|System: PSP, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eutechnyx||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 24, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
May 15, 2007 - The Fast and the Furious for the PSP is largely disappointing. Technically, it's just not a great game. It doesn't look very good, and there are some technical issues such as an unsteady framerate and long loads. The game also suffers from repetition, in both the graphics and gameplay departments. There are no shortage of good racing games out there, and those good racing games have absolutely nothing to worry about concerning this game's introduction into the market place.
Loosely based on the movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, this game has little in common with the movie. Aside from a few characters' names and the fact that all of the races take place in and around Tokyo, there isn't much of a story here. It's essentially a career mode in which you take your character and try to win races to earn money to upgrade your vehicle or vehicles. It's suggested that you obtain two vehicles to accommodate the two major styles of competition: racing and drifting. It's not necessary to have two different vehicles, as you can more easily outfit one with all of the various upgrades to handle both tasks quite adequately.
Street racing is called Wangan. It takes place in the evening on the streets of Tokyo. These streets are well lit and display plenty of neon and other illuminated structures. These streets give you the opportunity to wind up your vehicle. There are some turns and traffic to keep you on your toes, but if you're looking for something that requires different skills, then drifting is your other option. Taking place on the outskirts of town on the winding, mountainous roads, these courses are referred to as touges. Here, the object is not only to stay on the road, but to drift into the hairpin turns as both a measure of style and skill. Drifting requires that you apply the brakes to your vehicle while entering a turn at top speed. Also called powersliding, this maneuver allows you to take corners quickly while maintaining your RPMs for instant acceleration upon releasing the brake.
At the outset of the game your vehicle will be too slow to take advantage of the drifting maneuvers. Even on the open streets you'll find that your vehicle is too slow to take on most crews. You can try to challenge the various crews, but for the most part it won't be your lack of skill as it will be the limitation of your vehicle. You can re-challenge crews if you so desire, and that's a good way to earn money, especially if they are easy enough to beat. Just keep winning against these losers and you'll be able to upgrade your vehicle to near professional status in record time.
Each competition isn't particularly long, but when you consider just how truncated the map of Tokyo is, four minutes is actually a decent length. Getting to different places on the map takes virtually no time. You can warp to a location, or if you prefer, you can cruise around looking for competitors. You can approach the various crews looking for a race, or you can cruise along and flash your headlights at oncoming cars as a signal to entice them into an illegal race. There are some 80 different crews and 40 different racers, with a large number of licensed Japanese cars. The upgrades are plentiful and actually do make a difference but you have to have a number of them added to reach a certain point where you can actually feel the difference. You're not going to notice anything with the first few upgrades.
Cosmetically, the vehicles can be enhanced with paint jobs, rims, spoilers, and decals. The cars look great when you first outfit them, but in the game they look pretty bad. You can't make out much detail. The paint job doesn't shine and you can't read the decals. Overall, the graphics are prone to jaggies, making it hard to judge the road in the distance. Things look fine at close range but sometimes you can't tell a cliff from a turn. It also doesn't help that the framerate is inconsistent, and that the camera shakes, in an apparent attempt to add some dramatic intensity similar to the cinemaphotography of the movie.
It's the electronic music that best fits the soundtrack. It has an authentic, hip, Oriental vibe to it. The Asian hip hop sounds contrived as does the other pap that passes for pop. The sounds of the vehicles are flat, and the delivery of the voiceovers is equally one-dimensional.
Overall, the presentation of The Fast and the Furious suffers. This is definitely an average game, and with all of the good racing games available, there's no reason to consider purchasing this one. If you enjoyed the movie, don't let this game spoil the fantasy for you.
CCC Senior Writer