Review by wolverinefan
Graphics aren't everything
Fatal Inertia was a game that came and went and no one cared. The reviews it did get were low, few stores carried it and no where had it to rent. However an on-line rental service had it and I gave the game a spin. Is it worth finding a copy though?
In the 22nd century some company does something or other. It has a very vague and pointless plot. I don't remember it and its all text based anyway.
Graphically this game looks really good. The tracks are imaginative if not a bit limited. The water effects are great. However the ships look horrible and the mild customization of the vehicles really doesn't make them look any better.
Sound in the game is pretty good. The zing of weapons or the explosion of another craft. It all sounds good. The music has a rock techno sound and it works for the game but some songs are a bit too low, making a race feel a little less exciting.
Control in the game is not very intuitive. I actually had to do the tutorial to figure the controls out. You move with the left analog stick. A is gas and X is brake. Y will reset you on the course. Now you can tilt left or right using the L and R triggers. It works well. Firing a weapon is done via the R bumper. The problem is that you quickly learn that you need to shake off weapons or they will damage you. I had no clue how to do this and no button combinations worked. It's actually a double tap of either trigger and you'll go into a barrel roll which spins you out of control and most likely into a wall.
The game has quick race and a tournament section. There are different themed races but I have no idea what the difference is except elimination has the last person in each lap get knocked out. The other I have no clue about.
The main idea is to finish in first but you get magnets and rockets and stuff to fire into your opponents. An interesting idea but it's just really boring and some power ups are too strong. There is one that stops all vehicles that get near it. This can cause you to spin out of control and miss a check point.
Unlike more recent racers this one has a check point system. You need to go through the little loops and if you miss you'll need to go back. This is a pain because some aren't aligned very well and feel like they are placed in a way to just be difficult.
The tracks themselves tend to be rather short. Some are a very tiny circle while others feel a tad too long. I do like the look of the tracks though.
My biggest problem is the way you need to handle your vehicle. It will constantly rub against the ground so you need to keep it up. This is easy enough but a few tracks have very steep hills and no matter what I'd do I would always end up in last. I can't figure out how to go up them as fast as the other guys. I even tried the badly implemented speed boost but that usually stalled my vehicle.
The game does offer some customization but to get new parts and stuff you'll need to get 1st in the cups. It's fairly simple to do as the AI is far from great but in the later parts of the game it can get a bit hairy.
Besides the single player there are a few on-line modes. You can play split screen. You can play over LAN or you can play on Xbox Live. It seems like very few people play on Live as I only met one person and the race ended quickly (within 20 seconds) due to my ship blowing up because I had no idea how to roll.
It's not that fatal inertia is a terrible game. Its fun for what it is and it looks nice. The problem is that there are many minor flaws that affect the bigger picture and the awkward controls and the poorly implemented checkpoint system really bring the game down. Maybe a cult hit at some point but right now this game isn't worth the dough or the time.
Story - 3/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Control - 7/10
Game Play - 5/10
Replay value - 5/10
Final Score - 5/10
Product Release: Fatal Inertia (US, 09/11/07)
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