Now here’s a game that hasn’t been hyped to death by its creator. Since its announcement, we’ve seen some screens pop up, maybe a trailer here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, Pursuit Force still managed to spark the interest of quite a few gamers with the promise of old-school, action-filled gameplay and slick graphics. Can it deliver on that promise?
Well, as far as graphics are concerned, it can. The many different types of verhicles in Pursuit Force all look nice and shiny, just don’t expect models that are as detailed as the ones in Burnout Legends. There’s a lot of traffic on the roads, and the levels all look very ok. In particular, the explosions and dust effects look good. There’s a bit of slowdown in some parts (mostly when on foot), but in general the framerate is steady. The loading times aren’t the shortest we’ve seen so far, but they’re doable I guess. The vehicles also sound good, but the music theme can be rather repetitive. There’s only so much fast-paced ruckus a man can take. Add some shoddy, exaggerated voice-acting to that and you’ll see why this isn’t the best sounding game around.
But, as you might have guessed from the previous paragraph, Pursuit Force fails to deliver on gameplay. In most levels, you basically drive around in a car (or on a motorcycle, or in a truck, or in a boat, etc.), chase bad guys on the speedway and blow them to bits. You can choose to lock an enemy car and fire away, but its far cooler (and more effective) to just jump on the hood of that car and eliminate its passengers. Killing foes fills a meter, that -once filled- allows you to replenish your health or make a slow-motion shootdodge towards another car, shooting the guys inside from mid-air. This is by far the coolest feature in the game, and you’ll probably use it a lot.
Of course, it’s not all about chasing crooks and shooting them, but you’ll spend most of your time doing so. Most driving missions involve reaching a certain point in a certain time, destroying a set number of cars or protecting some important bloke. It’s your standard mission fare. Luckily the developers added some other missions to diminish the feeling of repetiveness. There are some shooter-on-rails levels in which you’ll keep blasting incoming cars from a helicopter.
More inmportantly, there are some parts where you’ll cross levels on foot. The game plays like a third-person action title then, with the analog stick serving as your means of moving around (in the driving levels, you’re forced to use the D-pad). You also get a lock-on feature, which basically makes these levels a sinch.
Unfortunately: the rest of the game is frustratingly difficult. Even the first few levels can be damned hard. Just forget about getting an easy start. As if that wasn’t enough, there are no checkponts in the game. If you die, you have to start all over again. This turns the game into one big sod of trial & error -mostly error-. And seeing that most levels comprise of several parts, you must understand this can get on your nerves real fast. I for one play games to have fun, not to get all wound up because some friggin’ level beats the crap out of me twenty times in a row.
And it’s basically that last part that leads me to the conclusion that this game probably isn’t worth your time. I like some trial & error every now and then, at least if the game’s as addictive as, let’s say, Stuntman, but seeing that this really isn’t the case, it’s better to leave this one on the shelves. You’ll get a lot more anger than joy out of it and in my book, that’s not a good sign.