|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Isopod Labs||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision Blizzard||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Sticking issues aren't relegated to only the combat. On several occasions you'll notice your vehicle wedged on a hill or embankment, unable to continue forward. You eventually get unstuck, but it takes several seconds. If that weird kind of geometry error isn't throwing you for a loop, the sound effects might literally do that. During one play session Torque's sedan tires started to squeal, an expected result from rubber hitting the pavement. Only one problem: they didn't stop for the entire level. Even when the car was completely stopped, the sound effect lingered. Also, some sound effects are flat-out omitted. When you drive through a fence you hear a predictable crash sound, but sometimes when your car is flipping over-and-over you won't hear a single effect, almost as if the car is stuck in an audio vacuum, unable to communicate what's going on.
Single-player's main mode is The Quest. Each of the eight characters compete in three arena battles in locations like the Hoover Dam or a ski resort, and if they come out victorious, then they get a new color for their car a little bit of an underwhelming reward. The Quest mode is essentially there to serve as a proving ground for the multiplayer, as most of the other single-player modes are customizable skirmishes. Free Wheelin' an enemy-free mode where you search for alien artifacts is shallow and resembles more of an excuse for achievement hunting than an actual gameplay type.
Multiplayer, with its split-screen deathmatch and co-op options, as well as Xbox LIVE potential, should be a great boon for the game. Racing and firing off weaponry with up to seven friends is somewhat fun, but the same problems from single-player control issues and combat problems carry over. It also doesn't help that the online community (as of the time of this review) is very, very small. Many requests for quick and even custom matches will return with a no games found response, forcing you to continually search or start your own game and hope that eager players stumble upon it.
Nostalgia-stricken fans of the original might be able to look past Vigilante 8's deficiencies and find some fun to be had, but those unfamiliar with the aged gameplay won't be won over by the slicker presentation. Vigilante 8 is a throwback in the purest sense: it's so concerned with preserving aspects of the original that it forgets to question if there was anything wrong with them in the first place.
CCC Freelance Writer