In the realm of gaming, there is nothing more satisfying than creating mass amounts of destruction with large guns and loads of napalm. Xbox 360 owners got their first taste of this when Sega and Pseudo Interactive released Full Auto for the system back in February, and now PS3 players have a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Less than a year after the first game hit shelves, Full Auto already has a sequel, but does it improve upon the original enough to warrant two games in one year, or is this simply a way to cash in on the current drought of PS3 software?
Full Auto is a nice mix of high-speed racing and wanton destruction. Think of it as a hybrid of Twisted Metal meets Burnout. With the sequel Pseudo has implemented, a few new features that really round out the game play such as the combat arena, and a more streamlined career mode. Even with these additions, the game still misses a few key elements that held back the original and make this follow-up feel more like it should have been downloadable content as opposed to a full-blown sequel.
Now you know why no one takes the train anymore
The career mode has been upgraded a bit and is now broken down into sections which contain different race types to progress. Each event has a set of primary and secondary objectives to achieve and meeting these requirements will earn you new skins, vehicles, and weapons. The missions will feel familiar to anyone who played the original which can consist of simple time trials to being the last man standing in the combat arena. Each primary objective is required to progress to the next section, but the more secondary ones you snag the more goodies you can unlock. The storyline is still more of a filler between matches than anything else and you can expect to forget most of it before the cut scenes are even done playing.
As I mentioned earlier, the combat arena is by far the biggest and best improvement in this sequel. It seems almost criminal that the developers forgot to add it into the original game. When you power up the game you will find six massive environments to wage war upon, and each one sports unique destructible areas that will bring back memories of the Twisted Metal franchise. Scattered around these arenas are power-ups that you can nap that will grant you new weapons and even repair your car on the fly. So learning their placements is key to victory, especially online.
Speaking of, online Full Auto 2 supports up to eight combatants over the Playstation network and you can engage in all of the modes included in the single-player as well as a couple online exclusive ones. The first is called Base Assault, which is a team based affair where both sides fight for control of a neutral bomb that they must deliver to the opposing team’s base. The second, is called Cat and Mouse and will be familiar to anyone who has played a racing game before. Basically, you have one car that is the mouse and all the other cars are the cats, I am pretty sure you can figure out the rest.
Gratuitous scenes of car porn…viewer discretion is advised
For those of you who do not have broadband, there is also a split-screen mode for up to four players. While this mode is appreciated, it can get rather hectic in certain modes simply because of all the on-screen chaos the game delivers. The frame rate also comes into play here sometimes making the game almost unplayable. Multi-player definitely works best online and in the matches we encountered the lag was all but non-existent.
Of course, everyone knows that a game of this type is only as good as the firepower you can wield. Thankfully, Full Auto 2 delivers some of the best weapons ever found in a car combat game. In addition to the original roster of firearms, from the original which included machine guns, grenades, and shotguns, developer Pseudo has added in a plethora of new weapons that really up the ante. You can now mount lasers, napalm launchers, and even spiked bumpers to your arsenal for massive damage. No, there are no silly ancient crabs here just large doses of mechanical destruction, or as some like to call it, “car porn” to the highest degree.
Visually, the game has improved some over the original, but you will still find little things here and there that really drag down the experience. For instance, while the frame rate has been improved there are still scenarios where the game chugs, which is mostly due to the fact that you can now topple entire buldings to the ground. While it may seem like a small price to pay for the level of destruction that can be amassed, you do feel a little disappointed that your $600 all-powerful console cannot handle the game’s massively destructible environments.
Introducing the General Lee 2007 model
The stages in Full Auto 2 are very reminiscent of the first game, with plenty of destructible landmarks and secret paths to discover. The sequel brings more detail and of course more destruction, but most of it will feel a bit too familiar to players who played through the first game. The new stages are definitely the highlight, such as the Casino stage where you can literally create a mini combat arena right in the middle of the level. While the new additions are certainly nice to have, the game still feels more like an expansion pack as opposed to a straight-up sequel.
Gamers looking for a game of this type will be hard pressed to find a better game until the next Twisted Metal arrives. If you already took the plunge on the 360 though, this game may not be worth your hard earned sixty bucks. For PS3 owners who have never experienced the visceral action, the franchise delivers this game could easily tie you over until the next wave of great titles hits the system in early spring. With a solid online component, a vastly improved career mode, and plenty to unlock Full Auto 2 is a great addition to the PS3 library, let’s just hope the developers take their time and give us a true sequel next time around.