PSP Review: Playstation Network Collection: Power Pack

Three very different games on one disc, is it worth getting?

Three PSP games, on one UMD, tailored to give you three very different experiences. Includes ‘flOw,’ ‘Beats’ and ‘Syphon Filter: Combat Ops.’

flOw – Life could be simple. Explore the soothing depths of a living underwater environment, discover strange new organisms and embark on a journey of evolution.

Beats – Take the Beats challenge and enjoy a highly addictive rhythm action game, where your music collection gets the starring role!

Syphon Filter: Combat Ops – Seek out and terminate rogue agents or team up with friends and form a Cell group – then take out other Cells online and engage in stealth shooter action for up to eight players.

Compilations of games on one disc can be a good thing or a bad thing. In some cases, the combination never seems right, while other times it can be perfect. The Power Pack collection of PSN games are a mixed bag, but are definitely worth its price tag.

flOw is a strange game that I had not played until the day I played it on the Power Pack. It seems nothing more than you progressing down till you find an object and then change into something else, it reminds me of the opening to Spore, although this one lasts much longer. It’s simplistic but fun, which is always a good thing. Visually, it looks pretty impressive too; it’s one of those unique games that the PSP has been dying for.

Beats tries to be a mixture of Guitar Hero/Rock Band and EA’s XBLA game, Boom Boom Rocket. Essentially there’s a circle in the middle where all button prompts are sent to, it’s all about timing it right and getting multipliers, even speeding the game up to make it double whatever your multiplier is, think of it like using your star power in Guitar Hero and you’ll know what I mean. The game is a little on the easy side, although it can be tough on the later difficulties. You can also record your own rhythms, which is a nice feature…although I wish the game had more of a variety of music.

Syphon Filter: Combat Ops is a multiplayer only affair. Luckily the game has online support or I wouldn’t have been able to review it. Essentially it’s nothing more than a death match with upto 8 players, it’s pretty good and has solid controls, although load times are very long. Having said that, the game can be a blast online and it’s worth waiting for the game to load. Although, it’s not that unique and I think the collection could have benefited from another single player game.

Looking at the collection as a whole, it seems an odd choice to have a quirky game like flOw, a music game like Beats and a multiplayer shooter like Syphon Filter: Combat Ops. The games are fine on their own, but together they don’t seem to work. What’s also annoying is that when you choose what game you want to play, you can’t exit back out of it and choose another, you have to go back to the PSP’s menu and restart the game, ridiculous.

The Verdict

Each game has its own strengths and weaknesses, but put together the Power Pack seems a bit lacking. Having to exit out of the game to change between them is just plain silly; although each game has their moments…the only one I remotely enjoyed was flOw for its quirkiness. Beats seems a bit dull and Syphon Filter Combat Ops gets old after a while, but flOw is the one that’s unique, making it the best of the bunch. Should you get the Power Pack? Only if you’ve never played flOw, otherwise I’d skip it.