52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming - Week 7
Release Date: February 15, 2006
Developer: Pseudo Interactive
ESRB Rating: Teen
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
Recently I watched the movie Death Race starring Jason Statham and though of how much fun a racing game would be with the addition of guns. I know from experience that many times while playing PGR3, watching my friend pull away from me, that I wished for a rocket to even the odds a bit. Full Auto is just that, a racing game with guns.
Full Auto was developed by new defunct Ontario based developer Pseudo Interactive. The game is a racer, but unlike most typical racers, racing is only part of the challenge that awaits players. Each race contains one or more objectives that must be met to complete the race. Race objectives vary depending on the race but will mostly include finishing in the top 3 spots, causing a specific amount of damage, taking down a specific amount of rivals or possibly a combination of all of the above.
The game features a great assortment of fictional vehicles (no driving any real licensed cars here) that are unlocked as events are completed. The game features 4 classes of vehicles to enjoy racing (and destroying). In the beginning, gamers will be using Class C cars which are slow and very though. As the game progresses, class B and A vehicles will become available. These vehicles are faster, but cannot absorb as much damage leaving very little room for error. There is also an S class vehicle (a super vehicle) that can be unlocked in the game.
(Click for larger image)
Each vehicle will be fitted with an assortment of pre-configured front and rear weapons. Why the developers did not allow the player to choose which front a rear weapon they wanted is a mystery and a shame. I loved the rocket launcher, but it always came with a smoker for the rear weapon when I preferred to use grenades to cover my rear (that line makes it's own jokes). Regardless of the weapons chosen, they will all be used to damage the environment and competing racers. Causing damage is extremely important in this game as it will fill up the player's “unwreck” meter. The unwreck feature basically rewinds time allowing to recover from a crash, a bad turn or a missed shortcut. The feature can be used as many times as desired as long as there is some unwreck juice left in the meter. Once unwreck meter has been drained, it can only be refilled by causing destroying stuff. Proper use of the unwreck feature is crucial as it appears that the developers of Full Auto put extra effort to figure out at what point the player’s car would be edging on the brink of uncontrollability and then drop a wall or pillar in the way.
(Click for larger image)
This leads up to track design. The various tracks that make up the game are well designed and quite challenging. Each track features a partial destructive environment and plenty of shortcuts. Indeed many shortcuts can only be found by crashing into stuff (or blowing it up). The biggest problem with Full Auto is that there are simply not enough tracks. The game tries to compensate for the limited selection by having different race objective each time it reuses a track. This does little to stop that repetitive feeling. Each completed race will earn the player a rank of completed (bronze), semi-auto (silver) or full-auto (gold) depending on the objective obtained. The rank obtained will determine what bonuses are unlocked. These bonuses can vary from new vehicles to new colours.
The graphics in Full Auto are what you can expect from a game that has celebrated it’s 3rd anniversary. The game looks OK, but nothing special and compared to racers such as Burnout Paradise and GRiD. It is important to note that when compared to other early Xbox 360 racers such as PGR3 and Burnout Revenge, the game actually is very nice. The interface is clean and does an effective job at supplying the gamer with all the required information, not an easy task as there is plenty of required information such position, damage, weapons, shield, speed, and various meters and mini map.
I could see that the real potential of Full Auto would be with it's frantic multiplayer aspect. I dreamt of competing against 7 other players on Xbox Live, recreating the scenes of Death Race, but alas as it turned out, no on plays Full Auto anymore.