|System: PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eutechnyx||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Released: oct 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Cole||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Underground street racing which you was glorified in games such as the Midnight Club series has lost some of its sheen over the years. Its not from lack of trying on the developers part as I cant even imagine what could be added to freshen up the genre. While the perfect illegal racing game has yet to be created, thats not the Holy Grail that were all waiting for. Fans of the genre have played enough versions of this style of games to the extent that theyve experience the best of all worlds, albeit from a variety of different games. Having all of that in one game would be great but it wouldnt shatter the world.
The Fast and the Furious is based on the movie (actually based on the recent Tokyo Drift) but doesnt emulate it. It tries very hard to be the best that it can be but what we see is just more of the good stuff, in other words: an increase in quantity. While the quality isnt bad, it wasnt the focus of the developers. Fans of the genre will enjoy all the licensed vehicles and the myriad of upgrades. I suspect that the average gamer will show some interest in the racing aspect but hesitate to tackle the intricacies of customizing and tweaking vehicles. In this way The Fast and the Furious can function as an arcade-style game with optional user-friendly controls that will help you shift and drift your way around the city streets and mountainous roadways.
You start the game out with what could be best described as a beater, when compared to the superior cars that you can get your hands on later. Its difficult to get it to perform properly since it doesnt have the speed, steering, traction, acceleration and suspension that you require to execute drifting a move which comprises a huge part of the gameplay. It can be rather discouraging for newbies to start off at such a disadvantage so the developers put in the option of a semi-automatic transmission as well as a kind of lock-on drifting system that lets you skid around corners like a seasoned vet. This is an essential skill that you will need to enhance in order to win. Winning is everything in this game. You will need it to obtain money which you can use to visit the showrooms to purchase new cars or upgrades for vehicles in your collection.
As a newbie you may want to turn off the auto-assists when you get finally your hands on a fully modified vehicle. Virtually everything can be upgraded from the tires to the engine. You can also make cosmetic changes to the colors, paint, body styles and decals. All the cars are licensed so they dont take on any damage which is a bit of a disappointment in the multi-player mode as the worst that you can do to another player is nudge them and cause them to spin out of control.
The map is huge and you can drive virtually anywhere you want. Theres not much to do but look around since you have to enter into a race if you want some action. There are 70 Tokyo crew members with more than 40 racers to take on. There are two main racing styles: Wangan and Touge. Wangan is for the speedster that likes to put the pedal to the metal while Touge is for the driver that wants to exert more control and finesse over his vehicle while racing down dangerously winding roads with incredibly sharp turns. While there are similarities to the two racing styles, but if you want to specialize in either you will have to hone different skills and implement the appropriate upgrades for your vehicles. It may be a bit much for the average gamer to attempt but this amounts to a lot of replay value for the fanatic.
There are some framerate issues that keep the game from getting up to speed literally. There are some hiccups that threaten to stop the game in its tracks. Its just doesnt feel as fast as it should, at least at first but you do get used to it. Graphically the environments and the vehicles are virtually photo-realistic. The cars are bright and shiny, as they reflect the sun during the day and the neon lights in the evening. They have a good sense of weight with tight and responsive controls. The music is average and the voiceacting and dialog tries so hard to be cool that it borders on camp.
F&F isnt the worlds greatest street racer, nor is it the worst. Obviously geared for the same demographic who gobbled up the movie, this one will probably satiate their lust for speed on the small screen while racing purists will turn their noses up at it simply due to the license. F&F is fun, popcorn entertainment, exactly what it intended to be.
CCC Senior Writer