|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Activision||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 26, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
As the PS2 continues to pulse with life, publishers are finding a few surviving licenses to populate the system with. After a poor showing in 2006, MTVs Pimp My Ride takes another shot at being a worthwhile, video game extension for fans of the popular TV series. Moving away from the Grand Theft Auto-inspired, open-world approach of the first game, Pimp My Ride: Street Racing offers a more simplified package fans are sure to have a good time with.
This latest game is a straight-up street racer modeled after Need For Speed. Theres no open-world environment, no real hub, and no Xzibit. Truly, Street Racing does little to pay tribute to the license, though its still a surprisingly satisfying racer. The games main shortcoming is that its a single-player experience only. Even for a budget title such as this, the omission of a multiplayer mode is a feature that is sorely missed.
That said, the single-player offering is fairly robust, and the number of tracks, as well as the variety amongst them, is impressive. There are also a ton of unlockables, including new vehicles, parts, materials, performance-enhancing add-ons, and loads of ridiculously over-the-top vanity pieces for your front end. All those goodies arent just for show, either. As you race and earn medals, youll accumulate scrilla (mark this as the first game to let you become a scrillionaire) the games form of currency which allows you to unlock additional items to further pimp your ride.
Though theres a quick-race option, Street Racings main attraction is its Championship mode. There are several courses, each made up of three standard races and one special event. Youll unlock additional courses by placing in races, and each track offers optional challenges, such as taking no damage or nabbing each scrilla coin on the track. Completing challenges will earn extra scrilla, allowing you to unlock new items that can increase the Pimp Level of your vehicle; the more pimp your ride is, the more scrilla youll earn at the end of each race.
The game plays off of a simple formula of winning races and earning scrilla in order to unlock new items, courses and cars, and then going back into the menu to either switch over to a newly unlocked vehicle or further pimping out the ride youre currently using. It works. Theres an undeniably addictive quality to going back in to tinker with your ride, upping the Pimp Level or vehicle attributes, such as acceleration, top speed, handling, and braking. Youll also earn trophies, and there seems to be no end to the pimp goodies youll unlock along the way.
There are two main things that make the whole process enjoyable: the cars handle really well, and the variety, in terms of track design and aesthetics, is quite hefty. Though youll be running through a ton of cityscapes, youll never feel like youre racing down the same old streets. Each track has a fairly unique design, and the motifs match up surprisingly well. Youll race in France, England, and of course, the streets of Californ-I.A.
The vehicles themselves a variety of trucks and cherried-out cars all handle in unique ways but with an arcade feel and simple control design that is easy to get into and satisfying in long stints. You can opt to shift manually, and it works just fine, but the automatic transmission makes for a straightforward, two-button set-up that gives you great control over your vehicle while your attention is on high-speed turns and hitting boost power-ups.