Fact: two of the most commercially successful titles of last year were Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Need for Speed: Underground 2. Another fact: it was simply a matter of time before a developer decided to combine both into a game, and 187: Ride or Die is the final product that's emerged from this blending of two commercial heavyweights. And a third fact: contrary to what you may have been expecting, it's worked rather well. But we'll get on to that in a moment.
The game puts players in the position of Buck, an accidental hero who has been chosen by a gangster called Dupree to take part in a gang war. The game is primarily a racing title, so those expecting free-roaming gameplay may be a little disappointed. The thing that sets this game apart is that players are given weapons to take down their opponents. From the very outset, players will be shooting for first place. Some of the weapons include pistols, shotguns and mines.
The main branch of the game can be found in Career Mode. In this, players progress through a mission-based structure, with each mission unlocking the next. The missions are set in different locales, and the environments themselves look great. The single player mode has a bit of variety though, with single player Death Races, Cop Chases and even Death Match battles.
187 features some good multiplayer options, for those who don't want to play alone. At any time, a second player can join in and play in co-op mode, with the action taking place through a split screen. Those with a network adaptor also have the option of going online. The online mode let's players take part in more than one game mode, such as Death Match and Death Race (and yes, these are two separate modes). Unfortunately we were unable to test the online mode, as, um, nobody else was on for us to race against.
Ubisoft has gone to a considerable amount of trouble to instil this game with high production values. The game features the voices and likenesses of people such as Larenz Tate (Menace II Society), Noel Gugliemi (Training Day) and Guerilla Black. All of these characters look very similar to their real life counterparts, and it's always good to have some familiar characters in the game.
The variety of cars in the game is also to be commended, with players able to choose from SUVs, sports cars, muscle cars and more. Each of the cars also has their own unique style, with all of them possessing different pros and cons. Depending on the track, choosing a muscle car isn't always the best thing to do.
It's also not a game for the kids, with swearing featuring heavily in the game, something that can be heard from the very beginning of the single player mode. During the actual game, the artificial intelligence will often swear as well, which is all terribly gangsta.
The actual gameplay of the title is very fast. Players are able to gain boost in numerous ways. The main way to gain boost is to skid around a corner. There are two different forms of boost, one speeds the player up just a little, whereas the other form of boost actually makes the car fly at breakneck speed.
Whilst the story mode is linear, the variety is definitely appreciated. Unlike Need for Speed, the game doesn't always take place at night. The variety of missions is appreciated, and it's always good to get to the next mission and realise that the mission is completely different to the one you just did.
The loading in the game is a little disappointing - just getting into the actual game can take about thirty seconds. Normally it's enough time for the player to be briefed on what they need to do, and then wait another ten seconds for the race to begin.
There are two different control schemes for players to choose from, there is an auto-aim system which is essential, but the advanced control scheme allows players to use the analogue stick to choose where to shoot. Whilst the advanced control scheme is definitely harder, it does allow the player to shoot at cars that are at obscure angles. Players can then also blow up stationary objects like fuel tanks.
The graphics in the game are good; there is a wide range of environments. The environments are all vibrant and have a decent amount of detail. When a player takes out a car the game slows down, and does a slow pan of the car you have just shot out of play. The one complaint we'd have is that the bottom of the car doesn't look very good; in fact it looks pretty average. However, the visuals on display here are impressive - this is a game where screenshots don't do the title justice.
Sound-wise, you really need to ask yourself if you like rap. If you're not a fan of rap, then the music in this title definitely isn't going to make you happy. If you're a fan of rap then there is plenty to like with this game, and we appreciate that Ubisoft have obtained a great soundtrack, to keep the game feeling even more authentic.
The game will take a while to complete as well. The single player mode contains unlockable cars and new players. The multiplayer mode really is where this game shines though, with online support also included. This is a multiplayer game that is likely to have you returning periodically.
187: Ride or Die is a decent racing game. It isn't good enough to be an instant classic like the two titles it is trying to imitate, but it was good enough to keep us entertained for a long time, and this was when we couldn't even play online. This game is definitely worth a look; however, those without multiplayer options may not be entertained long enough in single player.
187: Ride or Die retails for a smaller RRP of $49.95 in Australia. The game is full priced in America, so we're pleased that Ubisoft has treated Australian gamers to a rare price decrease. And make no mistake: this is one budget game with high production values.
24 Aug, 2005
24 Aug, 2005
187 Ride or Die Review
PS2 Review | Ride or Die? We know what we'd choose.
|187: Ride or Die is a decent racing game: those of you who've always wanted to shoot cars down while battling them in Burnout 3 will never turn back.||8|
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