When I was looking at some of the E3 coverage of the 360 before it came out I was very excited over a twisted-metal-style racing title called Full Auto. So was everyone else - as this game had a lot of hype in the days before its Valentine’s Day launch. Does it deliver to all the hype? Not even close. Is it a total waste of money - well it’s not quite that either.The basics are that you have guns (some forward mounted, some you can aim, some rear-mounted) and you race through a city as a cross between say Burnout and Twisted Metal. The emphasis is usually on winning the race, and getting blown up will respawn you with a few seconds that you now have to catch up.
As you race, you can destroy the city - buildings, phone booths, other traffic on the road, bus stops, and telephone poles - are all destructible. With destruction comes points that are applied to make your Unwreck meter fill up. This unwreck feature acts like a rewind button as seen in Prince of Persia - Sands of Time. You can use this rewind to save yourself from missing a turn, or from being blown up or what have you.
As you move around in the level, doing jumps, power slides, or other car acrobatics it will give you points that are applied to your boost rating. Boost is just like afterburner in the Burnout series. It’s a quick nitro boost (which in my opinion lasts a little too briefly, and doesn’t make you go fast enough) to get you back into the race when you were losing.
You can customize the color, skin, and weapon layout of the cars. There are several types of weapons, my favorite layout being missiles on the front, and mines in the back. The cars, despite having different ratings in speed, durability, handling, etc, just don’t feel unique enough. If you take the fastest car and slowest car, you will notice the difference, but taking a fast car that handles ok, vs. a great handling car which has ok speed - there wasn’t really any different strategy to racing.
This mishmash of gimmicks feels just that - like a mishmash of gimmicks that’s not balanced as well as it needs to be. You can avoid all the big wrecks, and due to the vast amount of destruction you can cause with your car, you will rarely be at a loss for rewind power. It just makes the game a little too easy.
The meat of the single player game is career mode. You race through different races trying to beat certain goals such as kill X rivals, or come in Xth place, or get X amount of destruction points. You get metals, and unlock new cars, tracks, car colors, etc. This got boring really fast. I don’t expect much of a story, but in these types of games, they are fun enough where the story didn’t matter, this game just didn’t have “it”. I didn’t want to play it, I wasn’t drawn to it.
The graphics are decent enough. The cars are slightly too shiny, but aside from that the environments looked decent, from what you can tell of them while racing past at 100 miles an hour. Explosions look like explosions, with fire, splintering wood, car parts and various other bits of death raining down after something is destroyed.
The big deal with all this “pretty” is that the frame rate is horrible. In single player races I had slowdown as I would blow up anything big - such as a gasoline tanker truck. In multiplayer races, any lag that you would have is amplified by the drop in frame rate as not only you, but 7 other guys race, blow up buildings, and ram each other into explosive trucks.
The sounds are ok, they are meaty in their bassy destruction, the default guitar-riff inspired techno-metal gives you a hard-core feeling - I guess that’s what they were going for with this one. I didn’t find myself put off by the sound effects, or lack thereof, so that’s always a good thing.
The achievements seem decently balanced. You will get a bunch of 10-25 pointers within the first few hours of game play, but the developers did a good job in making them varied, and plentiful so that they gained both offline, as well as online.
Online play was pretty lag free, and they fully take advantage of Xbox live, as far as friend reserved slots, and showing the icon of the person currently talking. This should be standard stuff that I mention and move on, but with the recent games NOT doing this basic online functionality I wanted to give some points here in this regard as the proper (and standard) way that things should be done on Xbox live.
I just wish Full Auto, with all its hype, and with all its racing destruction, was fun. It got very boring after only a few hours. The online play didn’t save it. The graphics didn’t save it. It’s shallow, and repetitive. The slowdown is also inexcusable. Stick with Burnout Revenge for your next-gen racing destruction.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.