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Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions

Review By:  Nick Arvites

Developer:   Bunkasha Games
Publisher:   Activision
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Driving
ESRB:   Teen
Online:   No
Accessories:   Memory Card
Date Posted:  

3-20-02

Personally, I had never really heard of Wreckless: the Yakuza Missions until a friend of mine sent me a clip of a racing game that not only looked spectacular, but also featured a Back to the Future style DeLorean. To make this game sound even better, the concept is centered around destroying everything on the streets. So, with such a great concept and an awesome DeLorean featured on the cover and on the commercials, a game like this would be hard to mess up, right?

Wrong. Obviously someone on the development team was asleep at the wheel about halfway through the gameís development.

Still there are several cool features. The car selection is awesome, giving you everything from vans to taxis to DeLoreans to monster trucks to tanks. The idea of a rush hour demolition derby always makes for a great game (at least in the short term). However, even with these cool ideas and features, there are still several glaring problems in this game that pretty much drops it into the "what the hell were the designers thinking" or the "rushed" category.

One of the highest points of this game is the graphical power. The cars look excellent, and the streets of Hong Kong look amazing. One example of some of the graphical effects you can expect can be seen in one of the "midnight racing" stages. Neon signs actually reflect off of the cars. This effect looks especially cool on the DeLorean. Explosions look great. One of the features I thought I would hate actually turned out to be the best thing to show off the graphics. After a mission, you have the option to watch a replay of all the destruction and chaos youíve caused from flying through Hong Kong rush hour. The replay feature uses several different camera filters and angles as it chases the car around and is just surprisingly entertaining to watch. Considering that there is so much action going on (especially when heavy traffic is selected), graphical slowdowns rarely occur. The only time I experienced slowdowns was when I slammed into a massively busy intersection and trashed everything.

The controls are decent. Each car handles differently, and the tank is completely different from the rest. There is no manual transmission but this is not a realistic game. If you want realistic racing, go grab Project Gotham Racing for Xbox or Gran Turismo for PS2. The "Y" button is an action button that activates elevators (or shoots tank cannons). The reverse button acts as a power-slide also, but it is nowhere near as effective as the one seen in Project Gotham Racing.

A minor problem with this game is the mission difficulty. The missions seem to be either extremely easy or extremely hard with no in-between. Also, most of the extra cars are hidden in the harder levels, making it extremely hard to get a few of the cars.

The level design is great. The environment is fairly interactive as players can fly through signs, glass, railings, barricades, and some buildings. The only thing that would make it even better would to have more interactive buildings.

Also, damage on the cars looks great. Doors and hoods fly off, and the damage looks realistic. However, the damage does not affect performance at all and is just cosmetic. Damage to the environment looks great when you first cause it, but wrecked cars and pieces of buildings/barricades/whatever seem to disappear. Pieces of the playerís car stay around unless a re-spawn is needed.

By far, the most glaring problem with Wreckless is the lack of a multi-player. Sure, the fact that the game can be beat in under 10 hours is horrible, but to not include a multiplayer when there are obvious missions you could use for it is just inexcusable. One mission is based on racing a rival to destroy vender stands. I donít understand how they can put that in against a CPU opponent but not put in a 2-player split screen. They could have changed several of the missions and added a split-screen, but they didnít. The lack of a multiplayer in this day and age is simply inexcusable.

Highs:

  • DeLorean's and tanks in the same game.
  • Graphics
  • Smash things up

Lows:

  • Too short.
  • Difficulty either too easy or too hard.
  • NO MULTIPLAYER.

Final Verdict: 

Unless you love smashing into things, donít bother buying this game. It is defiantly worth a rental, but only 20 missions, 10 hours of playtime and no multiplayer is inexcusable. The only thing I can think of that justifies this half-completed game is if the design team decided to beat each other in the head with a hammer every day. Rent only.

Overall Score: 6.0

Additional Images:

 


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