187: Ride or Die - Review
|25/8/2005||Ubisoft||Ubisoft Paris||1-2, 8 ||M||Medium|
If there's one genre the PS2 isn't short of it's racing games, but 187: Ride or Die adds something fresh to the mix. You see, this game isn't just about crossing the line first but also taking out the opposition with a wide range of weapons - from shotguns to landmines, pistols to rocket launchers. It's fast, its brutal but in Australia it's also being released at the budget price of $AU49.95 - bargain.
|Coming in last place.|
187: Ride or Die tells the story of a reluctant urban hero named Buck (played by Larenz Tate), a young man living a thug’s life seething with money, fast cars and beautiful women – and danger lurking around every corner. Set in the underworld of Los Angeles, Buck must defend the territory of his mentor Dupree (Guerilla Black) from a menacing nemesis and his gang of bandit roughriders, led by Cortez (Noel Gugliemi), who is determined to take control of the streets.
In essence this game plays like any super fast racing game such as Burnout or Midnight Club but has the addition of weapons to take out the opposition. The car physics are pretty average, don't expect the finesse of Gran Turismo or the exquisite damage in the Burnout titles but 187: Ride or Die provides plenty of thrills at a fast pace. Many tracks have shortcuts or hidden areas littered with power-ups which include turbo boosts, health packs or upgraded weapons.
|Nice motion blur effects.|
The single player game, which takes a while to finish we might add, is made up of four main types of race. These include Whip Race, Death Race, Elimination Race and a death match styled battle. In essence each of these is fairly similar with some eliminating the racer in last place after every lap, others a straight race to the finish and so on. Something which must be mentioned is the swearing in this game - there's quite a bit even when racing so parents be warned.
Now we've mentioned the weapons in the game and indeed they play a major role. After picking up the weapons these can be used to take out the enemies for a short period of time thus giving you the opportunity to gain the lead. 187: Ride or Die includes 14 weapons including Uzis, shotguns, mines, and Molotov cocktails to name a few. The game allows you to shoot enemies ahead or behind by hitting the R1 or R2 buttons respectively. It's even possible to use the right analogue stick to manually aim (instead of automatic aim if you just hit the fire buttons) if you want to head for the more advanced controls. It's tougher but the results can be worth it.
|2-player split screen action.|
While the game is fun in single player mode it's not until you play in either 2-player split screen mode or with 8 combatants online that you realise just how much fun this game is. The 2-player split screen mode even allows one person to concentrate on the driving while the second takes over the weapons. It's tremendous fun. In terms of online gameplay, well, due to the game not being out in stores yet we haven't been able to compete in anything decent except the odd match against one or two other opponents. We'll update this review a little later when we've battled online, but from the short plays we've had the game seems solid enough here too.
The biggest issue which I have with 187: Ride of Die is that the locations all look so similar. Despite being located in different sections of the city you'll be hard pressed to tell them apart with similar buildings, street signs and general atmosphere. The turbo boost doesn't seem anywhere near as effective as it should be. Sure the screen blurs in spectacular fashion but you can be a matter of meters behind another car and only end up a couple of meters ahead after hitting the turbo for 10 seconds or so. Finally the race selection screen could have been designed a little better. It's hard to tell which races have been completed and for the first couple of plays I ended up playing the same races a couple of times unaware I'd already completed them.
|Cut scenes are damn hot.|
Graphically 187: Ride or Die has some good and bad points. We'll start with the good. The cut scenes, including many obvious movie rip-offs are extremely well done overall with some superb detail used to tell the story. In-game, the number of objects in the levels including pedestrian traffic, destructible fences and walls, destructible barrels and fuel tankers and the like is impressive. You'll be weaving in and out of objects all the time. The game moves at a fair pace too with some nice motion blur effects when you hit the turbo button. Unfortunately much of this is let down by some very dark environments. At times it's hard just to see where the track is going - especially at a blistering pace however most corners are marked with great big arrows.
Audio in this game is generally very high quality. As well as the very urban grooves and rap styled music the effects are loud and brutal. Unfortunately while high quality voice acting is used, as well as plenty of swearing, the same phrases get used over and over and over. What the hell is a g'rider anyway? A little more effort could have been put into the script at times.
|The 4WD's are built like tanks.|
We must applaud Ubisoft for launching 187: Ride or Die at a bargain price of $AU49.95. As we move into the next generation gamers are being distracted by increasingly flashy graphics but if Ubisoft can get enough people interested in this title they'll have another hit franchise. The best news is that this is a tremendous game and even at full price it would have been worth the money. Online gamers can be even more excited with plenty of thrills to be had. An impressive game well worth a purchase.
Review By: Dave Warner
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version)
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|GRAPHICS||It's a bit dark, and not the PS2's best graphically, but good enough.||76%|
|SOUND||While the music and effects are good speech can become repetitive.||70%|
|GAMEPLAY||It's fast, it's fun, and actually quite addictive even in single player.||90%|
|VALUE||More level variety would be nice, but online rocks, a budget price too.||84%|
|OVERALL||If you've got a limited budget then 187: Ride or Die is certainly a game worth a purchase. If you like fast cars and big action then this is the game for you.||80%|