Full Auto is the first of a new batch of Xbox360 games but I hope, and am pretty sure of it, that the others will be much better than the one mentioned before. Sega and Pseudo Interactive have tried to combine arcade racing with shooting, but didn’t have enough inspiration to offer more than just this basic setup.
The concept is childishly simple: you get a cool car under your butt and on the hood there’s two machine guns. Cars and guns, the ultimate combination for any male between 2 and 222 you would think. Unfortunately it doesn’t come to that ultimate wet dream you might hope for. Even the additional, and so-said most renewing, gameplay element can’t help much. Like in Prince of Persia you can turn back time. You get a meter and once that’s full you just have to push the bumper button and through a goodlooking graphical effect a piece of the road is being rewinded.
A very fun idea that allows you to erase made mistakes, but I hardly ever used it. first of all there’s little creative to be done with it, and secondly you don’t REALLY need it as reasons for using it only sporadically appear. You try it out for fun or use it because you’re stuck somewhere. But once you’re used to the tracks you’ll hardly ever make big mistakes so its use is minimal.
You’ll mostly do the races in the career mode. This consists, a bit like in PGR, out of different races that you gradually unlock, each having their own objective. By successfully ending your missions (and roll over the finishline in time) you can’t only get “semi-auto” and “full auto” medals but also unlock new cars. There aren’t official models but they do look very alike real cars. Also stronger weaponry is obtained in the same way so soon enough you’ll be having fun with rocket launchers and smoke grenades.
The types of races consist out of variations on doing rounds or trajectories, “the last one is fucked”, and blast missions in which you need to get rid of several opponents with your weapons. Also here the similarity with Project Gotham Racing’s structure gets noticed but don’t expect the high accessibility and challenging and intense gameplay you know from those games. In the end you only have to drive and at the same time shoot, something that gets very repetitive after a while. Despite the many explosions, crashes and visual effects, there’s little excitement to experience.
The other options, including a secundary mode in which you can finish an own race, bring little new under the sun. Also the online part, a requirement for any X360 game these days, doesn’t manage to fire you up. As said, it’s a requirement and this game really treats it as such as standard stuff like leaderboards and such are not available and you even have to miss the time manipulation when going online.
Graphically there’s little bad to say but it doesn’t really feel next-gen. The explosions, interaction with surroundings and traffic, the visual effects, cars, … everything looks nice but doesn’t really splash off the screen and lacks a lot of soul. The same goes for the overall presentation and the sound. The latter is very average and at no time adds anything to your playing experience. The main technical problem with the presentation however, is the (sometimes véry) low framerate that completely kills any feeling of speed and therefore takes a lot of the fun out of the game.
Full Auto is in my opinion a game without soul, one that can’t offer a memorable experience and on top of that suffers of a bad framerate. Add to that the lack of variation and depth it can offer and then you know this title is only for the hardest of hardcore fans of the genre. For all other gamers there are better choices on the Xbox360