Wreckless (PS2)

Review

posted 12/20/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
I remember the day when my colleague, Dan Clarke, produced the very first review of the Xbox version of Wreckless. He gave the game a rating that equated to 50%, many were skeptical but I knew Dan well enough to know that he understood what he was talking about. Sure another site came out with another review a few days later that had nothing but praise for the game but I decided to go with my instincts and trust Dan. I then got my hands on the final build of the game later that week and came to the same conclusion that he did, Wreckless was a game that was filled to the brim with potential but the package just never quite did come together. Well the guys at Activision have had quite some time to work out the kinks in their title and although this release is an improvement, it’s still not enough to pump some much needed life into the game.

I’m pretty sure, nay, I’m certain that the hordes of people who defended the game chose to do so because they were in awe with the graphics. It served as one of the Xbox’s showcase titles, showing the world what the Xbox’s graphical chipset was capable of. Without its flashy visuals the game is truly nothing and thankfully Activision realized this and decided to beef the game up quite a bit, adding new cars, new levels, multiplayer and best of all, pedestrians that can now be struck by moving vehicles. I’m happy that the pedestrians now serve as fodder although the effect was less violent that I was hoping for.

There are a few new additions to the PS2 port including bonus missions and new vehicles. Bonus missions are unlocked when you finish a mission on the hard difficulty. They are fairly different but much like the core game, it gets old pretty fast. There are new vehicles such as a cab and a chicken mobile and while they’re nice additions, they really don’t do too much to enhance gameplay. What does change gameplay is the inclusion of rockets and while it’s a little strange to see a chicken mobile firing rockets, it’s still pretty cool. They don’t have as much impact as I would have hoped though and most of the time they’re just good for clearing out obstacles.

Like the original Wreckess the main story mode allows you to take control of a set of female police officers or a set of male undercover detectives. Each of them feature 20 unique missions that range from destroying cars by ramming into them, destroying more cars by ramming into them, destroying even more cars by ramming into them, disabling cars by ramming into them and the occasional Smuggler’s Run-esque go to point A and retrieve item X objective. There are some pretty unique objectives in the game, however, such as a mission where you have to photograph a crime boss from a harbor from various angles. While the idea for the mission is great the execution is not. The level is very akin to what it would be like to play a 3D platformer game with a vehicle. You’ll have to head full speed off of ramps and land of very small and unforgiving platforms, all in your vehicle. Honestly, wouldn’t it be much easier (not to mention much more discreet) to take the photos on foot?

In case you couldn’t figure it out from the previous paragraph, repetition is the order of the day here. Each mission requires you to do the same thing over and over, ram this car, ram that car. They come up with creative ideas of exactly why you need to ram each car but it essentially feels the same. Then there are missions where you need to retrieve an object in a set amount of time but that mode fails as well. You’re given a small screenshot of what you’re looking for and that’s it. You’ll have to search through a large city for it without the aid of a map or waypoint marker. Talk about trying to find a needle in a haystack.
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