Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games America
# of Players: 1-4
N Amer - 04/24/2007
Without even giving me a look, I can see that Ichiro doesn’t think very much of me but judging by the way he revs up his engine he’s anxious to give this gaijin a lesson in Tokyo street racing anyway. Slamming my foot on the gas peddle, I feel the car vibrate and if I’m not careful I can spin out of control and become a joke in the land of the Rising Sun’s underground street racing circuit as well as let my crew down. The Fast and the Furious for the PSP will take you, an outsider, through a career of drifting and racing for money and fame.
The preview build we received covers a lot of road and offers a taste of all the things we can expect from the portable racing game that has been released awhile back on the PlayStation 2. Inspired by the last movie in the series, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the game’s main Career Mode puts gamers in the role of a young outsider who comes to Tokyo to participate in a number of underground crew races. You’ll be guided by your only American friend who has been living in Japan for a long while and learn through him the rules of the Tokyo underground racing scene.
You start Career Mode by showing your new friend your skills out on the a strip of highway and if you win the race you’ll earn some extra cash to either buy a new ride or purchase upgrades in the tuner shop. The import scene is well represented in this game and you’ll find a number of interesting options to make your vehicle one seriously tricked-out car. You can purchase upgrades that enhance your car’s engines performance as well as install nitrous and better suspensions for better handling. In fact, the upgrades can get really elaborate to the point that you can own a car specifically retrofitted for drifting and another made for destination-based races.
Tuning fans will also enjoy that fact that you can customize your car’s appearance in a large of ways by adding a wide variety of vinyls, paint and even decorations (Pac-Man and Tekken fans will not be disappointed by the little figurines you can hang on the rear bumper). You can even go as far as having a Tekken character (like Nina Williams) or Pinky (from Pac-Man) splashed across the hood or roof of your car. The fact that you can own a number of cars to customize and tune them anyway you see fit will definitely please racing and tuner fans. There are also a large number of cars as well so expect to find everything from a Ford SVT Focus to a ‘06 Honda Civic EX 1.8.
Much like EA’s recent Need for Speed games on the PSP, The Fast and the Furious offers an open environment. This means once you’re happy with your newly customized car, you are free to explore the highways and streets looking for challenges, participating in crew races or head into a car dealership to purchase a new vehicle. There are a number of dealerships that sell everything from Nissans to Toyotas and these spots are scattered throughout the huge map. You’ll also run into other racers and like the Need for Speed games or even Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, you can flash your headlight with the D-Pad to challenge a rival to a race that will take you from Point A on the map to Point B.
The preview build offered a number of racing events gamers will be participating throughout the game. There are drifting events that, like the movie, will have you competing against rivals in what the game calls Street Sweeper. These battles require a steady hand and applying just the right throttle and are actually quite challenging. There are also Tag Run races where you hook up with another fellow crew member for a relay-like race where two racers dash down a track then race back to “tag” your teammate. You’ll also take on crew bosses like Criss who drives for the Daily Driven crew. The boss Destination Race took me through the Aqualine Bridge and there is no second race in this game.
While the preview build included a multiplayer mode fit for up to four players and three of the Career Mode’s event races, the multiplayer mode was Ad Hoc so those expecting online through Infrastructure Mode will be disappointed. The game’s visuals are not as sharp as they should be but at least the car models look great flying through Tokyo’s highways and streets. While the controls work decently, these cars handle realistically enough so if you add too much throttle your car will spin out of control.
So far, the biggest problem happens to be the frequent and lengthy load times that will hopefully be toned down when the game is released. Other than that, The Fast and the Furious is looking to be yet another entry in illegal racing genre that delivers fast and furious racing action.
Expect The Fast and the Furious to be released sometime soon.