A good blast but not to be taken too seriously
mgarribaldi wrote this review on .
This plot is fairly simple and direct. You are a wheelman, that is to say a "driver", in the city of Barcelona, and it is your goal to infiltrate the underworld and to wipe out an international security threat. You achieve this by taking on various missions for various cartels and gangs which involve driving around the city very hard, very fast and very aggressively.
This can be good fun, and as you progress further into the game you unlock various abilities which allow you to, amongst other things, smash violently sideways or forwards into other cars in real-time (often with some spectacular cut-scenes), shoot at other cars in bullet-time and to spin a 180 and shoot at your pursuers in bullet-time.
These abilities are gained by successfully completing main missions, and can be enhanced by successfully completing side-missions. The side missions help to increase car strength and to unlock garages and weapons-caches. Some of them even help you to move faster through the city, so completing them whenever possible will help to make the game easier and more fun to play.
A nice concept with the side-missions is that there are four levels you can complete them at. Successfully completing a mission at any of the four levels will give you a completion bonus but the higher the level the better the bonus. If you complete a side-mission at a lower level, you can go back to it later and try for a higher one, and still get the higher reward (the map will indicate at what level you last completed the mission at so you can easily identify it later.)
Basically that is it, as far as main plot goes, there is nothing sophisticated about it so don't expect anything as deep as a GTA plot because you won't get one. The main aim of the game is to drive, and to drive hard, and to have FUN.
Because your car is a weapon it will take much longer to smash-up completely than it would if you were playing any other type of driving game. Also the handling is simplified to allow you to concentrate more on the action elements of the game.
This semi-skilled driving-combat racing game, borrows certain elements from the GTA series of games, in that you have a map with GPS and waypoint marker, a GPS radar at the bottom of the main playing area and there are fixed missions which you complete to progress through the game. But that is where the similarity ends.
Midway is a company well-known for it's arcade-style programming, and this game is definitely arcade, despite having a mission-based element. The bright colorful rounded graphics are nothing special but they are typical of an arcade-style game, and there is enough level of detail here to make the city presentable, but to the hi-resolution perfectionist it is lacking in finer detail. You have to remember that this is a fast-action, arcade style driving game, so a lot of the hi-res texturing and details have been kept reasonably low-to-mid the keep the speed of the game high. Nothing extra seems to have been added to the PC version over the console version as far as improved graphics are concerned.
Because of this you will get certain areas of the world which repeat itself and look similar but it is relatively seamless. Also because of the arcade style of the game a lot of the side missions are similar and repetitive, which seems to be a traditional inheritance of the arcade-style genre.
Finally the controls are simple. For console players you won't have a problem, but for PC players I would say that if you have a game-pad then use it! If you don't have a game-pad, or if you refuse to use one, then the keyboard is reasonably well laid out, but I could not find a way to re-map the keys. You are given two layouts to choose from and that's it. Oh, and you will have to drive left-handed because the driving controls are defaulted to the left side of the keyboard in both layouts.
Mouse control is sluggish, even on faster systems and seems to have a volumetric feel. Moving quickly will result in a slow-start turn which suddenly ends up zooming you around further than you wanted to go. This may be a result of the game having been ported over from the console version with minimal coding updates.
In summary, I would not take this game too seriously as a mission-based driving game. It is a lot of fun to play but certain elements are weaker than they could be. Don't expect a GTA clone here, but try to take the game on it's own merits and have some fun...