Review by EchidnaCat
An older Idea, revamped.
I was browsing my local civic video, looking for an interesting title to tide me over until mass effect was released, even if just for a couple days.
Fatal Inertia turned out to be the first attempt at distraction. I suspected little more than an F-zero or wipeout 2040 clone. I was pleasantly surprised.
First impressions weren't too great, as usual I decided to go through the tutorial missions just in case there was an achievement for it...and also to get a grip on the controls, since, generally that's what a tutorial is for, for those too lazy to read manuals...But I digress.
The tutorials brings about my first point, the controls. As has been said, not terribly intuitive, especially not after every racing game and their respective pet having shoulder buttons set as throttle and brake, getting used to the A-and-X combo was a little hard, but that's how racing games were played way back when, and all those hours on super mario kart and nigel mansel's racing paid off.
So I had strafe and barrel roll on my shoulder triggers, I can swing that. Primary and secondary fires on the bumpers, a rear view on 'B'...Never used. And 'y' to reset you to the track...useful...
so, I had my first race, the in-game boost took a bit of getting used to, especially since the slowdown while charging it didn't seem to be worth it in the middle of a race, but seeing others using it while revving at the start line, I followed suite. each of the craft handled differently, necessitating a different driving style for each. The controls, while a bit of a retro touch, were nicely handled.
The graphics were quite amazing, although they tend to fall apart at long-range, especially on the ice and desert tracks. magnets (your basic pickup, the most common) have a blue trail as they fly through the air, force waves explode with a warm orange ring and a ripple in the air. Each weapon looks unique in use, although being unable to see what pickup each racer had did end up with a few bad events, it added a touch of difficulty to it all.
Pummel a racer enough and eventually their vehicle (a futuristic hovercar, looking like anything from a flying wing right through to a hovering pickup truck, given enough mods) will explode in a bright blue spherical explosion, accompanied by a little cloud on your mini-map. The hud is small and unintrusive, nicely sized and containing most of the usual info...Split times and a leader board would have been helpful, but aren't terribly missed.
Gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag. The games packaging boasts '300, 000' different pieces of customisation kit, but that's one very......very large overstatement. Basically there are four vehicles, all with exactly the same amount of body 'upgrades' some of which affect performance, some which are just there to make your craft look pretty, and then there's your paint options, and finally, decals. Unfortunatley, it's only one decal per craft, which is a let down after the near limitless Forza and Juiced 2 games.
However, the racing itself gets varied and quite enjoyable. The craft handle as you'd expect them to, the light and zippy 'mercury' vehicle darting around and pulling 90-degree turns with ease, while the huge 'titan' vehicles slowly lumber and slide across the field, shrugging off whatever armaments are thrown at them. There are occasions, especially on aquatic courses, when your vehicle starts wanting to go down into the ground, and there is also the rather erratic nature of the barrel rolls...The brake-boost is a much better way to disengage hostile weapons from your craft.
The story is pretty threadbare, simply setting the stage and explaining the sport of the FI circuit. Basically, by the 23rd century, four coporations (mercury, pheonix, aurora, and titan) control almost everything, and to help pacify the masses, they hold several extreme and dangerous sports, the FI circuit being the biggest one, and you're a racer in it.
I found the game quite enjoyable, although like many games being released recently, there is just not enough single player content. I would suggest as a rent, unless you really enjoy the racing provided within the game.
story: 2/10 Not terribly imaginative, but just cyberpunk enough to get me revved.
graphics: 7/10 well put together for racing purpouses. Although the craft are a little stereotypical. Nice weapon effects
control: 6/10 takes some getting used to
gameplay: 5./10 fun, but not enough single player content before it gets repetetive.
multiplayer: Not rated. No XBL subscription.
Product Release: Fatal Inertia (AU, 09/20/07)
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