Hands-onWreckless: The Yakuza Missions PS2

We check out the PlayStation 2 version of the Xbox vehicular action game.

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Activision recently popped by with a very early build of Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions for the PlayStation 2. Released earlier this year for the Xbox, Wreckless is a mission-based action game that puts you behind the wheel of a car as the police or the Yakuza. The Xbox version featured arcade-style gameplay and impressive visuals that offered quite a bit of Xbox-specific special effects. When the game was announced for the PS2 a few months ago, there was a fair amount of skepticism as to whether or not Sony's hardware could do justice to the game. While still very early, the PS2 build of the game we saw showed quite a bit of promise and seemed to be well on its way to re-creating the Xbox version.

The PS2 conversion of Wreckless is being developed by UK-based Stealth Studios, and the developer is not content with simply porting the Xbox game to the PS2. All the content from the Xbox version will be on hand, but, responding to feedback on the original Wreckless, Stealth Studios will also be adding a few new features. You'll now find 40 single-player missions, 28 two-player head-to-head missions, more cars, secondary missions that will unlock cheats in the game, improved handling, and a free-roaming mode that will let you explore the cities without having to worry about a timer. In addition, you'll now find that you'll be able to mow down pedestrians with impunity. The game's control was still being tightened but still leaned toward the arcade feel of its Xbox cousin.

In terms of the game's graphics, the early build of the game we played let us check out the game's first police mission and try some two-player missions in the same city. At the moment, the game's lighting hasn't been implemented, but the graphics engine seems to be coming along quite well. The city has been re-created faithfully, complete with much of the detail and interactivity seen in the Xbox game. We were able to break through buildings and background elements such as dividers and street lamps with little trouble. The city also appeared to be as expansive as the one seen in the Xbox game, which is a pretty impressive feat. A pleasingly large number of pedestrians roamed the streets and dutifully bounced off our hood as we tore through the streets. The police's funny bug car lacked some of the finer detail on the body and engine but did include dynamic models of the driver and passenger that reacted to our driving and looked good overall. The game's lighting and special effects, which were still being implemented, had been scaled back quite a bit from the Xbox version but were coming along. We were also rewarded with particle effects during some collisions and flashes during explosions. In spite of their slightly rough appearance, the effects in the game were looking pretty good and definitely have us curious to see how they turn out.

Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions is set to ship this fall for the PlayStation 2. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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