Review

Wreckless

Lets you be exactly what it says on the tin...
Activision’s Xbox driving debut is certainly one that proud new-owners of a green and black baby will want to be showing-off, if only for the stunningly realised cartoon style metropolis that positively bursts from the screen in 3D glory. Sadly, the game is not without its faults, and some of them are a little annoying… But firstly the positive: the graphics. Stunning. The crowded streets are a joy to behold – the stylisation very original. The scenery is diverse, too, and pretty much everything can be destroyed in some way. The game can be mind-bendingly addictive too, the frenetic pace of tearing through the crowded commuter-streets reminding me a little of the excellent Midtown Madness. The enemy driver AI is above-par as well, and this can be impressively challenging and unpredictable, as those you pursue try all manner of surprisingly ‘human’-like tricks to evade the clatter of your bumper. It sadly goes a bit wrong somewhere along the way, however. Firstly, the story that the game surrounds is utterly awful – something about a bad guy taking over the city’s police force, or something. Anyway, the narrative is terribly uninspired, and doesn’t exactly offer you much chance of immersion into the world and the game’s plot. The all-important car-handling is also something of a downer. Of course it’s an arcade game, and therefore doesn’t necessarily require handling of Geoff Crammond proportions, however to pivot the cars steering from the centre is downright weird, not to mention that the car has no notable momentum or sense of mass it all. Generally speaking it feels rather too ‘weird’. Wreckless Phew. I’m glad I got those grievances of my chest, as fortunately all is not lost. For the actual playing of Wreckless can be rather fun despite these annoying flaws. Admittedly the missions generally involve chasing the directing arrow towards your enemy, whom you’ll then attempt to ‘destroy’ by repeatedly bumping them, or knocking them off the road, however it can be a damned good laugh. Not only that but the vivid visual style is very engrossing, and it can be a lot of fun just speeding around the city avoiding the numerous traffic and obstacles in your way. The scale of it is impressive. So do the pros outweigh the cons, and when push comes to shove is Wreckless a decent driving game? Well yes, it is – but only just. The graphics are nice, the enemy AI amusingly realistic, the action fast and light-hearted. The car handling is however not quite so fun, and in many respects (such as the story) Wreckless borrows heavily from many other games of the genre. It is however still quite fun; and certainly well-suited to occasional quick fixes of fun, rather than hour after hour of driving obsession. A fun but flawed…
70%
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