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PSP  header logo

Fired Up

For: PSP

Power up your Humvee and prepare to take on the tanks of tyranny in Sony's vehicle combat slugger

Product: Fired Up | Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment London Studio | Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe | Format: PSP | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1-8 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Fired Up PSP, thumbnail 1
When it comes to controlling the battlefield, as everyone knows, tanks rule. And while most of us probably wouldn't enjoy being inside one as it hurtles over hills, turret swinging, spraying mud and hot death on all and sundry, you certainly wouldn't choose to be sitting in a trench trying to take one out, either.

Which means tanks should be ideal for games. You're in something big, mean and deadly and enemy bullets just bounce off. If only it were that simple.

The problem is controllability. Let's face it; oil tankers aside, tanks are the least nimble vehicles in the world. Worst still, if you're going to get really authentic, you have to model the very tank-like act of the tracks going in one direction, while the turret points another. It ain't easy. And that's the simple reason why, outside the hardcore PC simulation, there haven't been many good tank-based games.

Of course, the young turks at Sony London know this. After all, Fired Up is their second stab at the genre. Their first - the online PS2 game Hardware - tried to get around these problems by simplification. Despite allowing you to battle in tanks, jeeps and armoured personal carriers, most of them handled like rally cars, whilst weapon pick-ups such as homing missiles and rapid-fire rockets meant no one had to worry about aiming too much. Hardware was vehicle-warfare as mindless arcade fun.

Fired Up is different, however. First up, there's a proper single-player mode. Some made-up country has been invaded by some evil dictator and only you in your various lightweight buggies can save the day. Cue the missions: driving around the urban streets and attacking tanks or ambushing ammunition lorries to trigger mini-quests by destroying a fixed number of enemy within a time limit.

One large level is set in the snowy hills in the shadows of an oil installation. But it's all very by-the-numbers stuff, with yellow pillars of light guiding you to your next objective. As soon as you get there, some more enemies will be triggered, forcing you to zoom around, trying to find some decent ammo pick-ups 'cause your default machine gun isn't going to do anyone any harm. Bizarrely, if you're feeling suicidal, you can jump out of your vehicle and take control of one of the fixed gun batteries dotted around. But you'll be a sitting duck if you do.

And it's this sort of half-arsed-ness which characterises Fired Up. Everything you'd expect is there in some form. There is a load of different weapons, but they're not particularly well explained nor are there any decent targeting options. It's difficult to see your enemy, let alone when you've actually got to get them in your sights and blow 'em away. There's some in-game currency - called scavenger icons (or stars to you and me) - so you can get better weapons if you can be bothered to collect them all. The levels are OK, nice in places, but there are also areas which you don't have the ability to manoeuvre into. Control is zippy and slidey but then, when you flip right over, vehicles seem to take forever to right themselves. And the missions are straightforward and lacking in tension. Multiplayer is a big deal, as you might expect, with plenty of maps and options such as Capture The Flag and King of the Hill, but if the single-player isn't doing it for you, why expect anyone to play wi-fi?

All in all then, it's a disappointment. In a game about tanks and other assorted military vehicles, you'd expect a bit of passion right? Despite its name, Fired Up just isn't.

Fired Up is on sale now.
Fired Up
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 1 September 2005
Feeling like a typical launch game, Fired Up lacks fight and finesse - tanks but no thanks
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