The success of the Burnout series has spawned new interest
in the arcade racing genre. Sure, racing games have always been popular, but
itís rare that an arcade-style game garners votes for game of the year like
Burnout 3 did in 2004. One game thatís looking to capitalize on the genreís
popularity is L.A. Rush, a console only update of the popular arcade series.
Rush takes the frantic action of Burnout and mixes it with the ďgo anywhereĒ
freedom of games like Need For Speed: Underground and Midnight Club. After
getting some hands-on time with the game, itís looking much better than it did
at E3, but it still feels like your average arcade racer.
As you may have guessed, the racing in L.A. Rush takes place in Los Angeles. All of the famous areas of the city from Hollywood, Santa Monica, South Bay, South Central, and Downtown are in the game. The city design is far from realistic, and itís done on a much smaller scale, but most of the cityís recognizable locations are in the game. The visuals are solid, but thereís a fair amount of pop-up, and many, many of the buildings look the same. The vehicles are nice looking, and of course, each one is fully destructible. When you wreck, the game cuts to a slow motion, cinematic angle that shows the carnage in great detail. Itís here that the visuals are most impressive.
Thereís also a roaming mode where you can explore the city,
learn routes, and basically do whatever you want. Since many things are
destructible, itís fun to drive around and smash into things Ė including the
Hollywood sign. As you cause damage, the cops will take notice and try and put
an end to your rampage. A weird quirk I noticed was that the police wonít chase
you if you drive off the road up a hill; they just give up and go about their
business. Obviously this can be fixed before the final release, but itís worth
Rush will allow you to race, modify, steal and pimp over 50 rides, and you can do it in style since the game has a licensing deal with West Coast Customs and Rides Magazine. Manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Cadillac, and Chevrolet are included in the game, giving it a robust list of destructible cars. Some of the vehicles are:
2005 Dodge Magnum RT
Rush is going to feature an impressive soundtrack that contains over 75 songs from over 25 artists including Lil Kim and DJ Rap, two unreleased tracks by Twista, four original songs by Damian Valentine and more. Youíre sure to find at least a few songs in there that you like.
Keep in mind that the gameís story mode, where Midway promises a bulk of the gameplay, was not playable, so we didnít get to experience stealing cars, pimp our rides, nor did we get to see any of the cut-scenes. Itís really going to come down to how all of this is implemented to determine whether or not the game is going to be able to stand apart of the crowd of games this holiday season.
9/9/2005 Aaron Thomas