Cel Damage HD Review (PS3/PS4/PS Vita)

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There hasn’t been much available lately for those who enjoy vehicular combat games on next gen consoles. By vehicular combat, I don’t mean a game like Battlefield 4, which yes, technically you can ride around in vehicles and attack each other with them. What I mean are games that used to be quite popular back in the day that featured nothing but crazy vehicles with crazy powered up weapons that you would use against a group of friends and enjoy the mayhem that was local multiplayer. One of the most memorable games I can remember is that of the original Twisted Metal on the PS1 and the fun I had playing local multiplayer with friends. Of course these days, must people play networked multiplayer now and local, splitscreen MP games are a dying breed. That doesn’t meant there aren’t any you can enjoy right now and one of them so happens to be a remake of an older vehicular combat game, Cel Damage. The new game, Cel Damage HD was developed by Finish Line Games and revitalization of the timeless classic with improved gameplay, balancing, and graphics.

Disclaimer: I was provided the digital download of this game from the developer’s PR department.

Gameplay

I’m not sure how this compares to the original Cel Damage, as I never really played it. The developers did say that Cel Damage HD isn’t really based on the original one and is instead based on Cel Damage: Overdrive which was released after the original game. It contains much of the improvements from the second game as well as some gameplay changes so players of the original game will find things a bit different here. I’m obviously coming into this fresh so the changes don’t affect me as I don’t know what they were before.

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The game plays pretty much the same on both PS3 and PS4 since the control layout is the same. The left stick controls the left and right movements with the left and right triggers controlling forward and backwards movement. The left and right bumpers can be used to jump flip your vehicle either left or right though you can also use the right thumbstick to do this as well, in addition to forward flips. The X button is used to fire your weapon. Now I didn’t notice this through my first few playthroughs, but front flips will actually provide some boost to speed you up.

On the PS Vita, the controls aren’t too different except that you lose the function of the top shoulder buttons. On the PS Vita, the shoulder buttons here work like the triggers do on the PS3 and PS4 and are used for movement. You’ll need to use the right thumbstick for performing flips. Other than that, everything else is the same.

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There are three different game modes you can play. There is Smack Attack, Flag Rally, and Gate Relay.

Smack Attack is basically just flat out deathmath. It’s every man for himself here and the goal of this game mode is to be the first to gain a certain amount of smacks. Default has it set to 300 smacks though you can change this all the way up to 1000 smacks. This game mode features a wide variety of weapons you can choose from which will help you defeat all your opponents.

The next mode is called Flag Rally. In this, the object of the game is to capture flags on the level and bring them back to the base. The person who reaches the target number of flags wins. There is more strategy involved in this mode as you must decide weather to bring back each flag you get one at a time or be a bit riskier and try to gain more flags at one time before returning. Of course your opponents will have a greater chance of stealing those flags from you as you will from them. Weapons are also activated on this mode though for the most part, you may find that you’ll be too busy concentrating on gaining flags.

The last game mode is called Gate Rally. This mode is your standard race in which you must make laps around the racetrack while going through a series of checkpoints. Again, weapons are available and in this race, half the fun is beating your enemies down. Weapons come in handy to slow down their advancements and keep you in the lead .

For the most part, you can customize any aspect of the game modes, whether you want weapons, which weapons, how many points or laps needed for each match, and whether or not you want AI players.

Graphics

Graphically, the game looks very similar to the original Cel Damage game, except now at a higher resolution. The game still has that cartoony, cell shaded look that was popular back then with very bright, solid colors. Not much has really changed, but the game still looks pretty good today, The cell shaded animations don’t look quite as good as something as recent as Borderlands, but for an older game, it still looks fairly good.  The animations are also quite good and also hold up and again, this is basically over the top, cartoon style mayhem.

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There isn’t much difference in graphics between the PS3, PS4, and PS Vita versions of the game as they all pretty much look identical. The PS4 version is a little bit crisper, but that’s to be expected. Otherwise, you can’t do wrong playing on any of them. The only key difference I think is that the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game allow for more complex 4-player local split screen action while the PS Vita does not.

Final Thoughts

For those who remember the game, Cel Damage HD is a very good remake of it. It’s still a very fun game to play especially if you have friends to play with. If you don’t, the AI players aren’t too bad and do provide enough of a challenge, though eventually, you’ll want to get some local or network matches going with actual human players. The graphics are still pretty good after all these years, though not as good as current cell shaded games. It is still fun to look at though. Though the game only has three game modes, they are varied enough where you won’t feel bored playing the same modes over and over again. There is enough variety for those who want to race, play deathmatch, or play a capture the flag style game. The level selection is also quite varied so there’s plenty variety there as well.

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Is this game worth getting? Very much so if you have friends to play with and also especially if you have children. I had a blast playing this with my kids since you can play this locally via split screen. Since this is cartoon violence, it isn’t so bad as it’s not really any worse than what they already see in most cartoons. My kids think the game is pretty funny and fun and I don’t mind letting them win every now and then. The violence in this is so over the top that they know it can’t be real. If you don’t have anyone to play with, I’d still suggest taking a look at the game. The AI is not too bad here and can be challenging if you up the difficulty. This was a good vehicular combat game back in its day and even today, I think it holds up well in the gameplay department.

The game is also quite affordable for just $9.99 but not only that, the game features both cross-buy and cross-save. That means buying it on one platform will allow you to play it on the other platforms for free. Also with cross-save, any levels you unlock and complete on one platform will show up on the others. That means you never have to play the same game over and over again just to unlock them on each platform. That’s probably one of my favorite features as I can play it on the big screen with my kids, and then just continue to play and unlock new items on my PS Vita before I go to bed. Overall, Cel Damage HD is a great addition to anyone’s library of PlayStation games for those interested in vehicular combat.

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