Review by BloodGod65

"A Whole Lot of Stupid Packed Into One Tiny UMD"

Have you ever seen a movie so ridiculous that you had to wonder if the writers were doing it on purpose or were really just that stupid? I have played plenty of games that were outright bad in my time but I don't think I've ever come across something that feels like a trashy, made for TV movie as much as this one. And in the case of Pursuit Force, much like those aforementioned movies, your tolerance for stupidity will play a major role in how much enjoyment you can squeeze from it.

It starts with one of the most dunderheaded plots ever devised by man… or even ape, I daresay. Several gangs have gotten out of hand and are wreaking havoc all across the city. In true B-movie form, the inept local police force can do nothing to stop them, leading to the creation of a hyper-specialized government task force known as the Pursuit Force. And what does all their training allow them to do what cannot be done by regular cops? Drive really fast and jump onto cars!

While it doesn't really need to be said – surely that summary infers plenty about the quality of the game and its designers – I just can't keep myself from pointing out that the whole thing feels like a concept that was devised by using a group of over-caffeinated kindergartners as a focus group. But as bad as it is the story is little more than a thin excuse for the equally goofy gameplay.

With the concept being what it is it should come as no surprise that the actual gameplay doesn't consist of much more than driving and jumping. Each mission places the player in a vehicle on a long and winding linear path with a set of trite objectives to complete. In some you'll have to just get rid of the gang vehicles, others have you escorting other vehicles (gag!) and there are even a few vehicular boss fights sprinkled in for good measure. However the game attempts to mask its own repetitive and shallow nature by changing the type of vehicle you'll drive. Some have you driving cars, others have you piloting boats and during the missions you can commandeer other vehicles.

The driving itself isn't anything special and is generally sub-par and unimpressive. However the controls for wheeled vehicles are significantly better than for the waterborne rides, but regardless of what you are driving, they are always less than optimal. In addition the nature of the courses is such that powersliding through ninety-degree turns is an essential skill and yet doing this is hit or miss at best.

The other crucial portion, jumping, is handled very simply. When an enemy vehicle gets close enough you press a button and your agent crawls out of his vehicle and leaps onto another. Once there he will have to dispatch the drivers by mashing the right trigger until they die or your finger seizes up. After the driver, and in most cases, his ride-along buddy are dead, the agent jumps inside and takes off again. There are a few twists but nothing that makes the game any more complicated or engaging. For instance, taking over a vehicle will get you a stronger weapon. Taking over vehicles and killing enemies also fills a meter at the bottom of the screen. When full, the agent will jump in slow motion and gain the ability to shoot while in the air which speeds up the boring “shoot the driver” sequences.

In the areas where the game tries to shake things up it goes from being mediocre to painful. Certain areas take the agent out of the vehicle and make the player endure on-foot segments. Here the player must shoot or capture enemies before getting killed. The targeting, even though it is semi-manual, is terrible and the cover mechanic basically consists of crouching behind objects and hoping the game's hit detection doesn't fritz out and let bullets pass through solid objects (but it does so on a regular basis).

Pursuit Force doesn't look particularly good either. While vehicle and character models are decent, the actual environments look pretty bland. Though there are several types of terrain ranging from urban cityscapes to snowy tundra to desert, it all ends up looking similar because the levels are structured the same. The player drives down a narrow road walled in on both sides by some terrain specific objects (such as buildings, trees and rock). There isn't any reason to take the PSP off mute either. The characters spout off an endless stream of inane one-liners and most are such perfectly rendered action movie cliches that it's almost painful to hear and I just won't even go into the borderline racist characters.

I don't have any doubt that the developers of Pursuit Force meant for this game to be some sort of campy joke; I just don't think they realized when the joke was this stupid, nobody was going to laugh. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe getting the game to retail and having people buy it was the punch line all along, as in – “Ha, ha! You bought our really crappy game!”. But somehow I doubt it. With a concept verging on infantile and gameplay mechanics that can barely be described as “average” there's nothing I can say other than that some games are just destined to be worthless.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 02/11/10

Game Release: Pursuit Force (US, 03/07/06)

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