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187 Ride or Die

It’s hard to believe that 187 Ride or Die is developed and published by Ubisoft. They’ve brought us Far Cry, Prince of Persia, Brothers in Arms and Splinter Cell to name a few, yet someone took the decision to create a title that barely lives up to the standard of any of their previous titles. 187 thoughtlessly shoehorns one genre into another, throwing in stereotypes that create a laughable mess of a game.

Drive, shoot, drive, shoot, yeah!

Essentially, 187 is like Mario Kart with gangsters, but the end result isn’t half as fun as the premise sounds. Almost all of the game’s modes including its supposedly plot-driven Story revolve around the same use of combat racing, which sees you both driving and shooting around various urban settings. Powerups litter the tracks, which when passed over triggers your ‘homie’ to reach out of the sun roof with a weapon of some sort, which you can then fire in front or behind you. A nitrous boost which builds up when you skid around corners also adds a slither of depth to a game mechanic which is unashamedly shallow.

It isn’t 187‘s lack of complexity which brings it so far off course though; it’s the game’s hugely unbalanced execution. There seems to be an underlying notion that every event needs to be as tight as possible, won at the last corner by a fraction of a second. The game’s inbuilt bias severely undermines its credibility, forcing your AI opponents to slow down when you’re not doing so well and speed up when you’re in the lead. Subtly done, this could work well, but playing 187 often feels like an uphill struggle against a computer which obviously cheats. On top of the elastic performance of your enemies, if their cars are destroyed they are instantly replaced, which makes the game’s weapons somewhat useless.

Drive and shoot again! C’mon, more driving and shooting!

187‘s handling model is quite adequate for the arcade style of play that it presents, but there are so many details that appear to fight against you that it’s not worth putting in the effort in the first place. The civilian traffic on the circuits is too numerous, the default camera angle is definitely not the best choice of the three and the danger of specific on-track objects isn’t marked clearly enough. The result of all this is a frustrating mess which sees you attempting each race countless times until you slam down the controller and go to play something far more worthy of your time.

Hang on, how can you driving and shooting with no cars?

On top of the somewhat lackluster gameplay is the ‘me too’ gangster theme, complete with swearing, hip hop and rap. Far from subtle, 187‘s rendition of this world is so forced that it almost becomes a parody of the scene it tries to portray. Cutscenes and voiceovers which are suitably generic do little to form a storyline around the gameplay or set it apart from its competition. 187 tries far too hard to walk the walk and talk the talk, when it should embrace its cheesy collection of clich├ęs with its tongue firmly in cheek.

That’s more like it, yeah! Driving and shooting! Again!

Graphically, 187 is at least competent, keeping up an impressive frame rate throughout. A number of cool effects litter the colourful visuals, exaggerating the game’s arcade gameplay throughout. There may not be much attention to detail, but 187 is polished and fast enough to pass off as a reasonably good looking game.

Multiplayer options, offline and online, are perhaps the best way to experience 187 Ride or Die, but it’s little consolation for the mediocre singleplayer modes. The presentation is passable, but the gameplay and attempt at gangster scene is far from so. As a rental for a gaming session with friends, this is perhaps recommendable for a quick thrill, but otherwise it reveals itself to be tiresome, frustrating, unimaginative and undoubtedly a waste of money.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is the Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2000. Get in touch on Twitter @PhilipMorton.

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