Sometime ago I’ve played the PlayStation 4 version of The Long Dark. A title so broken, and riddled with glitches, that it was impossible to complete its story mode. And at a point where it has erased all my progress, I came to a conclusion that it is the most unstable title, I’ve ever played on PlayStation 4 – and that it’ll never be topped. But now, after giving the monstrosity known as Spartan a go, I’ve realized how wrong I was.
Spartan, is a Mario-like platformer, centred around the myth of the invincible Spartans. However, unlike the ancient warriors, the title in question is nowhere near as heroic or legendary. In fact, it is the exact opposite, as it may just be the worst title which you can find on the European PlayStation Store, and this says a lot, considering that Joe’s Diner and Honor_And_Duty:_Arcade_Edition are also on there.
Visually, Spartan is all over the place. The art style is dull and incredibly inconsistent. Some parts of it are cell-shaded, some resemble 90’s era cartoons, others a ‘’photo-realistic’’, whereas as some objects feature a full 3D models, pulled straight out of an old adventure title. Even the fonts vary throughout the game, as in some places Spartan refers to the stereotypical ancient Roman fonts, whereas in others, it uses the worst font of all, MS Comic Sans.
The graphical inconsistencies, while jarring are not the worst part of Spartan, as title’s controls, and core mechanics are much worse. From the second one begins to move to the right, he/she realises that there is something wrong with Spartan. As the movement is not only floaty, but also inaccurate, and these feelings become set in stone once player attempts to jump over the first handful of obstacles. But the initial impressions of the control scheme are nowhere near as bad what comes next.
After one completes the first set of lethal jumps, he/she is presented with a long jump which requires a run up, and a double-jump. However, if one attempts to do both things at the same time, he/she will realise that Spartan is so poorly coded, that it disallows one from completing two different actions at the same time. So, in order to make that particular jump, you have to release the trigger responsible for running, as you make the jump, as otherwise you won’t be able to make it.
Laughably poor controls would normally be platformer’s biggest downside, as being unable to move left and right while climbing a ladder, or jumping while running is simply unacceptable. However, some will not have to worry about even getting to the latter stages which incorporate more complex platforming-related elements, as Spartan will make you quit before you even start. And not because of its Spartan-like difficulty, but because of the fact that it has a tendency to crash – a lot.
Within an hour which I’ve spent with Spartan, the title has crashed on eight separate occasions. And it didn’t matter if I was loading the stage, or if was simply walking, because Spartan would crash whenever it felt like. And while having to constantly restart the game, over and over again, was tedious, and simply unnecessary, as any title which is being sold for any amount of money should simply work, it has not deterred me from continuing. What made me quit, was the fact that the title would refuse to allow me to complete a stage. I’ve collected all 3D coins (which feature a broken animation), all chests, and killed all enemies, and even then, the end game portal has failed load-in and let me finish the level. And even after restarting, the same issue occurred. And at that point I’ve decided that I’m simply not going to bother, and uninstalled it.
In-short, Spartan is a simply laughable title. It’s visually inconsistent, to a point where you don’t know whether the person who has cobbled it together was mentally sane. It features some questionable level design. And the quality of all the behind-the-scenes elements is inconceivably poor. And quite frankly, a title in such mechanical state should never be allowed on the PlayStation Store. In-fact, it is so poor that it has managed to dethrone The Long Dark (which since has been fixed) as the worst title on the PlayStation Store. And I hope that the developer behind the title will either fix it, or that Sony will finally wake up, and begin deleting titles such as Spartan from its store.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
Replay Value - /10
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