We’ve all been to cinema at some point, and it’s likely that we’ve all felt that sense of immersion that only a screen of such ridiculous size can provide. Somehow, despite the equipment being noticeably smaller than a cinema screen, Pursuit Force manages the same feat on the PSP. Impressive? Yes, we think so.
It really is quite a ride. Your chases will take you across all terrains and through many varying missions. Tailing, convoy protection and manhunts are all part of the package and to get the perfect ranks on each mission is a hefty task. The real gem that the game has to offer is the chance to take control of other vehicles. Rather than being confined to the car/boat/bike that you start a section in, almost every vehicle you see can be boarded, the occupants disposed of, and the vehicle then used to continue the chase. It sounds as if it won’t work. It probably shouldn’t, but it does – excellently in fact. It looks special every time you do it and it soon becomes an essential manoeuvre if you want to ensure survival.
Every racing game should do this from now on, and even when it goes into bullet-time, our brains won’t let us think it’s rubbish. It’s that good. This bullet-time can be triggered by killing enemies, stealing vehicles and building a meter. Dodgy deeds (or ‘Lawbreakers’) will lower this bar accordingly, so you’ll need to drive safely and lay off the innocents if you wish to make the most of your abilities.
Hidden among all this shininess, though, are a few problems. The most obvious of these are the times when you’re forced outside of your vehicle and asked to dispose of foes on-foot. What we mean, is not that these areas don’t work, it’s just that they show far less innovation and depth then the other sections. They’re simply run and shoot areas. That’s it. The only other move you can do is duck, so any form of tactical approach is pretty much impossible. Still, they do break up the game nicely and, although it might be the most noticeable, this is certainly not our main gripe.
No, this comes in the form of the difficulty level. Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re certainly not scared of a bit of hard work and we’ve seen off some of the toughest titles known to man, but Pursuit Force features a different kind of difficulty. As the game progresses, you will soon find that it becomes impossible not to die. Not through lack of skills, but through unfortunate incidents that lead to huge loss of life. In come cases, the completion of a level will depend greatly on whether you happen to have a bar available to boost your life up or an enemy vehicle appearing at a certain time and you managing to commandeer it before your car is destroyed – in short, a tad unpredictable until you know the levels like the back of your hand. To make it worse, a death can set you back a good quarter of an hour in some cases, and most of the stages aren’t sufficiently interesting to keep you playing through them countless times. Once, twice, three times – maybe. Ten times? No.
There is however, no strict set path through the levels and multiple levels will usually be available to you depending on rank. This at least gives an alternative to replaying one level, and softens the blow adequately enough for us to forgive this niggling annoyance and continue loving it for the fresh experience it provides.