PSP REVIEW: PURSUIT FORCE

It's just a short drive, a jump to the left...and to the right...and shoot....and jump...but it's insane fun. by Darwin C.

June 9, 2006 - Simplicity is often missing in today's video games. Game controllers have more buttons, which translates into developers creating uses for them which results in some games being overly difficult to control. Back in the day when arcades ruled the gaming world, games had a couple of buttons [with the exception of Defender] and that's all you needed to lose yourself for hours in the seediest area of town.

Bigbig's Pursuit Force takes me right back to the games I used to play with my dad and older brother in Pirate's Paradise, the local arcade at the mall. Chase H.Q., APB, Roadblasters...these games were all about chasing down crooks with your souped up wheels and either ramming them to a fiery and horrible death or shooting them until they exploded. Hell yeah! Pursuit Force for the PSP is one such animal. It's not hard to learn, it doesn't feature a million buttons and the action is completely over-the-top, right along with the hilarious characters you'll be hunting down. Your character is a rookie cop in Capital City and apparently the only one on payroll besides the Chief, as he's the only dude in town who gets called for these dangerous missions. You've got 5 nasty gangs to drag kicking and screaming to justice and they're as insane as the rest of the game. In a good way!

The gameplay remains unchanged for most of the game and follows this sequence - chase down a gang member, jump to his/her vehicle, avoid bullets as they shoot at you on the outside, don't fall off when they try and shake you off, jump through the window and start shooting them at point blank range. Once they're incapacitated, take their wheels and attempt to nab the rest of them before they manage to make it to the city limits or some other determined point of no return. Things do change up every so often with new vehicles to play with such as motorcycles and boats, on-rails shooting levels and the occassional onfoot missions, but for the most part you'll be speeding along the open road, looking for trouble.

Sure that sounds a little repetitive and boring, but I assure you, it's just the way I'm telling it. Pursuit Force is a whole heckuva lot of arcady-crazy fun although it does suffer from some really hard missions and the odd pang of deja vu. The PSP was made for a game like this. The visuals are really bright and crisp and the frame rate doesn't suffer at all. Or at least, that I really noticed. The sense of speed is awesome and so is the sense of fun; leaping from one vehicle to another is such an action-hero staple that I'm surprised it hasn't really been done until now. The missions are generally over fairly quickly, aside from a few really tough ones you'll run into. This makes the pick up and play aspect of Pursuit Force perfect for the PSP. There were a lot of P's in that last sentence in case you didn't notice. Since the the game has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, you'll come up against a few familiar missions yanked directly from the annals of pop culture. The replay value of PF is actually quite high since you'll want to go back and attempt to achieve higher ranks to unlock some handy cheats such as sticky feet so you can't be thrown off cars and invincibility.

Controlling the automobiles in PF is generally a breeze, but the boats and motorcycles really annoyed me at times, since the motorcycles seem bulkier to control at times than the cars and the boats are sluggish and have a much more restricted turning radius. I don't know why Bigbig felt it necessary to toss in an ounce of realism, when everything else is so loosey-goosey. While you're driving you can shoot at other vehicles which takes a bit of getting used to, but isn't hard to master. Once you get your butt on the opponents car, you'll be able to dodge bullets (?!) and attack offensively, while attempting to hang on with the use of the d-pad.

Everything in terms of graphics gets a Grade A. The vehicles are boss, the backgrounds are detailed an look great and the character animation and design is fantastic. Some of it is pure cheese in terms of seriousness, but it's supposed to be like that. The voice-acting is not only well done but completely hilarious - as everything is overacted and dramatic, yet totally funny.

If you're ever pissed at the main mode and want to relax a bit, try the Time Trial and Race Mode, neither of which are particularly deep but are a decent time waster. The Time Trial is exactly what you'd think - haul ass before the timer runs out. Race mode involves racing towards a finish line because of some thinly veiled excuse to do so. These modes are fun, but nothing to get excited about. Unfortunately there are no multiplayer modes whatsoever which would have been cool.

Pursuit Force comes off as though it is the type of game we'd be playing if true 3D gaming had never been conceived and it succeeds for the most part. There are some bumps along the way, but nothing that leads to that much frustration that you'll want to hurl your PSP out the window. It's the perfect game to pick up and play here and there and has enough replay value, that you'll want to go back and earn higher rankings to unlock those cool cheats. Just like our rookie cop, take a leap of faith and pursue Pursuit Force today!

Features:

  • Unique mechanic of being able to jump between vehicles on land, water and air. Fight on vehicles, dodge bullets as you hang on at speeds over 150mph. Shoot vehicles whilst driving using a variety of weapons.
  • Huge variety of vehicles to control: Cars, bikes, SUV's, jeeps, buses and speed boats. Plus- control the Police Heliocopters cannon (alternative mode).
  • Over 30 missions set in 5 distinctly themed enviornments, each with unique gameplay elements, plus extra game modes focussing on the core elements of the game.
  • Each mission in the game has a unique theme and mixture of up to 6 different mission types: Collect, Kill, Chase, Follow, Helicopter and On foot.

By Darwin C.
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
Pursuit Force (PSP)
4.8
Graphics
Great visuals on the PSP! Animation, character design, vehicles, environments and overall presentation is top notch!
4.0
Control
The cars are great, on foot is cool, but boats and cycles leave a little bit to be desired.
5.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It's all great stuff. Some of the whackiest dialogue, but with great delivery. Cool tunes!
4.2
Play Value
Great replay value and lots of missions, but no multiplayer. Boo hiss!
4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
 
System: PSP
Dev: Bigbig
Pub: Sony
Release: May 2006
Players: 1
Review by Darwin

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best