Tuesday, September 27, 2005

VG REVIEW: 187 Ride Or Die

for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
rated M for Mature (blood, strong language, violence), $49.99

Yo, peep this homie.

Have you noticed lately how a lot of video games are attempting to create a more "urban" feel?

Games like "Def Jam: Fight for NY," "True Crime," "NBA Ballers," the upcoming "25 to Life" and 50 Cent games and, of course, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" all in one way or another attempt to cop a hip-hop attitude in the hopes of seeming more "street."

Y’all feelin’ me?

The latest example of this trend is "187 Ride or Die," a rather simplistic car combat game with a lot of "gangsta" window dressing thrown on top. A number of critics have already described it as Mario Kart" with swearing and guns, and that’s pretty accurate.

The game involves a young man named Buck (Larenz Tate, wasting his talent) who is hired by the local gang lead­er to defend his territory against a rival group of thugs.

For some odd reason, doing that involves entering into a number of street races. I guess if you win, your rivals are so ashamed of their poor racing skills that they head home.

To win you not only have to be able to handle tight corners, but also you’ll have to take out your opponents, old-school style. The game gives you a variety of weapons, in­cluding Uzis, Molotov cock­tails and AK-47s. If real gangs used this sort of firepower in street races, they’d call in the National Guard.

If the gameplay were half-decent, a lot could be forgiv­en. Unfortunately, "187" is an incredibly repetitive game. Shooting down other cars is far too easy, and the races themselves begin to blur to­gether after awhile. The de­velopers try to mix things up by including elimination rounds and levels where you have to protect a car from at­ tackers, but after about an hour, the game starts to re­peat itself and interest drops fast.


The game also suffers from poor controls, at least on the Xbox version I played. You steer the car with the left thumbstick, but you also can look behind yourself by click­ing the same thumbstick.

The result? I frequently ended up crashing and having to start over a level because I couldn’t see where I was going when trying to round a tight corner.

As for the "urban" content, it comes off exactly what it is: a cynical attempt by a group of marketing execs to inject an otherwise shallow game with some "flava." It would be laughable if it weren’t so pa­thetic.

Check that, it’s laughable anyway, especially when the gang leader says things like, "Yo, Buck, you ready, gangsta! Its on and pop-lockin’. Race these bustas. ... G-ridas like us don’t lose. Holla back atcha, boy."

You can almost see the slang checklist being ticked off as you play. And, in addi­tion to the swearing, it’s also worth noting that the N-word is thrown around with rather shocking abandon.

"187 Ride or Die" desperatel­y wants to be perceived as a true O.G. But, dawg, this game is truly whack. Fo’ real.

Peace. I’m out.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2005