Last month I was pleasantly surprised with Gaijin Entertainment’s effort to tackle Burnout with Anarchy: Rush Hour. Well they’re off starting fights with the big boys again, stepping into Blur’s and Split/Second’s territory. Admittedly this game started off life on the PC and predates the newcomers.
So it’s a car-combat racing game with destructible environments set in the future. The tracks tear through the crumbling remains of (our modern day) versions of London, Bangkok, New York, Moscow, Prague and so on. The first thing you notice is how good the game looks for a PSN title. Although a little rough, there’s a lot of detail built into each track. They bristle with colour and run at a smooth frame-rate. It’s certainly a better looker than Anarchy. There are lots of branching routes and even short-cuts to unlock. Pretty impressive design overall.
Many buildings can be shot down as you race. To be honest I never saw one do any damage to another racer as they were supposed to. It would seem they’re only worth your precious ammo if you want the points bonus that goes with the debris. A good idea poorly executed.
Weapons come preloaded with your car instead of kart-racer-style pickups. The four face buttons attack with defensive (mines), light (gatling gun), heavy (rockets) and missile trap weapons. You can unlock more weapons to swap around and they do the job relatively well, with opposition cars not taking forever to explode.
The problems arise from the stingy amounts of ammo you get. Sure you can grab more as pickups on the track, but the bastards are constantly moving and the twitchy car handling does its best to make sure you miss them. The auto-targeting seems to think it’s a great idea to change to a different car just as your about to finish another one off too. You can manually flick through them on a loop, but someone else usually bags them while you’re trying to do this with the d-pad and steer with the left stick at the same time.
Boosting and ramps with stunt jumps try and add some variety but it’s nothing you haven’t had better everywhere else. It’s a shame that the sense of fun and extreme speed that flowed throughAnarchy’s veins is missing here.
Some of the tracks are way too long. The first race in the scenario mode takes 8 minutes for a two lap race. I thought I’d broken the game and it was going to go on forever. Oh the Scenario mode, ha ha, oh my. Simple races are separated by strange lo-res cutscenes and live-action newscasts detailing the story of racers dying mysteriously after each race. It’s super-weird, with lots of glittery PVC wearing characters and underground car parks.
There are single race, championship, drag and challenge modes too. The challenges are a let-down, with a few harsh point challenges, targeted takedowns, time attacks and avoiding getting blown up for a whole race.
The missing multiplayer was one of the main reasons the PC version got such a kicking. Split-screen is intact here which may provide some brief fun if you avoid the longer tracks. There’s even an online mode, complete with completely barren servers.
- Track design is varied
- Not a bad looking game
- Split-screen multiplayer
- Out of ammo again?!
- Destructible environments completely ineffective
- Auto-targeting mocks you
The Short Version: Can’t afford Blur or Split/Second this month? You better save up then or buyAnarchy: Rush Hour instead. A tiresome lack of ammo, clumsy combat and a dull Scenario mode means you won’t have much fun with this.