L. A. Rush
Free roam racing in a Pimp My Ride setting. Would LA Rush be a cash-in title surfing on the waves of the popular ghetto culture of pimps and bitches or is this record still playable in da hood? Let’s check it out bro’s. God, MTV has singlehandedly destroyed Western civilization. But let’s get to the point; LA Rush was released on the home consoles over a year ago and why in God’s name Midway decided to release a handheld version is still a bit of a mystery to me.
The story is exactly the same as in the PS2 version; you’re still a professional streetracer who is challenged to a bet with some pretty big strings attached to it and after a holiday witnesses his looted car park. Winning a streetrace without a decent car is “pimpin” hard so it is time to climb that ladder again and eventually win that bet to prove that you’re still the world’s coolest streetracer.
The missions you get to play are getting instantly repetitive and consist of noting more that driving from point to point. There are some variations but they’re not implemented enough to speak of a challenging or – even – enjoyable gameplay experience. To avoid the rather clichéd storyline, there is a cruise mode in which you can get to know LA and play a little with its Finest. The controls however are a bit dodgy and that annoyance will result in multiple unwanted crashes into oncoming traffic, walls or sidewalks.
Dodgy controls are not fun, but they don’t keep you from winning this game either. Anyone who has a bit of racing skills and has played similar games before will fly through LA Rush in no time because the level of difficulty is at an astonishing low. After making peace with the controls, you’ll find out that for a handheld console, the free roam racing experience is actually rather good; there’s a good sense of speed, a constant and high framerate and some decent graphic detail. LA Rush is by far not the worst racing game on the PSP on that aspect but it does manage to shoot its hit chances a bit down by not including a tuning aspect. Yes indeed, tuning your car in this ghetto street racing game is virtually impossible. I know it has the MTV Pimp My Ride license from West Coast Customs but after enjoying that experience, you’re still kept a bit in the dark about its effect on your ride. But with over 30 cars in the game, you will eventually find one that suits you, sir.
There is a PSP exclusive feature in LA Rush which they shouldn’t have included at all because it is completely boring and pathetic. Even knowing that you can unlock certain cars by collecting coins or that it supports multiplayer will not make this feature any more enjoyable that it already not is. In a few other modes there is the option to shoot down or drive over your opponents but it sounds more GTA than it actually is. And to end today’s lecture on the continuing negative note; there’s a hiphop soundtrack and some really bad, and I mean really bad, overacted and repetitive voice acting.
LA Rush is a title that surfs on the waves of the ghetto and Pimp My Ride hype and lifestyle. A hype that will soon end, I hope. But it doesn’t seem that way. You will be increasingly bored with this game while you unlock ‘cool’ and ‘new’ stuff and although the graphics are rather good and the racing can provide its moments of funnyness (as Stephen Colbert would say), the repetitive gameplay and the long loading times will exhaust your patience. It think it is about time for Driver PSP, Reflections, because Midway missed the ball on this one.