SCEA and Idol Minds have released another expansion to PAIN, the PSN game that first came out last year. In PAIN, the object is to launch your character from a platform into a small environment and attempt to cause as much damage to yourself and the environment as possible. This new $6 expansion pack brings players to a movie studio, complete with multiple movie sets and props. PAIN has gotten a bit of reputation by now as being the most nickel-and-dime game on the PSN, so how does this Movie Studio expansion fair?
More of the Same
Besides the new environment, the only real new feature to this Movie Studio expansion is the ability to launch from multiple sites. This feature doesn't change the way the original game or the Abusement Park expansion work, but for the Movie Studio, you're able to launch your character from three different locations by simply pressing Square or Circle before launch. These different launch points give you different views of the film studio park and allow you to make collisions and perform maneuvers you couldn't otherwise. I can understand this feature not being in the base game, although it would have been nice, but to have taken this long to include is a little surprising; that said, it does give the experience just a bit more replay value.
The Movie Studio itself is compromised of multiple sets for various movies, all knock offs of classic original movies like Star Wars, Ben Hur, and The Titanic. Green and blue screens, prop tanks, cameras, actors, and lots of hidden explosives are also yours for the slamming-in-to. All in all, this massive movie park set is pretty quiet, though – you'd think there would be at least as much movement of characters and objects as in the Abusement Park, but in fact the Movie Studio is almost barren of any activity at all. There are a handful of actors walking around, a couple of vehicles and a Ben Hur chariot prop that move, but for the most part it's actually a very barren and tranquil studio lot, and I think that takes away from some of the enjoyment of it. Had there been a lot more characters and vehicles and various things moving about, it'd have really helped.
So as most of you know, the premise is to simply cause as much damage as you can per launch. There is strategy involved in this, but with Movie Studio, I'm having a hard time really chaining together any kind of impressive sequence. The best I've done so far is score somewhere around 250,000 points when I somehow managed to take down the castle set. Unfortunately, due to the camera, I couldn't watch the action as it happened, but it definitely netted me far more points than I could hope to earn again.
Other modes include Fun With Explosives and Crate-tastic, both modes we've seen before. In Fun With Explosives, the idea is to hit as many explosive crates as possibly in three launches. The more you hit, the better your score and chance at a Trophy. Crate-tastic is all about finding and hitting various crates that are scattered around the Movie Studio. There are a total of forty crates to find and hit. I thought Crate-tastic was fun for about the first ten crates, but then it gets really hard to find the remaining crates. Launches in which you don't find a crate take off 2500 points and before you know it you feel like you're just launching yourself across this park for the heck of it.
Multiplayer modes return for local play and include a new mode called Horse. There is also a new version of the Bowling mode. Call Da Shot and others make their return, too. There is a new “Darts” mode that is listed as “Coming Soon,” you'd hope for free but with this game, you can never be quite sure.
One thing I wish would be addressed is the Ooch mode, though. I mentioned this during the Abusement Park review, but having to shake your controller every time you want to go from Ooch to Super Ooch is just really annoying and pointless. It's no coincidence that most PS3 games don't use the Sixaxis, and why PAIN insists on still using this feature when there are more than enough buttons on the controller to perform this function is curious to me.
So to sum up, this PAIN expansion nets you one new environment with its real draw being the ability to launch from multiple different points. Other than that, the environment isn't as PAIN-tastic as the Abusement Park, although I think it is more enjoyable than Downtown, but that could just be because Downtown has been played so much. Gamers will have decide for themselves if another $6 is worth this new expansion, I'm personally not so sure that it is given that it's really just more of the same with a new, not-so-great environment.