For those who don’t know, Pimp My Ride is probably MTV’s most popular show and one of the biggest hits on television today. Featuring the antics of the bold rapper Xzibit, Pimp My Ride is all about a bunch of crazy characters helping poor, un-hip pedestrians update their crappy cars. Whether it’s to give their rust buckets a complete paintjob, a new engine, some nice decals on the side or dump a swimming pool in the trunk, it’s a show that succeeds because of the personalities and reactions. Sure, it may come off as a tad stereotypical or even cheesy at times, but it makes for some great entertainment.
Now, I can tell you what doesn’t make for some good entertainment, and that is the Pimp My Ride video game. Seriously, when you think about the program, you’d have to wonder just what ideas could spawn for a game based on a car customization show. Could it be a car modeling simulation with some added sub-quests on the side? Perhaps a racing title with the free-roaming subjectivity found within Grand Theft Auto. Well, the answer would be a jumbled combination of the two, and let me tell you, they don’t really go together.
The title’s premise is generally borrowed from the show, involving you getting enough money saved up to trick out your ride. As you cruise around Pimp City looking for ways to make a quick buck (and yes the primary hub in the game is actually called Pimp City), you will notice that virtually every cash making scheme will involve you putting on a little show for the local street gangs. These “shows” are pretty much short, repetitive rhythm games that involve you moving the Wii-mote around and hitting buttons at a precise time. While you are strutting your stuff like a complete tool on the side of the street, the local citizens of Pimp City will shower you with coins and admiration based on your performance. Another of these short game sequences requires you to slowly drift your “pimped” ride down the street so that a bunch of screaming teenagers can show of their clichéd reactions; the more decorated your vehicle is, the more people will reward you. The mini-games throughout Pimp My Ride attempt to call themselves something different every time, but despite this they are pretty much just the same thing over and over again.
Roaming the streets isn’t the only way to put green in your pocket. No, there’s always the extremely stupid but fun method of slamming your car into other people’s vehicles. Wait, say what? Isn’t the objective of this game to make your car look more presentable? So how is it that you are rewarded with currency following a bunch of pre-planned traffic wrecks? You got me. Perhaps the people over at Eutechnyx ran out of ways to actually allow your character to make money without coming off as a Grand Theft Auto clone. Though in this case, I’d rather it was a rip-off of one of the best free-roaming action titles today. Nevertheless, after you collect enough money from your frustrated victims and adoring fans, you can head over to the store to pick up an assortment of items to add to your heap. Probably one of the few surprises Pimp My Ride gives you is the collection of off-the-wall car attachments it provides you. From disproportioned statues and absurdly bright lights to even a mechanical bull, the creators of the game were probably even laughing while they were making the game; yeah, all the way to the bank.
In an attempt to give you more to do with your car, Pimp My Ride also gives you a rival to see who can “pimp” the best ride by the end of a certain time period. After you visit a new house, go through the annoyingly loud reactions, and grab a new set of keys, you will be timed on just how quickly you can put together the best vehicle. The necessity of actually racing against the clock would normally give a player more of an incentive to complete the arduous task of improving the look of their ride, if the way you went about it wasn’t so mind-numbingly tedious. Whether it’s dancing to the same Xzibit track over and over again or ramming the front end of your car into another, the gameplay moments in this game are so tediously boring and pointless that one can’t help but shake their head. Seriously, who over at Activision’s studios thought that turning Pimp My Ride into a video game would be a good idea? Why did they decide to take a video game that was such a dud and decide to release a version on the Wii nearly a year and a half later? Only one reason comes to mind, and it’s money. At least it didn’t require them to wreck their cars.
In all honesty, Pimp My Ride probably wouldn’t have turned out so bad if the locale, Pimp City, wasn’t so boring and restricted. Every building is indiscernible from the others with the exception of the handful of “key” places you are forced to visit, which include the music shop, car garage, and the next unsuspecting, unfortunate visitor that the virtual folks over at Pimp My Ride will be paying a visit to. Based on your progress in the game, the title even restricts you from traveling anywhere else in the city, forcing you to occasionally bump into the ever annoying invisible barrier. Note to game developers: if I see some terrain off into the distance, I’d like to be able to go over there. Exploration is an important aspect in a game like this, and it’s quite obvious that the creators of this mess didn’t know what to do with it. The game doesn’t even feature licensed vehicles, which would have been a huge improvement, but then what’s the point when there aren’t even any racing elements. Hey, I’ve got a fantastic idea for a new video game. Let’s call it “Pimp My Game,” where the main emphasis is improving abysmally awful titles into works of art.
Sadly, what isn’t art are Pimp My Ride’s visuals, which look like a direct port of the PlayStation 2 version. Collision detection is poor, and there aren’t even impact effects after you crash into an unsuspecting pedestrian. To make matters worse, the game occasionally locks up, which of course forced me to reset the console. Given the time they had to work on this particular version of their game, it is surprising that there are still some technical defects with it.
Probably the one nod that one could give to Pimp My Ride is its musical tracks, which aren’t half bad. The only detriment with the audio is that there isn’t much variety, and the same song will loop continuously every time you give each mini-game a go. If you really want to fully take advantage of what they were going for, I’m sure that Xzibit has a few downloadable tracks on his web page – subliminal advertising for the win.
Looking at the big picture, the primary issue with Pimp My Ride on the Wii is that it wasn’t built from the ground up on it. For those who have their hands deep in the pockets of the gaming realm, it was common knowledge that Pimp My Ride came out on the PlayStation2, PSP, and the Xbox360 back in 2006 and 2007, along the way getting negative reviews and even some “worst game of the year” awards from an assortment of publications. Thus, it probably wasn’t the brightest idea to port this over to the Wii. Not only have no changes been made to the gameplay since its release nearly two years ago, but the newly reformatted control scheme just feels unnecessary. Controlling your clunker with the Wii-mote feels overly loose and unresponsive and any other use for the controller just involves shaking the Wii-mote up and down throughout the title’s tediously boring mini-games. You can paint a piece of charcoal with gold paint but that doesn’t mean that it’s gold. All in all, just wait for Grand Theft Auto IV if you really want a game where you can “pimp your ride.” It’s unfortunate, but I’ll probably never look at the television show the same way again; I wonder what else is on.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 1.8 Graphics
Visuals look on par with the PlayStation 2 version and the lack of licensed cars makes for some drab looking vehicles. City looks bland and repetitive. 1.9 Control
Controls feel a tad unresponsive at times, and the use of the Wii-mote is practically pointless aside from a few mini-games; wasn’t built from the ground up on the Wii. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound tracks aren’t poor, it’s just that there are so few of them. Voice acting is hilariously bad though, which makes for a couple of laughs. 1.2
No multiplayer, no online swapping of vehicles and some of the most boring objectives I’ve ever seen in a video game. It goes without saying, but stay away from this “game” at all costs.
1.5 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.