Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice Preview
Pursuit Force was one of those games that registered high on both the entertainment and frustration meters. While it could be crazy fun to play, most would find it extremely difficult to complete the later levels, and even worse, we'd have to sit through the same cut-scene over and over and over when we continued to fail. It was arguably the biggest flaw of the game, which offered an interesting concept and - for the most part - delivered on the gameplay. It was good enough to warrant a sequel, so here's a look at Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice, which is scheduled to arrive in January 2008. We'll be hoping for a slightly more accessible learning curve along with refined controls and perhaps a deeper gameplay experience. Now, there are a lot of great PSP games out there already, so if this one wants to compete with the likes of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops+ and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, it's going to have to excel in all areas of handheld enjoyment. But without sounding too much like cheerleaders, we believe BigBig Studios can do it!
If you played the original, chances are, you had some serious fun leaping to a bad guy's vehicle seconds before yours was about to explode in flame. Yeah, getting all acrobatic at high speeds is great, and it's certainly going to return in the sequel. Obviously, we're not talking about a simulator; we're talking about a fast-paced, hectic arcade-based title that thrives on a lot of gunfire and explosions (and we wouldn't have it any other way). The sequel will boast the same set of standard controls as before, as you will drive with the left analog and shoot at targets with the right shoulder trigger. When prompted, you can scramble aboard other vehicles, provided they're in range, and that's the big crowd-pleaser. Furthermore, even though it's hardly realistic, all the vehicles will drive very differently, which is a definite plus. In other words, the big ol' truck won't be anywhere near as maneuverable as your patrol car, but it'll be more resistant and should last longer in close quarters. This also serves to add a bit of freedom to a linear and straightforward game, because you don't have to switch vehicles; most of the time, you have the option.
One of the most appealing aspects of the original title was the combination of third-person shooter aspects and the run ‘n gun vehicle driving. This should make its triumphant return in the sequel, as we will be chasing down all kinds of baddies fleeing from the strong arm of the law. You might have to forcefully eject some of those drivers from their cars before taking over, which is another very sweet GTA-ish type of feature. Capital City is once again swarming with baddies and other things that might threaten the citizens, and it's your job to clean things up (yeah, it's a pretty common theme in video games, we know). But before you chalk this up as yet another generic action title, there are a few things you should be aware of; first and foremost are the additions to Extreme Justice. BigBig Studio has worked to insure this sequel isn't a plain ol' rehash with barely enough extra stuff to fill an expansion pack. No, this time around, you can expect a deeper and more involving experience thanks to new gangs and a rival law enforcement agency that's more vigilante and less standard police.
New gangs will specialize in their own brand of violence and chaos, which means you might have to deal with each in different ways. The rival law squad is called Viper, and while we can't be entirely sure, we'd assume they're going to get in the way of your "pursuits" (pun intended). Put these two together, and we almost want to worry that the difficulty will actually be higher than the original. Oh man...let's hope not. However, to assist you in dealing with the new obstacles is a string of new vehicles to utilize in your noble efforts: we'll get tanks, hovercrafts, jet skis, helicopters, trains, and even airplanes! Another fresh feature is the Justice Bar that will let you regain strength, which should make things easier, and with all those vehicles, we'd like to think our character has the upper hand. We don't expect a walk in the park, of course, but we do expect a feeling of supremacy when controlling a tank, for example. Length-wise, we're expecting something similar to the original title, although it appears there may be a lot more to do, which could translate to more gameplay hours.
Lastly, we get the benefit of a four-player wireless mode in case you have some friends who want to get in on the fun. Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice should turn out to be a fine title for early 2008, so keep an eye on this one, PSP owners!
11/26/2007 Ben Dutka