Review by Captain Toenail
"More of That Unrealistic Racing Garbage You Know and Love From EA."
Okay, Electronic Arts may be the biggest 3rd-party developer for a reason, but, to me, this game obviously isn't it. I'm gonna start the review by saying that I love cars in all forms, and racing games are my favorite. I heard many good things from some of my "gamer" friends about this so-called racing game so I figured that I'd pick this up. Turns out that, after playing Need For Speed Underground (I'll call it NFSU through the review), my opinion about this game was completely different from the others. Let's get started:
THIS is it? First off, the graphics in this game play a main role in keeping the game pseudo-interesting. When you're driving, the entire screen is blurry, and even moreso when you hit your nitrous. This graphical touch is quite a pain, affects your viewing distance within the game, and could possibly be the reason you hit that trolley. Another feature of the game is the glossy reflection mapping on the street. It looks cool, but it's always there. There are no weather effects, clear images, nice textures, OR dry roads. EA made the game seem like "wild racers" only come out after a nice rain has made the streets undrivable above 85 mph. Racing also gets quirky and weird but quick stops in gameplay can affect your 'racing experience." Well, I guess there's not much that can be done with the bottom-of-the-barrel hardware that is the PS2. More on this later.
Gameplay? What, you were expecting a game? That's too bad. The entire game is comprised of about 111 races, about 5 different types, such as Drift, circuit, sprint, drag, etc. Unfortunately, all the races are just rehashes of the last race type you ran, with some different opponents. As for the tracks, if you're looking for variety, you're reading about the wrong game. The courses take place in the SAME city, on the SAME glossy streets, in the SAME weather, in the SAME areas you've already seen in the last few races. As for the car selection, it's almost TOO standard. There are lots of Japanese imports, but extremely few American and European cars. Where's the love? In another game, I guess. Cars are very unbalanced, and the only really good cars are the ones you don't have yet. Customization saves the gameplay from a one. There's lots of crap to stick on your car, like vinyls, neon lights, rims, body kits. Unfortunately, it's all cosmetic and takes no factors such as weight into consideration. And, the supposed "name-brand" parts you can outfit your car with don't do any justice over any others. Keep in mind that you're gonna be unlocking every single part and cosmetic feature in the game, now.
The game starts easy, with a quick learning curve. Then, after a few races, it fluctuates wildly from waaay too hard to waaay too easy. After about 73 races (if you're into playing the same crap you have been for the past 72 races) the game becomes nearly impossible due to the out-of-whack customization and car selection. If you love your VW Golf or Dodge Neon, you're screwed now. You're pretty much forced to switch cars about now (to a Skyline, Impreza, or Eclipse, most likely). So much for the high-end parts you've been buying. The saving grace here is that all your parts transfer over to the car you choose (yes, even the bodywork, which is pretty much the same for every car).
...Wow. You're a racer trying to become the best. Where have I heard this before...? Oh yeah! Everywhere.
Decent soundtrack, but way too heavy on the rap. Thankfully, you can turn off some of the songs. Rob Zombie saves this category (for me, anyway).
A crappy racing experience that's meant to be missed! If you're gonna buy or rent it, try another console, like the Xbox. The PS2 version is obviously the most inferior graphically and overall in the flow of the game. That concludes my review.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 05/24/05
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