|System: X360, PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Koei||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Koei||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Other interesting weapons include the grappling hook, which allows you to turn corners on a dime. You can also hook it on to another craft ahead of you and use their inertia to pull you past them like a slingshot. Similar to "bullet time," the Time Dilator slows down your opponents, temporarily allowing you to maneuver past them at full speed. It can be really useful to get you out of a sticky situation. Smoke bombs can be launched like missiles at vehicles in front of you, causing them to veer off course and let you grab the lead by the time the smoke clears. A boost blast will give you a surge of speed and at the same time produce a shockwave that will push back the vehicles trailing you. The other power-ups may be standard issue, such as speed bursts and armor, but they still come in handy.
Each craft is totally customizable. There are four basic classes of crafts to choose from. You begin with the core model and add the various components such as engine, wings, armor, weapons systems, nose, tail, and cockpit design to name a few. The configurable options are almost infinite. I'm not convinced there are any discernible subtleties, meaning your craft would not feel much different if you just changed the tail, but the overall blend of components makes the difference. Craft (not again!) can be fast and agile, but at the expense of resilience. Conversely, heavily armored vehicles are cumbersome and slow, but they can carry a big payload.crafts
The usual array of modes are available including tutorial, single-player career, quick race, and online multiplayer. Sub-modes let you play with different gameplay options such as turning on and off weapon power-ups. The Velocity mode is all about speed. There are no weapons, just speed boosts. Up to eight players can take part in the online mode. In fact, all the offline modes can be played online, but keep in mind they are all just variations of the same theme. There is even an online, split-screen career mode. I didn't encounter any lag or slowdown. Getting into a quick race was as easy as clicking on a link. The controls are solid and responsive, perfect for beginners. The general lack of top end speed adds considerably more control, although the developers still took advantage of the perceived speed to skimp on scenery detail by blurring it a bit too much.
The cutscenes are impressive. The in-game graphics are good, but not nearly as good as the cutscenes. There is a good sense of depth, which ensures you will want to stay on the track when crossing the mountains. The weather conditions include rain, wind, and snow, and can make the tracks slippery. The futuristic vehicles are nicely detailed and stand in sharp contrast to the natural environments. Musically, the game is weak. The tunes are generic techno-rock, which gives a more ambient feel to the game. If you're looking for the music to inspire you, crank up your own tunes. The sound effects are average and seldom vary. We've heard this all before.
Fatal Inertia EX is reminiscent of a top-shelf, budget-priced kart racer. It doesn't pretend to be more, and that I can live with. At thirty bucks, the price is right for a PS3 game, but if you're not really into futuristic racing games with an arcade feel, you might want to let this one pass you by.
CCC Senior Writer