The Con (PSP)

Electronic Gaming Monthly, December 2005:

The Con is actually two different fighting games. Arcade mode is a by-the-numbers brawler, while story mode is a game of strategic hustling and planning—decide whether to win or “throw” the round and lay bets on yourself or your opponent. Then fake the fight until all bets are in and suddenly turn the game around at the last second without the crowd noticing the dupe.

The real challenge here is not to accidentally knock out your opponent when you’re, say, actually trying to lose to him. This fusion of strategy and muscle makes for nice depth, in theory. But I found myself enjoying plain-Jane arcade and multiplayer bouts more than, you know, winning cash by having my ass kicked. Kind of an existential ego-smasher for me.

The controls are fine, if simple—a little swooping and button-mashing will find all the combos. Still, in arcade mode, each match felt weirdly short,,, with almost unbearable load times that often seemed longer than the actual matches.

The premise, however fresh, has completely thwarted by innate bloodthirsty brawler instinct. Combine that with some missteps, and you have fighting game that is ultimately, cosmically, unfulfilling.

Jenn Frank

I started writing about videogames professionally in 2005. I'm better known for my personal essays. I like vintage computer games and preservation, books, and horror games.