tail”-move. By pressing both shoulder buttons you duck under your shield so that you are protected from the feared Persian arrow rains.
While kicking some nice ass, your “wrath”-meter will fill and once completely full you can do one of four special moves. “Fortitude” replenishes your health, “blood drunk” give a short power boost, “defense” makes you invulnerable for a while and “eye of the warlord” is some sort of bullet-time. You can also try wrath-attacks against Persian captains and other fearful enemies (R + face buttons) which also use a part of your wrath meter but do quite a lot of damage.
Against some Persians you can’t do without and this can lead to some annoying situations. When your meter is empty you’re forced to give some regular hits (of which you know they won’t do any good) to get some wrath again. The same goes for the enemies that can only be hurt with blood drunk. Such things cause a lot of irritation and the fact that the Persians are almost without exception brainless slasher material doesn’t help the gameplay much either.
The game also has an upgrade system. Killing Persians gives you money with which you can improve Leonidas at any time. You can choose to get better equipment (shield, spear, sword and harnas), make his moves even more powerful (they’re already overpowered) or buy combos.
Every now and then you’ll also take command of the feared Greec falanx and then you won’t move alone but in group. The idea is that you cross a straight line filled with hostiles before your command bar (health of the falanx) runs empty. The whole concept sounds nice but it isn’t. The formation is slow and its possibilities are very limited. It says a lot that the only original concept in 300 doesn’t play for a meter.
Even more annoying are the stealth elements in the game. What is it with developers and stealth? In some levels you need to sneak up to guards and slit their throat. If you get noticed, you get a dozen reinforcements on your neck. You don’t have any means of aid which makes these stealth passages suck even more.
Don’t expect miracles from the graphics. The models have chronic polygone poverty (huge difference with f.i. Daxter) and the textures are blurry with too little detail. Blood and limbs fly around as should in a slasher but you’ll only see a maximum of ten people on the screen at any time. What a difference with the thousands of Persians from the movie!
The camera isn’t much of a good example either. The fixed perspective tries to create a cinematographic effect but only manages to create frustration. Especially in narrow spaces you often lose oversight.
The sound does things a bit better. The sword fighting and voice acting nicely manages to bring forth hte macho-aura of the movie. The music sounds nice bombastic which suits the epic setting perfectly.
Multiplayer isn’t present but the game does contain a bunch of fun extras like interviews, trailers, storyboards and artwork. Those that want to unlock it all will have to find the four lambdas that are hidden in each level.
300: March To Glory is the latest unnecessary movie license game. Not completely bad, but why spend money on a monotone, unoriginal game when there are so many better ones out there?