Most helpful critical review
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Good fun but where's the rest of the game...?
on 26 March 2007
The aim of this game isn't to win races but to earn star points to achieve the highest grade possible for the `race'. Winning the `race' does give you some star points, but you can normally find far more by ignoring where you finish. You earn star points by smashing into other trucks, doing great big jumps, going off road through the trees, sliding around corners and hitting rings during those great big jumps. Straight racing hitting all the right power-ups will win you the early races but later on you'll mainly be searching for clean tree runs, hitting all the rings during your even bigger great big jumps and hitting as many other trucks as possible, to hell with what position you finish in.
The controls are simple, holding the wii-mote like a SNES controller you tilt left and right to steer and tilt forwards and backwards to control your height during the jumps. Button wise the "2" accelerates and the D-Pad engages your boost. Once you are use to the sensitivity and limits on the tilting the only thing that will hold you back are the occasional sticky patches, normally when you are about to land a big jump, when the controller doesn't seem to know it is being waggled about at all. Thankfully this isn't very frequent and doesn't interfere too much with the game play. Overall the controls are well executed and take only a few minutes to master.
The best part of the game lies within the track design, the tracks are wide open spaces with rolling hills and dips which can be exaggerated and disfigured by power-ups, lots of corners and short cuts are complimented by some nice scenery. Track wise you get desert, snow, green and muddy, beach, and a bonus crystal track on a weird extraterrestrial planet made of... well crystals. The openness of the tracks is spoilt by the sometimes restricting walls of chevrons and the sometimes deadly (sometimes not) water hazards, which is confusing considering the multipath nature of the tracks.
Crashing is perplexing; it doesn't slow you down particularly as the AI of the other truck `racers' is retarded, they appear to have been told to pretty much follow you around at whatever speed you are doing and as you get set back on the track with a bonus boost your dim witted computer opponents will never be far away. But it's good it doesn't slow you down as it sometimes feels a little broken, you'll bounce off the chevron wall nicely enough but slightly brush up against a canyon wall or hit another truck in the wrong spot and you go straight into the `Great Crash!' slow motion routine again.
The full potential of the tracks is shown in the `Crush' mini game (one of three, the others being `Gate' racing through gates and `Ring' jumping through rings, all have 2 tracks and take about 5 minutes to complete) where you race around an area with all the chevron walls turned off trying to crash into the retarded AI trucks. It shows you how good the area design is even though the mini game itself is a bit naff as the drifting nature of the truck controls make hitting the other trucks a little... hit and miss.
While the tracks look great the trucks themselves don't really shine graphically, and you get no sense of size and weight at all which leaves you with a bit of a floating feeling. The sense of speed is there when the wheels are on the ground, but is lost when you fly through the air, and as you spend about half the game in the air, even its biggest selling point `speed is exciting' is lost. Also it is a joke that you get stars for sliding around corners as there is no other way to do it.
It crossed my mind that maybe they had originally intended this to be some sort of RC Truck game, which might explain this feeling, but in the end decided to crowbar in the `Excite' brand to help it sell. The `Excite' brand is there in name only; it just doesn't have the racing pedigree or depth of Excite Bike 64 or even the original Excite Bike on NES, so the use of the brand is at best wasted, and at worst deceitful. If you remove the disappointment of Excite Truck not living up to the Excite brand and just judge the game on what it is then you have to admit it is good fun, but very short and shallow failing to fulfil the obvious potential that is there. In short, a good game rushed. Excite Truck 2 with added gameplay, a racing tournament mode and some sort of multiplayer aspect would be fantastic, this is only average and only for a short period of time.
+ The beautiful environments.
+ The sense of speed when your wheels are on the ground.
+The intuitive controls.
- The complete lack of effort put into multiplayer.
- The `floaty' handling feel of the trucks.
- The tattered edges and rushed feel to the game.
- Chevron Walls.
Beautiful and varied tracks, but slightly dull trucks
What is there is really fun, but there is just so little of it.
About 2 hours maybe 4 if you are desperate to see the mirrored tracks, the lack of real multiplayer really damages this game.
Some nice ideas well executed, but so much has been left out you'll feel like you bought only half of the game.