Fast & Furious: Showdown Review
The Fast & Furious movies are extremely successful, with over-the-top action surrounding them all. So it only makes sense to release a game to coincide with one of the movies. It’s just a real shame Activision chose Fast & Furious Showdown to try to show off the intensity of the Fast franchise.
Sense of speed and great looking cars are two key features for the Fast & Furious franchise. You better go watch the movies, then, because neither of those are in Showdown. Instead you get a game that looks, plays and sounds like something from the early PlayStation 2 years.
It’s a racing game, yet it’s also not at the same time. There are actually very few racing events within the 30 story missions. The majority of each mission consist of you driving to a destination to destroy cargo or to just get away from enemies. To destroy cargo means you will need a weapon, and the game has plenty to offer; assault rifles, grenade launchers, and even and EMP gun are all at your disposal. Luckily, if you decide to play the game in single player and not co-op, you can let the computer take over the shooting for you. That is the one area where the A.I. shines, they do a great job at destroying enemy vehicles. I just wish the A.I. for the other drivers was just as good.
The way the cars handle make them feel more like they are on ice than asphalt, and definitely do not resemble racing or getaway vehicles. Add that to the atrocious A.I. drivers and it all adds up to make one of worst gameplay experiences for a racing game.
Draw distance on certain tracks is some of the worst on any racing game I have seen. It makes it incredibly hard to know when oncoming traffic will be near you and where the next possible turn will be at, especially on the highway and night tracks (they're being drawn-in right before you see them). And that is just one of the many problems with Fast & Furious: Showdown.
When neutralizing an enemy, which is basically taking them out, the camera will pan to the car you just took out. This makes getting back into the action a little tougher because the computer takes over control of the car during that and does not do a good job.
But the camera and draw distance are just two issues. During my play time with the game, there were times when enemy drivers would simply just stop in the middle of the road. This really became a nuisance when in one particular mission an oil tanker does this and makes it impossible to complete the mission. This happened every time the checkpoint would restart until I just had to replay that whole area again.
Physics are also something that never seems right. At times, cars will simply fly into the air when you hit them. This is obvious when you play the second mission of the game where you have to drag a safe to a checkpoint.
When not discussing all the bad things that are located in Showdown, there are mods which are unlocked throughout that give you better accuracy and more health. Having that is a good idea, but none of them can help the gameplay.
Convoluted is a good word to describe the story mode. From the beginning, the game tries to explain what's happening with CG cutscenes. Most of them, however, do a terrible job. It's really best to just skip the cutscenes because none of them do anything substantial for the story or gameplay.
None of the actors from the movie franchise lend their voices to the game but some of their likenesses are used. The voice actor for Paul Walker manages to be worse at acting than the actual Paul Walker, which is a feat. The story mode, aptly titled Fast & Furious, tries to act like one of the movies; but from the acting to the setup, it all falls completely flat.
There are different event types that try to add some variety to the story. Races, hijacks and heists are three of the different events you can play; unfortunately none of them are any fun due to the poor A.I. and handling model. As previously mentioned, the shooting is better left to your computer partner because the aiming is so awful that it will make just about anyone frustrated.
Mexico, Tokyo and Moscow are just three of the locations you’ll be able to travel to in the game, with you traveling to some twice. The night tracks in cities like Tokyo are some of the worst. The draw distance is exceptionally bad during the events on those tracks.
There is co-op and you can even notice it when playing single player because you can switch between two different players during each mission. Co-op would obviously make this game better; unfortunately there is no online co-op, it’s local, split-screen only.
Outside of the story mode are challenges that will require you to defend your car, hit a certain speed, or destroy your car in unique ways. Most of these challenges have been in other racing games and had way better execution, but they are more enjoyable than the main story mode.
This makes for the second game Firebrand Games has developed for home consoles, the first being NASCAR Unleashed. One would think that their second game would be better than their first. When in actuality it’s far, far worse. The iOS game that is also releasing alongside Fast & Furious 6 does a better job at capturing the overall feel of the movies. And when you really sit down and put everything together, Fast & Furious: Showdown will go down as one of the worst racing games you can play on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Visuals: Fast & Furious: Showdown looks like a PlayStation 2/Original Xbox game that has been ported to HD consoles. Everything just looks bland and washed out. The frame rate also drops several times during races.
Audio: Cars sound horrible and the voice acting is below par since the movie cast do not lend their voices. There are songs included in the game, but you really don’t want to listen to them multiple times, so you are better off just listening to your own music when playing this game.
Value: Fast & Furious: Showdown does its best to make sure you are not having fun with the handling of the cars, the A.I. and the way certain tracks are designed. The only value here is if you pride yourself on playing the latest and worst in the video game world.
Score: 2.0 (Awful)