Chocolate and peanut butter, beer and football, cars and guns; some things just go well together. I know how much we all love the visceral speed and incredible crashes that Burnout offers, but imagine that to the tenth power, then add in some firepower to spice up the mix and you basically have Sega’s Full Auto. With the Xbox 360 lineup being anything but active over the last two months a little taste of wanton destruction is just what the doctor ordered, but can Full Auto fill the void with substance or simply fall flat on its face due to Xbox gamers’ ridiculously high expectations?
While the concept of adding guns to the racing mix is nothing revolutionary, no other game has offered the ability to destroy almost anything on screen the way Full Auto does. See that overpass above the track with the train blazing across it? Fire a missile underneath it to send the train collapsing onto your rivals ahead. You will be amazed at just how much destruction you can cause in this game, the first time you t-bone into the corner of a building or simply power slide too far and ram into the tanker full of highly explosive gasoline you will feel a sense of pleasure you haven’t felt since you were crashing Hot Wheels as a child. This sort of freedom is what makes every race in FA an intense battle that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Car porn at it’s finest, cue the cheesy music.
One of the coolest and most innovative features in FA though is the Unwreck button; this is basically a free pass to try just about anything during the race. Time a turn wrong, or simply misjudge that missile placement? No problem, simply tap the Unwreck button and correct your mistake. This gives the player confidence to take chances during the race, not to mention being vital when tackling some of the harder races in the career mode. Speaking of spectacular carnage, not since Burnout Revenge have we seen such graceful and elegant car porn, watching the aftermath of a five car pile-up in the intersection of a highway is something that cannot be described in words.
With all of this carnage taking place you may be wondering how the Xbox 360 handles it all, especially to those that downloaded the demo and experienced some of the infamous frame rate problems associated with it. I can safely say that the final version handles everything on screen admirably, granted there are still hiccups in the frame rate here and there, but certainly nothing that hinders game play in any respect. Even when thousands of particles, car parts, and debris are flying all over the screen the Xbox 360 does an amazing job of keeping the action moving at a respectable pace. The overall visual quality may not be up to the PGR standards, but when you have that much going on with explosions, lighting, and items on-screen the graphics were bound to take a small hit.
The destruction in Full Auto also serves a purpose beyond stimulating your demolition fantasies; it can also open up shortcuts throughout the track as well as creating obstacles for your opposition to overcome. Discovering these becomes an addiction and with the Unwreck button you can seek out all of them without fear of making a mistake that will cost you the entire race.
Now all of this destruction and mayhem is fine, but we also need a little substance with our game right? Thankfully Full Auto brings along plenty to keep you busy for quite a while. The career mode contains over 60 different events consisting of every race type from your standard Circuit races to one of my personal favorites Rampage where its basically open season on all pedestrian vehicles in your way. There is also your typical single-player arcade experience where you can hone your skills in any game type with the car and weapon layout of your choice. The weapon system in FA works using several layouts that you can choose before the race starts. Each layout consists of two weapons with either front or rear firing abilities. For instance the Melee setup gives you a front mounted shotgun with rear grenades while the Hunter layout provides front mounted missles and machine guns for shredding the opposition. As you progress through the career mode you can earn new layouts and even the ability to tune them to increase their firepower, unfortunately you cannot customize the layouts, they are all preset.
No more Sammy Hagar jokes please.
Now when you are done playing with yourself Full Auto also supports up to eight players via Xbox Live. Taking the destruction online adds a whole new dimension to the game as the Unwreck button is now eliminated so when you explode there is no un-doing it. All of the regular modes are available and you can even track your progress and kills via the leaderboards. The games we played online were completely lag free even with a full room, the only jitters come when someone actually leaves the game in the middle of a race, other than that the game runs just as smooth online as it does off.
With all the good there inevitably has to be some bad and Full Auto is not without flaws. For starters there is a nasty glitch that causes your custom soundtracks not to work, so unless you enjoy the in-game music you are best to turn it off. Also while not game killing the slow-down can get annoying in some places and if you manage to get your car stuck in a peculiar place the game does have a few wormholes that will show its nasty glitches. Some gamers may also grow tired of the repetition of pure destruction because to be honest, there isn’t much else to this game besides run n’ gun.
Full Auto is not going to re-invent the wheel, once you take the first plunge the rest seem to be very similar. But what FA does it does well and that is entertain the player. If you are of the old school class that enjoys the simple things in life you will undoubtedly find a lot to like about this game. If you are in search of the next big leap in gaming innovation you will more than likely come away disappointed. Gamers looking for a good time need not look any further though, Full Auto will certainly appease your primal instinct to blow shit up good, excuse me, well!