Both the PSN and XBLA have produced some phenomenal achievements in gaming: Braid, Fat Princess, and Shadow Complex just to name a few. But where there’s excellence, there always lingers the foul stench of failure.
Gaijin Entertainment’s foray into the world of arcade titles attempts to combine the intensity of Burnout Paradise with the loveable cheesiness of Need For Speed: Most Wanted. And while clones can often be entertaining to fans of that specific genre, sometimes a game just falls flat on its face.
It’s unfortunate that the same developer, who gave us the exquisite Wings of Prey, has delivered so little in the way of entertainment with Anarchy: Rush Hour. I doubt even hardcore racing fans could glean much from such a poorly developed, and altogether frustrating title.
Upon loading, Anarchy: Rush Hour gives you the impression that you are in for a wild thrill ride – a mixture of everything that made previous arcade racing titles exceptional. Unfortunately, as soon as the first line is spoken, you immediately start to realise that those $8 you just spent should have been used to buy toilet paper.
The first mistake Gaijin made was to construct a ridiculous story around an already ridiculous and clichéd premise. Street racing crooks have stolen your verbally-challenged girlfriend, and it is your duty to race against the scum of the Big City underground in order to rescue her.
And what’s a good storyline without a hackneyed sidekick? After losing your mail-order bride to those thieving criminals, a man by the name of ChaCha (who else?) immediately befriends you and pledges his allegiance to the cause. With ChaCha, a city teeming with cars yet strangely no pedestrians, and a host of lackluster vehicles at your disposal, how could you not have fun with this game?
If Gaijin hadn’t spent so much time producing a poorly scripted storyline, they could have put far more hours into creating a visually captivating environment. As it stands, Anarchy: Rush Hour looks more like a PS2-era title than anything else, and every cutscene is marred by a bizarre blurred effect that detracts from the action on-screen.
The vehicles themselves don’t look too bad. At least not in the garage. Customization is at first an enjoyable element of the game, but soon the range of options dwindles, and all you’re left with is a monotonous and repetitive task to complete. Honestly, unless you plan on collecting all possible trophies, or wish to boast your narcissistic tendencies online, let customization stay as an untouched time-waster.
Racing in Anarchy: Rush Hour, undoubtedly the crux of the game, is a strange feature to review. On the one hand, I absolutely despise the poor handling mechanics, inadequacies of each device, and sheer idiocy of AI. But on the other, I cannot help the thrill I feel when sheering through hordes of innocent commuters, and defeating tough opponents.
That’s one thing that Gaijin Entertainment hasn’t skimped on: difficulty. Even on the average setting, you will find yourself repeating missions time and time again, and for that reason alone I can see how completionists would get a kick out of it.
Without online capabilities, Anarchy: Rush Hour would hardly be worth reviewing. Its single-player campaign is horrendously flawed, and the visuals and audio are simply not up to the standard of today’s games. However, if you enjoy the thrill of B-grade racing titles coupled with multiplayer carnage, then you will doubtless be entertained when you take this beast online.
Lag-free multiplayer is something every game strives for, and with Anarchy: Rush Hour you will be pleasantly surprised at not only the smooth races, but also the speed at which you will be able to join matches. Circuit, Hot Lap, and Deathmatch (my personal favorite) are all at your disposal via online play, and thanks to the cheap price you should have no trouble finding opponents at any time of the day. Multiplayer fanatics who can look past its many blemishes will surely get a lot out of the three online modes.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, Anarchy: Rush Hour simply comes off as a second-rate attempt at a Burnout/Need for Speed mash-up. I understand that the developer is European, but they haven’t even succeeded in keeping their “English” voice actors on the script; oftentimes you will hear words integral to the sentence simply bypassed as the subtitles betray the true phrases. As for the voice actors, they sound like relatives who have been coaxed into working on their nephew’s Film & TV school project.
Perhaps if this was the first PSN title to be released, I would be more inclined to accept its countless flaws. As it stands, however, we’ve already been privy to numerous pieces of arcade brilliance, and releasing something as unfinished and unfun as this is simply not fair to the consumer.
Despite an above average online system, I simply cannot recommend Anarchy: Rush Hour, even with its inexpensive $7.99 price tag. If you want to try it for yourself, though, at least wait until it’s on sale.
While it’s unfair to compare Anarchy to any other full retail PS3 game, the visuals are pathetic. Only the developer can be blamed for such a massive oversight.
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Controlling vehicles is both frustrating and exciting. There are plenty of kinks that could have been ironed out, but you should get used to them within the first few missions.
The game attempts to bring back the sort of electro music we heard in the original Need For Speed titles. Let’s just say that it’s not for everyone. The ability to play your own tracks is a handy feature, though.
The length of time you spend in single player all depends on difficulty. Online play, however, is bound to provide you with a few extra hours of excitement.
Anarchy: Rush Hour fails to entertain in almost every respect. Thank god for the inclusion of online multiplayer, because the campaign is a train wreck.