“The most destructive racing game ever” claims the box art for Sega’s ‘Full Auto’ and as any gamer would know blowing stuff up is fun, creating havoc is brilliant, and generally causing destruction in any videogame usually gets a thumbs up, so with Full Auto strapping guns to cars were could it go wrong?
The Full Auto format originated from US based developer Pseudo Interactive who introduced the game to PC gamers back in 1999, and now Xbox 360 gamers have the chance to get to grips with this interesting take on the racing genre. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is currently not short of racers, with the likes of PGR3 and ‘Need for Speed’ already on the shelves, so can Full Auto really offer a fresh experience worthy of your cash, especially when Criterion’s critically acclaimed Burnout is mere weeks away?
On starting up, you are quickly reminded that in this game, things go off with a bang; this presents a great way of getting you psyched to really get involved and start destroying, so upon tearing through a few ‘Burnout’ style menu screens you find yourself participating in a race, and within seconds you’re speeding through the streets causing general mayhem, and there is plenty of mayhem to be had.
Full Auto will last any gamer a considerable amount of time, with several various game modes, including Arcade, Xbox Live, Head To Head and of course the main Career route, which is were the main mode lies. Career mode features over 120 unique races spread out over 17 racing series, and they all present there very own unique objectives and playing style, which will initially leave you on a gaming high, left working out which way you will complete your next race, and with what weapons. Figuring out the best combination of car and weapon to complete your task is not always a simple one, especially when the game provides you with such a grand roster of racing machines, twenty one in fact, ranging from jeeps, trucks, and cars all of which are customizable, not only in appearance but in choice of weapons, with mines, smoke screens, rockets, cannons and more available.
Multiplayer gaming is catered for well, with both offline and online modes available, up to eight players can play online, and the ability to gain ranks from nought to ten, offers an added incentive to tear it up online.
When a race begins you are left at the back, and as you race forward through the competition you gain ‘Wreck’ points which is obtained depending on how destructive you are to the surroundings and competitors. Gaining ‘Wreck’ points is primarily stacks of fun, and in the first handful of races the devastation caused is highly impressive. Boost is also provide for jumping ahead of the pack, and the ability to ‘Unwreck’, which is a cheeky new feature which gives you the ability to go back in time by a few seconds if you make any fatal mistakes. The ‘Unwreck’ feature seems poorly executed, not only by being to generous in its quantity, but additionally by making the cars feel indestructible upon most damage and error encountered.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the sheer scale of destruction is at first outstanding, the thrill provided from the demolition soon does were thin, and after an hour or two of solid play time the ability to ‘Wreck’ begins to lack in appeal.
Graphically Full Auto impresses when on screen explosions or high quality replays are involved, but the car models and tracks lack any great quantity of inspiration and could have easily have been accomplished on the original Xbox; the odd frame rate issue also occurs which really does interfere with the experience.
On the audio side of things, generic car sounds are to be expected, but the range of audio for the weapons is highly impressive with each bullet, or rocket truly packing a punch. The games soundtrack features a fairly even mix of dance and rock tracks, so no doubt something will appeal.
If gaining G’s is your thing then Full Auto is king, the game offers a huge fifty achievements, and several can be obtained early on, with a great deal saved for genuine veteran players, truly adding to the lifespan of this already packed title.
If you really need a racing game fix and cannot wait for Burnout, then Full Auto may provide a weekend of fun with its unique take on the genre, the destruction provides a superb twist on standard ‘A to B’ racers, and although the novelty does narrow the shear amount of races available, multiplayer options and achievements will keep you hooked for some time.
Overall Burnout still holds the crown of racing destruction, and Full Auto just falls short of being anything overly special, and ends up feeling like a poor mans Burnout. Fun at first, but falls short of anything grand, rent it.