Wednesday, March 15, 2006

VG REVIEW: Full Auto

Sega, for Xbox 360
rated T for Teen, $59.99.

Imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery where video games are concerned. All it takes is one successful game for a host of other publishers to start working on similar titles.

Case in point is Sega’s "Full Auto." Five minutes with the game will be all you need before the phrase "Burnout clone" springs to your mind. It’s not that "Full Auto" is a bad game, mind you. It’s just that it falls short when compared to the game it’s so obviously aping.

Like the "Burnout" series, particularly the last iteration, "Burnout Revenge," "Full Auto" is all about wrecking vast amounts of destruction with souped-up cars. The catch this time is that your vehicle is equipped with weapons like machine guns and grenade launchers.

The goal in most of the races is to be first across the finish line while vandalizing anything in your path, particularly your fellow racers.

Doing massive amounts of damage (measured in dollar figures, naturally) fills your "unwreck" meter, which, when full, basically allows you to rewind the clock for a few seconds. It’s a rather handy feature that saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

Alternatively, doing special trick moves like catching air or taking sharp turns fills up your boost meter, which gives you a much needed burst of speed when you’re near the finish line.

As you’d expect for an Xbox 360 game, "Auto" looks very nice, though not as nice as some other 360 racers, like "Project Gotham Racing 3."

The levels themselves are nice, if a bit too reminiscent of "Burnout." Players will race through urban areas, crash through docks and rumble through mountain trails. Sadly, that’s about it, as the levels repeat themselves far too quickly.

That lack of variation proves to be "Full Auto’s" biggest problem. There’s just not enough weapons, tracks or cars to vary the basic premise and keep your interest up.

If you own an Xbox 360 chances are you’re starved for games. "Full Auto" is frenzied and fun enough to fill that need for a while, but ultimately it’s far too shallow a game to justify a purchase. Rent, don’t buy.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2006


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