There are a lot of PS2 games out today, and I mean A LOT of them. For example, has anyone heard of Sky Gunner? How about Sub Rebellion or Gungriffin Blaze? I think most games could be unheard of due to them, well, being a piece of crap, like Virtual on Marz or Rygar. There are, however, some below-average games that are somewhat worthy to check out, like Haven: Call of the King for the Playstation 2. This is an odd game, but I will explain in this review my personal opinion of why this game was overlooked
The story of Haven is set on a world that is ruled by an evil tyrant known as Lord Vetch. On one of the planets known as Ferra, there is a slave on the planet who says he is hearing a voice. Vetch, of course, thinks it’s the “chosen one” and needs to find out who that person is. The person in question is known as Haven, a slave on Ferra, who keeps having the dreams of the voice, and sets off to find out who he is and what the voice means.
The game play featured here takes a lot of different elements. There is action, plat forming, vehicle riding, and puzzle solving all in one package. Your main form of attack is this small yo-yo-like weapon that has a short attack range, but can kill anything with a hit. You can also gain an energy weapon, and shoot different kinds of lasers, like ones that can ricochet, for example. In some levels, you will need to pilot a car-like dune buggy to get cogs to open a gate, and in some levels, you will need to pilot a turret gun and defend a ship or a train. You can also pilot an aircraft fighter, like in Ratchet and Clank. You can use a shield that can protect you from damage, but will deplete your shield energy if you get hit. You can also use that same energy to power-up gadgets that can do different things, like roll around in a defense ball, use it as a grind rail, make a glass shield and other things, which is cool since it gives the game variety. You can break open pots to find energy and these weird egg-things. You can also use the shield to do a ground-pound-like attack to break open specific jars that can’t be destroyed by your yo-yo-like weapon thing.
The game’s graphics look a bit like the first Jak and Daxter, and Ratchet and Clank games, so don’t get your hopes up about them, though I will say I like some of the character designs in the game since they remind me of something Tim Burton or Jim Henson would make for a Dark Crystal sequel or something. The voice work can be a little overdone or just undercooked, but I do the like the voice of the villains, which for some reason, always have a great voice actor for them. Another saving grace this game has is its epic music score. The music in the game is just amazing and it sounds like something from God of War or Conan, so this game gets a few extra points for the epic music score.
Sadly, though, this is where this game fails on so many levels. First off, the overall pacing of the game is just so dragged out and boring that I couldn’t even get past the second planet in the game. The levels and missions get very repetitious, and the pacing for each mission is just boring. The combat in the game is just as lousy as it was in the first Jak and Daxter game, only giving you a short-range weapon and no deep combat system. In fact, this game is VERY similar to Jak and Daxter, and Ratchet and Clank when they both started out. This is one of those games where it had a good budget and big hype, but sold horribly, but there is a reasonable explanation for all this. This game came out in 2002 when Ratchet and Clank was coming out, along with other games like Super Mario Sunshine, Sly Cooper, Kingdom Hearts, and Metroid Prime were coming out. So, I can see why it sold horribly due to how many big name titles were coming out. The other reason why it failed was due to its copy-and-paste plat forming and fighting from the first Jak and Daxter game. The cover art, while nice, doesn’t hide that the main character doesn’t look like the picture of him on the box. Why is that? He looks like an awesome guy on the cover, but in the game, he looks look like one of those wishing troll dolls you would get as a kid. And one final thing of why this is a poorly made clone of Jak and Daxter is that it’s so awkward to drive the vehicles in the game. I mean, let’s look at other games like Vigilante 8 Second Offense or Heavy Metal. You can control those vehicles and not one a bit of an issue with it would come up, but in Haven, the driving and flying mechanics are just clumsy and awkward, and some of the decisions, like energy weapons that drain energy, and just the whole energy-drain thing is just annoying, and I just can’t stand how some people didn’t fix that or just not implement it at all.
Haven: Call of the King is an interesting game, but ultimately forgettable. Yeah, it has great music and a villain, who sounds like a villain, but everything is just poorly made and it just ran off of the popularity that Jak and Daxter had. I would recommend checking it out, but if you see it at a store and are desperate to find this game for your collection, then I would say pick it up. I know Traveller Tales wanted to make this a series, but due to its poor sales and poor decisions, I can see why they moved onto the Lego games. Trust me, it worked really hard for this score I am about to give it.
This game gets a 4 out of 10