Review by nennafir

"Good and innovative, but unpolished, game"

Summary: An innovative game that captures the "Mad Max" feel very well.

I. Graphics:
8/10 Outside of town, driving
4/10 Inside of town

Graphics are a mixed bag. For the record, I have a top-of-the-line computer, and had all settings max'd and was running in 1900x1200 resolution.

The ones when you are driving around outside aren't too bad. The cars are pretty basic, but you can color them how you like and put add-ons like scoops/spoilers/etc. Much of the world looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but that it what it is supposed to look like. There are also snow areas, and water. The graphics in this part of the game do the job, but are by no means outstanding and nothing left me going "Wow!" like it has in other games. 8/10 for this portion.

The in-town graphics are inexcusably bad. They are worse than bottom-of-the-barrel PS1 games from 1995. This is not an exaggeration. There are very few polygons that make up your character, and you look very blocky and ugly. It gets even worse when you move, as there are very few animation frames and the lack of polygons that make up your character mean that weird gaps and bulges appear all over the place when you move. Think of some very poorly animated zombie that shuffles along. That is your character. 4/10 for this portion.

II. Audio
6/10

The audio isn't that bad. The music is sort of techno-ish and fits the post-apocalyptic theme. Car sounds are okay, but not what you'd expect if this were a real driving simulation. That is, there is limited engine sound and some noise when you accelerate, but not all of the purring/rumbling/break-squealing that you'd want in an actual driving game.

III. Controls
7/10

Not too bad. There aren't as many options to configure them as there should be, but there are some. For a game that screams out to be played with a joystick, the joystick options are kind of lacking. You can assign a joystick key to brake, but not one to bounce/jump. You can assign basic maneuvering options to the joystick, but not as much as you'd like. Yes, you could create a macro, put in on your hotbar, and access it through there with the joystick, but this is a little awkward and means you won't have a dedicated button for that option but instead will have to scroll through things while in the heat of the action.

IV. Gameplay
8/10

The high point of the game. Much here is pretty innovative.

A. You can equip front weapons and melee weapons on your car, in addition to the turret weapons and rear-firing weapons. The turret weapons auto aim, but if you want really to blast someone with your front and/or melee-weapons as well, you have to face in the correct direction. In other words, you have tgo aim to hit. This adds some skill to the game, and is a real welcome addition.

B. Quests are pretty good. They are the standard sorts of fetch-this, kill-that quests, but there are a surprisingly large number of them. There are some gaps here and there where you have to grind (which is very painful as mobs don't give much xp) but overall this part is well done.

C. There is no death penalty and you can (Guild Wars style) teleport to any town you have already visited by calling INC. This means that you should play pretty aggressively, as you have nothing to lose.

D. Parties (called convoys) are a little awkward here. There isn't really a common quest interface, where the leader of the party can select the quest and then it will show up on everyone's screen with waypoints. There also aren't quests that scale to the number of people in the convoy. It could use a little of the City of Heroes/Villains quest system I think.

E. Crafting is pretty nice and innovative. You repair broken equipment to make new equipment. But you can also experiment to try to create something new, and can reverse engineer working equipment into broken equipment.

V. Concluding note:
I posted something like this in the "Suggestion Box" part of the forum at www.autoassault.com and it was deleted. This doesn't bode well for the game, as my review is not entirely negative, and it never hurts to be open to a little constructive criticism. It is overall a good game, but has some unpolished aspects. The in-town portion of the game needs some MAJOR work, and the quest system needs some filling out, but otherwise much is very nice.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/04/06


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