Cell Damage was a car combat game which was released back in the PS2/Xbox era, and its defining feature was its art direction. The game received a lukewarm reception and although some people seemed to like it, it never gathered a large following. So it was very surprising to many people when Sony announced the game was getting a HD remake, especially when the Twisted Metals reboot on the PS3 in 2012 could not reignite people’s interest in car combat games.
The game’s stand out feature still remains its cell shaded graphics. Although games have done it a lot better, Cel Damages HDs cell shaded Saturday morning cartoon look will draw your attention, it’s just a shame that when it does, you realise that is the only part of the game worthy of your attention. The rest of the game is pretty sparse. With only three game modes, twelve tracks and ten characters, what may have passed as a fully featured game back in 2001 doesn’t now and the developer has not added any new features to the HD remake.
The characters and weapons offer some humour to the game. Hearing your characters voice coming from the Dualshock Four’s speaker shouting various insults was novel, but they soon become repetitive and rather annoying to the point that I muted them. The weapons have a good variety, from your standard machine gun and bombs to spring loaded boxing gloves and sheep strapped with dynamite. There are a few that seem pretty useless but for the most part they are fun to use and work as intended.
The three game modes seem to be pretty standard for car combat games, just given different names.
Smack attack is basically deathmatch. Here you have to reach a certain amount of ‘smacks’ to win. Smacks equate to hits on opponents and different weapons receive different amounts of smacks per hit.This game mode was the one I had at least some fun with. The variety in the weapons and speed of the game make this mode complete chaos in the right way.
Capture the flag requires the player to grab flags that are walking around the arena and bring them back to the capture point on the map whilst avoiding the other players who are trying to steal the flags from each other. This mode, although having the same amount of chaos as smack attack was not as fun for me because having to hunt down the flags and take them to the capture point often meant I was leaving the chaos as the AI wasn’t intelligent enough to follow me to try and retrieve the flags. This poor AI also meant this game mode was rather easy to win with some rounds lasting under a minute.
The final game mode is Gate Race. This mode is your basic race mode. Checkpoint gates are dotted around the arena and you have to beat your opponents to come first. I found this game mode to be the most frustrating. The course direction is not always clear to anyone it seems, as numerous times I would crash into an AI character going the wrong way around the course. Having to drive through the small poorly placed gates at speed with the AI bumbling all over the place was not easy. The poor handling model on the cars is fine for the open areas on the other modes but not for racing.
All of these game modes can be played on your own or with up to four players locally. There is no online multiplayer here which could have extended peoples enjoyment of the game but I doubt it would have been extended for long. I found the game rather easy on the normal difficulty setting and when I put it up to hard, I only had to replay a few rounds that I lost first time round. I managed to complete the whole game and achieve all the trophies in just over two hours, hardly on par with other downloadable titles.
I also encountered a few bugs whilst playing too. Numerous times I fell through the geometry, my vehicles model expanded to such a size that I couldn’t see where I was going and the collision on some weapons would send me flying into the air spinning in random directions.
Cell Damage HD is a game that no one seemed to be asking for but they went and made it anyway. The game has stayed true to the original and that’s a lot of the problem here. Upsampling the graphics on a mediocre game just makes it a slightly sharper looking mediocre game. If you have fond memories of the original, this HD remake might be for you. If not, don’t bother wasting your money here, there are better and fuller featured car combat games out there.
Reviewed on PS4, PS3 & Vita