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Anthony Capone
23 Jan, 2008

Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice Review

PSP Review | A force to be reckoned with.
Pursuit Force was one of the first interesting games to grace Sony's PlayStation Portable. The first-party title offered players something different, but its difficulty curve stopped many from finishing the game or even purchasing it altogether. This issue has been addressed somewhat in developer BigBig's latest foray into the series, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice. Again made specifically with the PlayStation Portable in mind (although a PlayStation 2 version is set to grace shelves later in the year), the game is extreme in every sense of the word – from the cars, characters and story to the jaw-dropping boss battles, there isn't a moment of Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice that isn't over the top. However, it is this over-indulgence and the numerous and varied missions that makes the latest Pursuit Force an extremely fun ride, even for those not particularly interested by the car racing genre.

In Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice, players assume the role of an officer in Capital City's distinguished police squad, Pursuit Force. As commander of an elite crew tasked with ensuring the city's security, players have to go to countless extremes – in keeping with the game's title – to bring down the bad guys. Indeed, you are frequently able to overstep the traditional bounds of justice in dealing with criminals, for example, by carjacking citizens in order to get a ride, to strapping convicts on the front of your motor to scare information out of them.

Essentially, there are four different types of gameplay in Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice – driving, controlling turrets, sniping, and levels that take place on foot. Driving sequences easily make for the bulk of assignments, but they are nicely broken up by the other three mission types. Players can take the helm of numerous cars, motorbikes, hovercraft or speedboats in any of the game's various levels. Even for those not familiar with racing games, we can happily report that the driving controls are very easy to pick up. The vehicles are simple to control, and it isn't too hard to manoeuvre around tight corners. Though driving missions eventually get tougher to master, players will be given plenty of practice along the way.

Excuse me, but you're in the road.

Excuse me, but you're in the road.
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The controls for shooting while driving are, for the most part, well implemented. Once enemies are close enough, the game will lock onto them – usually. Annoyingly, you will sometimes have to lock onto foes manually using with the left trigger, which is also used for cycling through targets. On the positive side, there are never too many enemies on-screen at once, so you won't be mindlessly scrolling through targets to pick the one you want to shoot at. When you do shot or ram into enough enemies, the 'justice meter' – a circle in the top left on the screen – will gradually begin to fill up. By pushing the triangle button, accumulated 'justice' juice can be used to refill character and vehicle health. If you crash into civilians cars though, you will lose points from the justice meter.

Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice famously allows players to jump from one vehicle to the other. When you jump onto another car or boat, you first have to shoot all the enemies inside before you can take control of the vehicle. This tactic is especially entertaining, and helps add variety to the pursuit sequences. It is also useful for acquiring a new vehicle when your old one has taken too much damage. If the justice meter is full when you jump vehicles, the game will go into slow-motion, allowing you shoot enemies before landing.

As well as gunning down criminals, there are a range of other tasks you have to complete on the roads. Following enemy convoys from a safe distance, scaring criminals tied to the front of your car by driving mindlessly through traffic and avoiding enemy artillery fire are just some of the other car-based missions players will be assigned. By having different tasks to complete besides the usual drive-and-shoot levels, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice seldom feels repetitive or dull.

Shooting and driving won't be all that you do in this game.

Shooting and driving won't be all that you do in this game.
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The other sniping and turret missions are controlled easily through the analogue stick, but are sometimes more challenging then driving tasks. In turret stages, players take control of the helicopter or jeep machine-gun and have to shoot down a certain amount of targets before the level's end. Sniping assignments, which often take place in flight, require more precise aiming, but players are assisted by the zoom function. There are also a few situations that require you to hit the face buttons in a predetermined sequence, as displayed on the screen. This feature appears intermittently, and gets harder of the course of the game. Nonetheless, in addition to sniping and turret assignments, it makes a welcome change of pace and makes Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice a diverse game experience.

Unlike the other missions, on-foot levels are more of a hurdle. The controls are very basic – you can either move and shoot at the same time with reduced accuracy, or be zoom in with only the able to strafe. The AI for these assignments aren't too smart – they will either come running directly at you or leave themselves fully exposed. However, this doesn't mean players will have an easy time as it only takes a few shots to significantly reduced character health. Even though the game locks onto enemies in the general direction of your crosshairs (when you aren't zoomed in), what it really needs some kind of dedicated lock-on scheme, similar to the Syphon Filter PSP games. Nonetheless, the setup is still adequate enough to get players through the on-foot levels.

Boss battles in Pursuit Force are outlandish but astonishing – memorable encounters included a showdown on the roof of a speeding firetruck and a skirmish atop the wings of an aeroplane. Boss encounters are still extremely difficult, mostly due to time constraints and limited player health, and some players may find themself repeating these levels endlessly. The difficult curve is one of the more negative aspects of Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice, but this time round, BigBig has gone someway to addressing the problem. Levels get harder progressively, and as you learn strategies for taking out the bosses, the game becomes easier. Nonetheless, players may become so frustrated at the seemingly infinite amounts of death that they will not return to the game.

One has to change vehicles every now and then – especially if you're chasing criminals.

One has to change vehicles every now and then – especially if you're chasing criminals.
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Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice is one of the prettier PlayStation Portable games. Environments and vehicles are highly detailed, and backgrounds will impress. Textures and animations are solid, but on-foot levels sometimes seem bland. We never experienced any problems with the game's frame rate, and our only real gripe was with the appearance of characters – they all look rather cartoonist, which may be in keeping with the game's context, but not the overall quality of its look. In terms of audio, the soundtrack consists of few likable tunes that assist in inspiring the intense atmosphere of pursuit sequences. Sound effects are basic, but serviceable. The voice-acting plays like something from a day-time soap, but this gels with Pursuit Force's over-the-top feel.

Pursuit Force will keep players occupied for a few weeks with its 50-plus levels. You can replay any single-player missions in Bounty and Challenge modes to earn points that can be put towards the game's various unlocks. Multiplayer includes both versus and co-op, and allows players to become either cops or robbers in chase-style missions. Though on-foot modes are forgettable, vehicle-based multiplayer is extremely entertaining, especially when you take the wheel and have a friend control the monstrous rear-mounted turret.

Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice is a highly enjoyable game that should appeal to all adrenaline-inclined PlayStation Portable owners. Diverse player assignments make for a thrilling ride, even though on on-foot missions dwindle in comparison to 200 kph-plus highway shootouts. Featuring solid controls and detailed graphics, BigBig's latest action game should keep fans entertained for hours. The only spike in Pursuit Force's road is its difficulty curve – the eight-cylinder beast may prove too tough to tame for some players.
The Score
Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice is an entertaining action game with plenty to do and see. Though players won't bore of tearing up the highway in a cop car, boss battles may eventually get the better of you.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice Content

eGames 07: Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice preview
17 Nov, 2007 Extreme crime calls for extreme justice.
Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice announced
18 Jan, 2007 Coming to the PlayStation 2 and the PSP.
This week's releases - 3/12/07
03 Dec, 2007 Sing your fortunes away.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  13/12/2007 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $59.95 AU
Publisher:
  Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre:
  Action Adventure
Year Made:
  2007
Players:
  1

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