I had heard many great things about Criterion’s early arcade racers so when EA surprised us all with a remaster of the PS3 instalment, I jumped at the chance to finally try my hand at racing around Paradise City. I was curious to discover if the remaster lived up to the reputation built over the PS2 era and continued in the PS3 era.
The game throws you immediately into the craziness of its world with Axl Rose screeching out Paradise City over the loading screen. This sets the stage for a game full of high octane insanity, promising much, but ultimately ending up as a one note game filled with speed and crashes.
Once you get past the loading screen you are immediately dropped into a muscle car, completely damaged and tasked with finding a garage to fix it. This is the first mechanic that is not tuned and thus fails to live up to its potential. Fixing your car is a simple matter of driving through the garage, pit penalty style, and your vehicle is wondrously fixed. Modern arcade racers make a slight concession to reality by having you accumulate in game currency which you have to spend to repair your vehicle.
That leads to the second undeveloped issue with this game – the lack of any tuner or upgrade options for your vehicle. Quite simply the game forgoes any idea of off-track depth to get you into the action immediately. This is great for a quick race - a short drag race to kill time between more in depth games - but as a mechanic it is unlikely to keep players, serious racers and those looking for fun, engaged for any length of time.
Race events themselves take place in the open world of Paradise City. You wander around the city finding events at each robot. The events range from a simple race from Point A to Point B, to the Marked Man event which adds a survival caveat to a race as other players try to wreck you three times. Then there are Take-downs, where you are tasked with wrecking a number of vehicles. These events, and the others, are fun at first, but soon become rote as they are too easy for at least half the game while you are racing on the Learner and D and C licenses. Once you attain the B and A licenses the difficulty spikes as timers and other measures are added to the events.
The game artificially increases the difficulty but allows you to complete the same races on each license. The video below shows a race where I crashed, putting me in last place and yet I still manage to win the race. The other video has me take a wrong turn drive about a mile away from the finish and yet again somehow win the race.
Grumpy Old Man who still collects toys (THEY. ARE. NOT. DOLLS), PC Gamer lured to the Dark Side of console gaming, comic book reader and fan of all things pop culture.
Please login to post comments.
EA DICE, Criterion Games
16 March 2018
Latest ReviewsBrowse All Reviews