|System: X360, Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eutechnyx||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision Value||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov.21, 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: T||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Pimp My Ride will certainly take you for a ride, but not a joyride.
Whereas the show, Pimp My Ride, may be fun, the game is not. It gets close in the presentation but it fails miserably where it counts, in the gameplay. It seems this title is in need of a little overhauling itself. Perhaps we could get the developers to spend a few more weeks upgrading this. We could call it Pimp My Game.
MTV's successful Pimp My Ride series is a show that features customized vehicles. But these aren't your off-the-shelf customizations. Some of these vehicles are so over-the-top I wouldn't want to be seen driving one in a parade. It seems to me there are two camps that watch the show: Those that treat it like a traffic accident and can't look away, and those that really think these customizations are cool. There's certainly a level of appreciation that needs to be directed at the imagination and skills of the customizers, but some of these cars are just downright tacky, and not necessarily cool. I was kind of hoping that I might be able to recreate The Homer with this game (the car that Homer Simpson invented that ruined his brother's company). But you're not given carte blanche with the customizing options.
The first annoyance is the repetitiveness of the gameplay. In each stage, you are to customize a vehicle for a particular customer. This results in running around the virtual town looking for parts from the suppliers. When you have purchased everything that you need, and lots that you don't need, you will be awarded a score that hopefully will be good enough to allow you to move on. Then you can repeat the process. The repetition is interrupted by some mini-games and some racing that isn't much fun at all, especially after the second or third time. These elements sure aren't any more entertaining after the 10th or 20th time. Then there is the driving physics. It's as though all of the customizing has affected the steering mechanics of these vehicles. They over-steer and are constantly hitting things. Any kid under the age of 16 is likely to be so traumatized that he or she will probably never want to attempt to drive a car in real life. Add to this no multiplayer components, very little replay value, and the occasionally game crash. Still interested?
Xzibit can't save this game even though his appearance is a sight for sore eyes and ears. His attitude and snide comments are captured well as he provides his own voiceover work, but the voiceovers of the other characters are incredibly bad, especially the girls. Most of the guys just sound like they're on depressants but the girls are so overly exuberant that they sound like anime characters on caffeine pills, but even more annoying if that's possible.
To earn money to begin customizing a vehicle you will have to partake in a few mini-games. One requires that you attend a ghost riding session. Here you press a sequence of buttons to a hip hop track much like in a rhythm game, except you don't need any rhythm, just quick reflexes. Your character gets out and dances to the beat. Yes, it's embarrassing all right. You'll also notice that each time you play this mini-game you'll hear the same old hip hop beat over and over. You can also get money by damaging your vehicle by hitting things. Don't ask me why you would get money for this. Considering how easy it is to hit things due to the faulty steering controls, you're going to get rich quickly. Getting into accidents is the rule, not the exception. There isn't any damage modeling, which in this case may be a good thing because there would be little left of the vehicle to customize.
Another way that you can earn money is to impress the kids on the street. Drive by slowly and press some buttons to make the kids go crazy and you'll earn more money. Once you have enough cash to customize your customer's vehicle, a cutscene will appear featuring Xzibit as he trash talks the client's vehicle and then promises to deliver something they will never forget. At this time, you enter into a competition against a rival customizer. You have a couple of minutes to race through Pimp City and purchase all of the parts that you can get your hands on before the competition does. The game takes into account the expense of these parts so it's important to purchase the most expensive parts that you can.
The real downfall of the game is that you're limited to the parts that you can purchase and use for each vehicle. You aren't given any real freedom in this game to customize a vehicle. Instead, you're sent out as a gopher to pick up parts that seem like they were preordered by your boss - although you have a little say in the overall design and color. There are those that probably think this would be a great game based on the fact that they could really let their imaginations soar and create some incredible mobile cribs. Such is not the case and that may be a huge disappointment for many. I know it was for me. Imagine being able to trade customized vehicles with your friends online that you could not only drive, but customize even further. Well, keep dreaming. As it is, this game doesn't even feature a simple multiplayer race mode.
Driving through Pimp City isn't made any easier by the arrow indicator that is notoriously hard to read, and often you won't be able to discern the entrances to the various shops. There are various "hoods" that you'll be allowed to drive in, but you don't have the freedom of the entire city during any individual stage. Racing from shop to shop requires some skill but once again you're limited to how much you can compensate for the steering and the scenery that pops up out of nowhere. Graphically, the cars look good, even when they start out as junkers. You don't really get to fully appreciate all of the features that they are endowed with, but you get to enjoy the paint job and any extraneous exterior objects such as rims, spoilers, and golden toilet seats. The city is drab and generic looking, with plenty of aliasing to give you the impression of a budget title.
Tunes from Xzibit's latest CD are featured and manage to bring some street cred to the soundtrack. But, as I mentioned, not even Xzibit can save this game. So save your money. Watch the show for free on MTV and buy Xzibit's new CD if you must spend your cash.
CCC Senior Writer