Project Sylpheed is a space combat shooter in a similar vein to the Wing Commander or X-Wing series. It has a loose connection to the vertical scrolling "Silpheed" series of shooters but though it is set in the same sci-fi world it is for the most part a very different style of shooting game perspective being from behind you space craft in a full 3D free roaming game environment. It can in effect be classed as "space simulation" game though it is light on the simulation and heavy on the blasting action.
In this game you take on the role of combat test pilot flying a new kind of prototype spacecraft. Your craft is equipped with four weapons in total including a slew of lock-on missiles and a laser blaster mounted on the nose.
Between each successful mission you will get to modify and upgrade your craft and fit new weapon systems and this allows for a great deal of personal customization which adds a great deal of appeal to the game. The customizations are in effect your in game reward for the completion of each level and serves as a good motivator to keep on playing as the gameplay itself can a little samey.
Each level of the game gives you mission to complete, normally this is to kill every enemy on the screen but you do get the occasional escort mission. You will fight alongside your squad members who will provide dialogue throughout the action. Expect to do much of the hard work yourself as your squad members are fairly useless. You do however get to command your wingmen to attack certain targets but this is about as effective as just leaving them to do their thing, as in not very effective at all.
In addition to being able to command your squad mates you have a couple of special abilities to use should you find yourself in a tight spot. These include the ability to slow time, release all your weapons in a devastating salvo and the ability to ram other ships though this will take down your shields. There are a number of other fighting optional manoeuvres and automatic assists but none of these are particularly useful full manual control being all you really need. The radar and HUD displays are very difficult to use effectively so much of the time you will find yourself flying by the seat of your pants.
Graphics are neat and clean the game runs at a smooth frame rate, there is a lot of colourful vapour trails and explosive and weapon effects making for quite a visual display. Other than this the visuals, environments and space craft look a little generic with nothing that particular stands out.
Music is somewhat bland and forgettable which is disappointing for a game made by Square. Sound effects are fairly stock and trade and what you will hear much of the time is beep of your targeting lock-on. Voice acting however is somewhat competent and the characters do have a lot of life and enthusiasm, wooden acting having the potential to ruin a games atmosphere so this one of the high points of the audio.
The craft controls pretty well and you can customise your scheme to your preference. Some functions of your craft are activated with same buttons on your pad which can take getting used to at first but overall the game mechanics are very competent and nothing particularly hinders the action.
The story is fairly typical anime or Gundam Wing fare with the space crafts being piloted by some very young kids with spiky punk hairstyles straight out of a game of Final Fantasy but then this is somewhat to be expected in a game from Square. Nonetheless the story does a good enough job of moving the action along through it's cut scenes and in game dialogue.
While the game does have a few areas where it could have been improved upon and it could have done with a little more polish it is a competent space combat/simulation game and if you're a fan of this genre you ought to get a good 12 or so hours of play out of it through to completion. Once completed there is little to keep you coming back other than to attain any achievements you may have missed if you're a completist. The game is fairly cheap to buy now so generally worth the price but if you're unsure it's best to try it out the marketplace demo first to see if it is your cup of tea.
Project Sylpheed is a game that is not known by many. In fact you'd be hard pressed to find it even in the bargain bins.
The reason being the game was very poorly advertised and the whole space shooter scene has been done in so many arcade style ways, that project sylpheed decided to go ahead and repeat pretty much everything.
It's a game that has a lot of flashy colors, lots of shouting and "OMG I R BEING SHOTEDED!" followed by what could only be described as half the galaxy being blown up.
Nah, i'm joking, no way they could get half the galaxy blown apart like that. But the whole game feels like it's just trying to get you hyped without really pointing you in the right direction.
The moving around the map is a nightmare as they only have a flat XY map and you're flying in 3D space, so if you're flying straight up or down *but you feel like you're flying horizontally due to the camera angle*, you don't see the little ship that is you move on the map. Then you have to twist and turn until you kinda start moving where you need to be.
As well as that, the objectives given to you halfway isn't very easy to follow up on.
"YOU, PROTECT OUR CAPITAL SHIP!"
"Where's our capital ship?"
"... DON'T LET IT GET DESTROYED!"
I'll just fly around fighting the enemy until one of my allies ships gets blown up across the map and wouldn't you know it, I was to protect that one!
The weapons are pretty neat, the squad system of being able to tell your co-pilots to support or cover you really make a difference.
The story is pretty cliche without much variation from what we have grown to expect.
If you DO find it in the bargain bin, it IS worth a try, so go for it.
The Legendary Faerie returns to the skies... Project Sylpheed takes you centuries into the future where you customize and pilot amazing starships, battle swarms of enemy fighters, and enjoy stellar visuals.