Full Auto couldn't have picked a better release date then the month of February. Sega's second offering breaks the Xbox 360's dry spell just in time before March madness. Full Auto has been highly anticipated ever since its showing at last years E3 and we are happy to finally get a look at what is under the hood of this highly destructible racer.
If you're an active gamer then you have probably heard the name Full Auto thrown around a lot since last year. This isn't because it's been a long lasting franchise getting next generation treatment; it's more because it was one of the first playable Xbox 360 games. Full Auto definitely isn't going to revolutionize gaming, or extremely boost sales for the Xbox 360, but one thing it does is provide a nice game to play around with before the big franchises come knocking.
Developed by Pseudo Interactive Full Auto takes a page from their first Xbox title Cel Damage and brings gamers another easy to handle automobile combat game. Ironically this next generation title is a throw back to the old school way of gaming, no story, no point, just boot her up and go. It's not like Pseudo was hiding that fact either. Full Auto is fully aware of its arcade roots and does an admirable job of providing fun arcade style car combat with an emphasis on destruction.
In Full Auto you will be driving unlicensed cars armed to the nines with weaponry. It's open season on the highways in Full Auto and you have a one way ticket for destruction. You won't find a likes of the Magnus, Hookzilla, Enforcer, or Demon in your local used car lot, but in Full Auto's world they must be giving them away. The best ride in the game is The Warlord, but you won't be riding in this puppy until over 50% done with the game. The Warlord is a blast to drive and worth the wait.
Each car you race is judged on three different factors being speed, durability, and handling. As you figure the larger vehicles are more durable than and not as quick as the sport car vehicles. Picking the right car for the right event is important, although for a majority of the career mode you will be limited. Although these factors help the diversity of the game the actual handling feels the same for every vehicle. Some slight adjusting and more weight put behind the vehicles would have done wonders, even for an arcade racer.
Now for the weapons! The weapons in Full Auto are pretty straight forward and either is placed on the front or back of you're vehicle. You can't place them yourself, but you do have options of which set up you want, and the balance of power from front to back. This set up works, but it would have been so much nicer to be able to customize your weapons. Now here is list of the weapons; Twin Machine Guns, Mini-Rocket Pod, Missiles, Tank Cannon, Mines, Smoke Screen, Shotgun, and Grenade Launcher. After playing most of the game through I'd have to say the Shotgun/Grenade Launcher combo has been the most effective overall. Full Auto weapons make this a destructive good time, although more variation and variety would have been nice.
Taking a few pointers from Prince of Persia, Full Auto tapped into the Sands of Time for their Unwreck feature. Unwrecking lets you turn back a few seconds of time allowing you to redo mistakes or take advantage of missed opportunities. You gain seconds of unwreck time by destroying the environment, this is easily gathered. Unwrecking is a nice twist to the gameplay, but really doesn't have the impact you'd think. Most races you won't even be using the feature, and sometimes when you do it feels like cheating. One good thing about Unwreck is that it's disabled on Xbox Live, so its just mano-o-mano. Unwreck is a cool concept, but useless.
The modes in Full Auto balance between the multiplayer and single player game. Both Xbox Live and Split Screen are perfect for this style of game. Live are a lot of fun and an interesting challenge because there is no time control. Sega also added a nice ranking system online so you can unlock achievements as you level up. Starting at level one and ranking up to level 10. Online is the best way to play Full Auto and lets hope the servers are still filled after EA throws out its action racer Burnout.
The single player/career mode offers a bunch of different series which are divided into a small number of races. The game modes/series in the Career mode are Ambush, Dominator, Enduro, Gang Wars, Hunter, Impossible, Overtake Rampage, Speed Kills, Street Racers, Sudden Death, Underdogs, Warlords, Time Trials. All these are fine and would add variation if the gameplay drastically changed. Some modes are having more obvious twists but mainly you'll be doing the same old routine. I did have a lot of fun with the last two Gang War missions where each party crisscrossed. Overall there isn't really too much meat on the bones to Full Auto. From a glance the whole ordeal looks packed full of goodness, but then you find out the goodness is the same as the first bite.
Full Auto for the most part is a great looking game with a lot of face paced action unfolding on the screen. The level of destruction is one of the biggest spectacles we have seen in a game to date. So much so that every street you race on becomes a pile of debris. Technically, Full Auto is close to being shockly awesome until it hits the snag. The snag in Full Auto is the occasional clipping issue-- and more importantly, the massive slowdown. The slowdown is the major downside to the graphics, which makes me believe they are not optimized to their fullest potential. Slowdown only happens when too much is happening at once, buildings fallings, cars racing and shooting. The screen will put to a sluggish frame rate and jump right back. It doesn't happen every race, but I'd half to say ever one out of eight.
Slowdown aside the graphics are done well in Full Auto and keep the glossed look we've seen in the previous demos. The cars fall apart in pieces, the world shatters around your cannon fire, and effects like smoke and debris are excellent. Full Auto isn't overly detailed and could be criticized for being a bit bland. Giving the speed which you're racing, and the amount of action happening on the screen at once, it's really hard to see faults. Until The Outfit comes to challenge for the hill, Full Auto will remain on the top of the pile for destructive games.
In the audio department Full Auto falls into the average category. The effects are the best aspect of this game and are done quite well. Explosions rocks, machine guns are in full effect, it's all good until you open your ears to the music. The soundtrack is brutally plain and doesn't offer much towards the intensity of the in game action. More time or direction was need and although you might not agree, I could have used some hard pounding metal in this one.
Full Auto ranks in some mojo, but its mojo wears thin quickly. Full Auto is one of those arcade styled games that is fun for a while and not meant for the long hall. I do love the amount of destruction and pumping shotgun bullets into anything on the road is fun. Full Auto is quick to put a smile on any gamer's face, how long the smile lasts depends on what you look for in a game. For the full blast of mojo radiance you need to be hooked on Live, Full Auto is a perfect match for the style of Xbox Live and will give you the most satisfaction.
Pseudo Interactive's Full Auto is a fun arcade style racing game which will provide a few hours of fun. Although fun for a while, Full Auto isn't the type of game which you can spend hours upon hours playing. No doubt Full Auto won't be sticking in your 360 for months to come, but for a quick rush with some friends online it will do the trick. I'd half to recommend renting this one first and then deciding how much you love to race and destroy.
I hope Sega pushes forward and revamped this series with a squeal. Full Auto has personality and potential, it just wasn't fully tapped out. A little more focus and variety, added some killer music tracks and we'll be first in line for the next race
Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 5, Mojo: 8. Final: 7 / 10
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 03.02.06
TOTAL Destruction - unprecedented car and environmental damage make this the most destructive racing game ever. No pre-calculated or canned animations mean players will never see the same wreck twice!
Unique "Unwreck" feature - delivers the racing genre's first real-time "second chance." Players have the ability to control time to rectify mistakes both big and small.
Distinct gameplay modes - Circuits, Point-to-Points, Down&Back, Rampage, and Lap Knockout available in Single Player, split-screen and on Xbox Live.
Collision, Jump and Death cameras - Unprecedented presentation-including the "One-Touch" replay-exposes each and every action-packed moment.
Enjoy intense combat and unlimited replayability - 21 vehicles, 8 distinct weapon types, 18 tracks, and over 80 events provide a next-gen experience unlike any other.
Xbox Live - Play against up to 8 players anywhere, anytime on Xbox Live. Get ranked and unlock achievements in-game and show your friends that you've got the skills.