The Port Process – Part 1| Jamestown+

We live in an era where games continually earn a reason to port themselves over to newer consoles, usually with a touch-up of graphics and a shiny shelf of DLC you probably already purchased for $120. Needless to say, it’s an era of hypocrisy; players hate upon the games they don’t want, and praise the ones they do. However, that’s not what this series is about; far from it, actually. Today, I’m going to compare two versions of games: The original source game and the latest version that got a port.

The rules of this series are as follows:

  • Multi-console releases are not ports, so we won’t discuss the differences between, say, the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. However, the release of Grand Theft Auto V on PS4 and Xbox One after its initial release on Xbox 360 and PS3 is a port, and can be discussed.
  • The port in question has to be relatively close to the original source game, any change to the content that makes the core concept different from the original is not a port. (For instance, making a shooter into a strategy game.)
  • This is a comparison, not a review. Odds are that we’ve done a review of this game somewhere in our history and as such, we have no need to review the same game over again and add two or three paragraphs. (This has happened before, and I consider my GTAV on PS4 review rather subpar.)

 

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Game is played in “Perfect Pixel” mode, causing this black box around it.

  •  Jamestown: The Legend of the Lost Colony
    Original Release: June 8th, 2011
    Original Price: $9.99; DLC, $2.99 (Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot)
    Jamestown+ Release: March 17th, 2015
    Jamestown+ Price: $11.99; DLC, $1.99 (Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot); Complete, $13.99

Jamestown: The Legend of the Lost Colony is a top-down shoot-’em-up from Final Form Games. It rose in popularity very quickly due to its concept of being a couch co-op game and also being incredibly challenging due to it breaking into the bullet hell subgenre of shmups. The game released in 2012 on Steam exclusively for PC and Mac and only ever released a single DLC that added more ships to the game. Three years later, it was announced that Jamestown+ would release on the PS4 exclusively as a part of Sony’s Spring Fever lineup of indie releases. Naturally, I bought it. Jamestown is a phenomenal game and it did praise extra missions and ships in the Jamestown+ version, so how does it hold up?

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I don’t know why that thumbnail popped up there.

We’re looking for three things in this version of Jamestown: Smooth gameplay, diverse playing options, and clean pixel-based graphics. As it stands, this game expands upon all of those and puts a shiny little bow on top of it. So first things first; Jamestown, in my opinion, should be considered a danmaku shooter (or “bullet hell,” as we call it in the West). At starting difficulties, the amount of bullets you dodge are minimal and akin to shoot-’em-ups. At the hardest difficulties, well…

Shoot blindly, dodge accordingly.

So how does the gameplay fare in comparison to the original game? Extremely well, actually. Between console and PC, both have miniscule input delay, no input loss, and most importantly, runs consistently at a solid 60FPS. Both games have the “Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot” DLC, though the Jamestown+ version is cheaper to contrast with the price of Jamestown+. Why is Jamestown+ more expensive, though?

First, Jamestown+ adds two new levels to the game that are set on the moons of Mars (this is because Jamestown is set on Mars). Both take the opportunity of being both unique and even more detailed than the base game’s missions; new enemies and bosses, improved graphics, improved sound quality, and so on. The base levels themselves also got a touch-up, but what’s most important is that these new missions, like the base game, unlock new ships for you to play with, and these ships are incredible.

To divert a little bit, the only DLC that released is called “Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot.” This DLC added four new ships, each unique from the base four ships; and one of these is called “Fortune.” This ship randomly chooses from the four base ships and the three set DLC ships. Jamestown+ adds four more on top of that, called “Armada” ships.

Armada ships are amazing; you have four ships, Lazar, Grenadoe, Crystal, and Fate. Fate, naturally, is the Fortune for Armada, since Fortune won’t factor in the Armada set; the three other ships, however, are remixed versions of the eight original ships. “How is that? Aren’t there only three ships?” Well, my inner thoughts, each of those ships has two types, totaling six ship types in total. On top of that, you can unlock six shot types, making the Armada set have 36 potential combinations in all.

These can, of course, be used in all of the seven story missions, along with the Challenges and Gauntlet modes. The Challenges have another set, bringing the total of challenges to 20. As for Gauntlet, which is a game mode where you play every single level in a row with the same credit restrictions as if you were playing a single mission (2 extra credits, or nine lives). The original Gauntlet mode made you play the first five missions, and in Jamestown+, they added Super Gauntlet, which makes you play all seven missions.

Along with that, the developers kept in everything that made Jamestown a fantastic couch game. Four player co-op, multiple difficulties including the danmaku-inspired Judgment difficulty,  online leaderboards (with separate categories for 1-4 player games), and addictive, challenging gameplay. Final Form added 5.1 surround sound to the game, along with a fine polish of sharp pixel graphics. The graphics themselves are gorgeous; this is especially apparent with the new levels, which almost have a Metal Slug-inspired style to them that I just love so much.

 

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It’s probably because of the giant, mutant, battle-equipped crabs. Although that’s probably just some kind of coincidence.

Just like any review on this site, Port Process is about finding out if this game is worth your time. So my final judgment call is an absolute yes. Jamestown+ is what a port should be; the original game you know and love with additional content made specifically for the fans. More ships, more levels, and more Jamestown. Not to mention, the game itself is at a fair price for its content, and the single DLC it does have isn’t necessary to enjoy the game, but is really nice to have just for more gameplay options.

Sure, it doesn’t have online co-op, but it doesn’t need it; it’s an amazing game as it is. You can buy the original Jamestown on Steam through Windows, Mac, and Linux. At the time of this review, Jamestown+ is only available on PS4.

 [Video of Jamestown+ Armada ships embedded from the Playstation article.]

Written by: Tyler Busler

I'm an adept gamer with 15+ years of experience in the best and worst of gaming history. I've always believed that gameplay is the most important part of a video game in most instances. My favorite games are Super Mario 3D World, Journey, Yoshi's Island, Paper Mario, and Dust: An Elysian Tail.