GDC 2014: Cel Damage HD Preview (PS4/PS3/Vita)

March 25, 2014Written by Dan Oravasaari

Cel Damage HD

In 2001, when the car combat genre was much bigger than it is now, a game called Cel Damage released for the original Xbox. Now, over 10 years later, the people at Finish Line Games are bringing it back as a cross-buy HD remake for the PS4, PS3 and Vita.

Looking incredibly polished for a game that was released two generations ago, Cel Damage HD sports an uprezzed cel shading visual styling, mixed with a cartoon car combat look that hasn’t been represented in a long time. It also contains more than enough content to keep gamers busy with its 4-player split-screen, over 30 weapons, 10 playable characters (4 of which are unlockable), 13 different arena styled maps and 3 different modes – Smack Attack (deathmatch), Flag Rally (capture the flag) and Gate Relay (race). Sadly, there are no online multiplayer options or leaderboards at the moment, but if the game does well, Finish Line Games will consider adding them in later.

Running at 1080p and 60 frames-per-second, Cel Damage HD on the PS4 ran and played incredibly well during my hands-on time with the game. Driving around an arena, shooting at each other, grabbing a mallet pick-up to squish an opponent and trying to shake off Finish Line Game’s PR guy from blowing me up instantly transformed me back to the days of yore. A time when gaming was about sitting next to friends, complexity wasn’t about how much you could pack into a game’s sales pitch and the time difference between being a champion and getting your butt kicked was only a few minutes.

Cel Damage HD 2

Fans of the car combat genre, or fans of the original title should know that even though a great deal of the original content remains, there have been a few adjustments made to make things better. Trophies have been added, but there will not be a platinum. Cross-save will allow gamers to easily switch between playing on the Vita and a console, so that they can continue to unlock stuff or simply mess around. The game’s AI has been modified to adapt dynamically, depending on how well a player is doing, so that gamers of all skill levels will find the title accessible, but not pandering.

Talking to Daniel Posner, one of the original developers behind the original release of Cel Damage and the man behind its upcoming HD release, it is obvious that this is not just a remake of an old title, but one the people at Finish Line Games are very passionate about. So, as we get closer to release, make sure to stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle for a full review of the game when it releases in April.