Full Auto 2
When Full Auto debuted on the Xbox 360 a few years ago, it was easy to ignore the shallowness of the game and even easier to focus on the brutal car combat taking place on our screens. The vehicular mayhem was fresh and unique enough not to get lost in the shadow of Twisted Metal, due primarily to the ability to rewind your crashes and correct your mistakes. Full Auto 2 takes place on the streets of Staunton City, a place where the description on the box says “the rules no longer apply!” You’ve been chosen by a computer to restore order to the city. The only way that normalcy can be restored is by you getting behind the wheels of cars and trucks decked out with weaponry and blowing up the roving gangs of soldiers that have turned “neighborhoods into battlezones.”
So the story is nonsense, but that was never the point to begin with. Full Auto 2 carries on the franchise tradition of sending you armed to the teeth into battle. While Full Auto 2 does have a number of demolition derby type challenges pitting you against an armada of enemies, the game also features a fairly competent arcade racing mode that also has you square off against an armada of enemies. The demolition derby matches usually put you against a powerful rival that you must defeat in order to advance in the game and to gain access to their vehicle. In nearly every match, you’re heavily outnumbered, but thanks to a healthy supply of powerups which do everything from repair your vehicle to improve your firepower, you’re never too disadvantaged.
The demolition derby matches were a constant challenge. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get a smile on my face every time I blew another car up or pushed his vehicle in front of a moving train to watch it get pulverized. But I just wish there were something more to this mode. Every battle plays out essentially the same due to a lack of variety. Most of the time, you’ll end up just driving around in circles trying to get good shots on your opponents, rather than try anything fancy or interesting.
Full Auto 2’s saving grace is found in the racing component. This adds the excitement and destruction of the demolition derby matches and combines it with frantic arcade racing. The results are good. Watching your bullets rip through a store front as you power slide around a corner in hot pursuit of your enemy is just cool. Looking behind you and watching your rear grenade launcher blow up a pursuer is unique, original, and still fun. In addition to having to come in first place, you’re also assigned primary and secondary objectives. Some races may require you to blow up a particular rival, while others ask you to eliminate certain enemies. And, like in Full Auto, if you wreck, you can always rewind and start over, provided of course you have earned the ability to do so by taking down rivals and performing sweet maneuvers.
But eventually, the novelty of it all wears off, and you’ll find that you’re just plowing through races as quick as you can. In the beginning, I was completing every secondary objective I could. By about an hour into the game, I found myself just trying to get by completing as few objectives as possible because I was bored. Unlocking secondary objectives doesn’t really provide you with any bonuses other than alternate skins for your car. I had chased down four or five rivals already and blown his crew of cronies to smithereens. I kept asking myself, how many more of these guys am I going to have to kill? That’s not what I should be asking myself when I’m trying to enjoy a game.
Thankfully, the explosions always manage to look good. The developers didn’t put too much time into updating the graphics for the PS3 from the original Xbox 360 game, but the look of the game is still impressive. Though occasionally Full Auto 2 slows down due to all the on-screen carnage, this problem is negligible and most explosions come at you bright and clear. Your bullets will shred through walls and if you pay close enough attention, you’ll be able to see shattering glass and chunks of the building flying in every direction. While not the best looking game on the system, Full Auto 2’s graphics engine is more the competent. Sound effects are also very robust, with gun shots and explosions booming in full-force, particularly if you’ve got a surround sound hooked up. The deep shotgun blasts are room shaking.
Full Auto 2 is an incredibly shallow, mildly entertaining experience. There’s not much to the game in terms of depth or variety, but there’s some primal entertainment to be found in all the explosions. The game isn’t substantially improved over Full Auto for the Xbox 360, so if you’ve played that, it is best to avoid Full Auto 2. I also don’t suggest picking this up over some of the better PS3 titles, either. But if you find yourself bored with the PS3 library and you’re looking for something to fill the time between big-named releases, scour your local store’s bargain bin and try to find it.