Pursuit Force ReviewCain Dornan
The Playstation Portable has launched with quite a solid lineup of racing titles. Everything from the drifting extravaganza that is Ridge Racer, through to the nitros-filled high speed action found in EAs Burnout Legends and the colourful futuristic racer that Wipeout Pure offered. While each game was certainly a worthwhile experience in their own right, the differentiation between each title isnt too large. Each game requires players to race from Point A to Point B with little variation in-between, which quickly becomes tiring with the limited unoriginality offered. Bigbig Studios has taken it upon their creative backs to bring a somewhat unique action/racer to the PSP, offering gamers the opportunity to experience a satisfying blend of racing and action that sets it apart from many other games on the market, although, it does come with its fair share of problems.
Pursuit Force pits players into the role of a cop who is a member of the renowned Pursuit Force; a team of skilled, specially trained officers tasked with preventing hardened criminals from taken advantage of the public roads. Crime rates have sky rocketed within and around the city, resulting in regular thefts, plenty of deaths and many citizens living in fear. In order to combat the problem, the government has set-up the Pursuit Force team who offer a variety of different skills that your every day officer could only dream of jumping from vehicle to vehicle at fast speeds, spraying bullets into enemy vehicles and throwing their limp dead bodies from the drivers seat. Essentially, youre much like a member of the SWAT team however, your main focus is on the roads and waterways with fast moving vehicles, rather than on-foot in buildings.
You will spend the majority of the game in or on top of fast moving vehicles. The aim of the game is to prevent criminals from succeeding in their devious deeds, which range from armed hold-up getaways through to re-capturing escaped convicts and protecting suspects from other criminals. The inclusion of various different vehicles, which include sporty coupes and Jeeps through to motorbikes and boats aid in offering a collection of varied gameplay, which accompanies the variety of different tasks and missions that you will take part in.
Offering an interesting mix of different criminals is the inclusion of several different gangs, each offering unique attributes that the other criminal organizations do not offer. The Warlords, for example, focus solely on the theft of military-related material, such as nuclear waste or deadly weapons. This gang is heavily armored and often travel in military vehicles such as Hummers. The Convicts, on the other hand, are slightly more ruthless and un-organized, preferring to travel in dodgy home made vehicles and second grade weapons. The Vixens, who are devilish females equipped with the latest technology, focus heavily on armed thefts of money. The Capellis replicate the classic US Mafia, with the Tommy Gun being their preferred weapon of choice and travel in Italian-styled vehicles. To top it off, the big Don has reign over the organized crime group, with the group members often making smart remarks in regards to the much-famed figure. Finally, the Killer 66 gang consists of members with an Asian background who are skilled in the area of martial arts making them a challenging and deadly group.
Although the majority of the missions involve driving or jumping onto vehicles, there are also small sections that involve on-foot ventures. These usually involve simple gunfights that require you to dispose of all criminals within the area.
Each group offers a range of different missions that differ according to the group involved. The missions that involve the Capelli gang, for example, include such missions as protecting snitches from the angry claws of the Dons henchmen. The Convicts gang, on the other hand, feature un-organized missions such as the random terrorization of citizens. The inclusion of the gangs is certainly a positive inclusion, as it aids in adding a significant amount of variation with each mission.
In addition to the standard missions, Pursuit Force offers two other modes that add a solid amount of additional gameplay life. The Race mode, for example, involves a number of different events that require you to race to a set location under a variety of different conditions, such as taking the helm of a toxic waste vehicle and beating the police to the finishing line. Although these racing events are not as well constructed as other racers available on the PSP, the mode does offer a pleasing alternative to the games usual criminal busting gameplay. There is also a Time Trial mode, which basically involves racing from point to point in an attempt to achieve the best time possible.
Visually, Pursuit Force offers pleasing visuals that become particularly impressive during the games cutscenes. In-game visuals are also well detailed, however, a number of small graphical problems result in the regular flickering of environments that can occasionally distract from the overall experience. Character animation is generally good, with characters cleanly moving from within vehicles to take shots at you when you are approaching them. A solid collection of voice acting complements the games satisfying visuals.
While the game does suffer from graphical problems and some repetitive gameplay issues, Pursuit Force is an overall solid experience that manages to successfully combine racing and action elements to create a game that is unique in some aspects. With the recent lack of any solid releases to hit the PSP, Pursuit Force is a potentially worthwhile purchase to fill the gap until the next bundle of solid releases hits Sonys handheld system.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.