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Review: Cellfactor: Psychokinetic Wars

During E3, Ubisoft quitely released a game for both Xbox Live and the Playstation Network that nobody had ever heard of and nobody will ever play. Cellfactor: Psychokinetic Wars is one of the most derivative first person shooters I've ever played, nothing short of an Unreal mod made available for purchase. Wholly generic characters with generic weapons battle in generic looking envrionments with generic gametypes. Sounds fantastic, right? Actually, it is.

Cellfactor is your average shooter with a few hooks, which are really the only things worth describing considering that everything else is just like Unreal/Quake/many other titles. As you might have guessed from the long, unnecessary subtitle, the characters in Cellfactor have psychokinetic powers, ranging from teleportation to flying to magic barriers. There are three different classes in the game, and they all have varying levels of skills based upon psychic powers and brute strength, best compared to standard RPG classes. There's the Black Ops (rangers), Bishops (mages), and Guardians (knights). Black Ops can teleport a short distance (even through walls) to get away from an enemy, and they can also create a shield to protect themselves from attack for a short while. Bishops can also make shields, but on top of that they can fly. Guardians can't make shields, but they can wield two weapons. There's one other thing that the Guardian class can't do: pick up crap with his mind and throw it. The Black Ops and the Bishop classes can both, with the simple press of the left trigger, pick up a piece of the floor or a wall and hurl it towards an unsuspecting foe. It doesn't sound like much, but it's a really fulfilling experience when you grab a piece of the flooring and launch it across the room.

And that's really all that sets Cellfactor apart from the dozens of other Unreal and Quake clones on the PC. Except, this game's really fun. There's a short single-player challenge mode that will give you about two hours of gameplay. Each of the classes has one tutorial level and 10 challenges, that vary from "win this round with only five lives" to something more complicated like "get ten kills without dying" or "win the match while keeping your health above 50." The challenge mode opens up customization options, including a few extra stat perks, but these bonuses hide the real reason for challenge mode: it's training for the game's multiplayer.

And that leads to the game's biggest flaw, one that's difficult to review. Because the game was released during E3, and because there was no marketing, and because it looks generic, not many people are going to give it a shot. Multiplayer shooters live and die by the size of their communities, and unfortunately, there's not much of a community for Cellfactor. I have the hopes that this game will grow by word-of-mouth until it's possible to find a game easily, but I just don't see that happening. Regardless, Cellfactor: Psychokinetic Wars is a surprisingly great arena FPS with a few added quirks that makes it worth checking out. If you can find friends to play with, that is.

Players:1-12 players

Platform(s):Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade), Playstation 3 (via PSN)

Developer:Immersion Games


ESRB:T for teen