Top critical review
"The Cheryl Cole Of Video Games. All Style, No Substance."
on 19 June 2011
When we were kids we all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we were older. Some of us wanted to be firemen. Some of us wanted to be doctors; and some of us wanted to be policemen. If you had dreams of being the last one, or still do, then you may very well be interested in taking a look at Pursuit Force on the PSP.
Pursuit Force was published by Sony, developed by Bigbig Studios, and released in late 2005. You play the role of an unnamed new recruit of a police squad setup to take care of all the major criminal activity taking place in Capital State. Your foes include the likes of the mafia, the yakuza, and a group of seductive-but-dangerous women. Yep, you've definately got your hands full with this game.
Your main port of call is the Career mode. Here you have a list of missions involving five different criminal gangs. For each mission the police chief will give you a briefing on what's going on and what you need to do. During missions you'll be treated to some melodramatic comic-book styled acting from the characters involved, including some amusing one-liners such as "Don't die, or you're fired!"
The action is as Hollywood as video games come. There's driving, shooting, enemies dying, cars exploding, and you (the hero) looking neat and tidy at all times. The standout feature of PF is the ability to jump between vehicles. For instance: when you drive up close to an enemy car you can press the circle button to dive onto that car. You can then take out your enemies by pressing the L button to aim, and the R button to shoot before you can finally take control of the wheel.
The other noticeable feature is the "Justice Meter" at the bottom of the screen. Everytime you kill or arrest an enemy the meter starts to fill up. Once it's completely full you can press the triangle button to replenish your health and your vehicle's health. A full Justice Meter will also allow you to dive between vehicles in slow-motion, allowing you to shoot the enemies and kill them just before you land. It's OTT but I still like the look of it.
Anyway, successful completion of missions will earn you grades: a respectable C, a very good B, or an outstanding A. These grades will unlock races in Race mode; time trials in Time Trial mode; and images and videos for you to look at in the Gallery; not to mention other missions for you to complete.
The graphics are very impressive. They don't have the same glimmer and shine that the PSP Ridge Racer games do, but you will admire the explosions of the vehicles you've taken out. There's also a large amount of detail in the scenery, like in the buildings in city areas and the trees in forest areas. Too bad the rest of the game isn't up to par.
Pursuit Force lets itself down by setting the difficulty bar a tad too high at the start of the Career mode. Everytime you start a new mission the first few hundred (literally!) attempts will see either you or your car gunned down in record time, or your car lagging far behind the enemies' modes of transportation when you really need to be on their tails. It can be a frustrating experience as you try to figure out the correct techniques to close each case, and this only leads the later and "harder" missions to fill you with dread rather than excitement.
But the game's biggest flaw is its repetitiveness. You maybe driving a car, or a boat, or riding a bike. But apart from the occasional shooting-on-foot segments, pretty much all you're doing is diving between cars like a Superman ripoff and shooting the wheelmen. After a while you'll be begging to do something different, like making a cup of tea. The Races and Time Trials do provide a little variation, but it's not enough.
The best way I can describe Pursuit Force is that it's the Cheryl Cole of video games. All style, no substance. This game is best suited to anyone who is heavily addicted to action movies and games, in the same vein that hippies are addicted to trees. Them, plus all those childhood-policeman-dreamers. Everyone else should try and play something less repetitive, like Grand Theft Auto.