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Full Auto review

Sega brings another original game to 360's 'launch window'

We won't mess about here. It's fast cars with guns on them. While we're a mere heartbeat into the lifespan of a new age of gaming, Full Auto roars off back to the mid-'90s with its windows down and sound system up.

Yep, Pseudo has resurrected the idea of mixing two of man's favourite things: driving and weapons. It's hardly a concept that encapsulates the new golden age of gaming. And when you first hit the tarmac in Full Auto, that underwhelming feeling seems harder to shake than lead maracas.

But with Full Auto first impressions mean nought. Like any decent sports car, you've got to get a bit of mileage in before you can fully appreciate it, and as you go through the gears, you'll experience exhilarating moments that remind you just why you love pointless arcade racers in the first place.

Each car is equipped with a couple of weapons (from missiles, mines, grenades, cannons, machine guns to - the most implausible of all - the shotgun), there's the obligatory boost bar and the shamelessly stolen and uncomfortably titled 'unwreck button.'

This is the Prince of Persia-style rewind button that lets you dodge that missile, catch the ramp you missed and take out opponents who escaped first time round.

Yes, it's quite clever and no, it doesn't work in multiplayer, but ultimately we couldn't get past the feeling that on some level, we were basically cheating. It's a guilty convenience rather than a liberating game mechanic.

Once you're strapped in, it's a case of slamming around the track while taking out opponents. As you progress you'll be challenged with different objectives like taking out specific rivals, destroying vehicles, beating the clock or playing with one life.

So far, so average.

Where Full Auto excels is in its destructible environments. Sure, it's a developer buzz-word that's moved into standard gaming language and usually translates as 'you can knock over the odd barrel.' Not here. When the game peaks, it ties destruction together in moments of unadulterated gaming joy.

Full Auto invites and, in fact, celebrates destruction unlike any game before.
We can't stress this enough, everything breaks and everything puts that same little question in your head: what would happen if I drove into that?

All this carnage will earn you 'wreck points', which are like Nectar points for really, really dangerous drivers, and let you unlock extremely mediocre rewards like extra colours for the cars and suchlike.

Sure, you'll also increase your medal rating at the end, but it's not about the points. It's about the carnage.

More Info

GenreRacing
DescriptionPsuedo Interactive has packed in a variety of surprising treats to sweeten the diabetic's nightmare that is Full Auto.
PlatformXbox 360
Release date21 February 2006 (US), 21 February 2006 (UK)