Sept 4, 2007
The apocalypse has come and gone, and the world is in ruins. Perhaps the greatest tragedy, though, is not the mass property damage or (presumably) the staggering loss of life, but more what the survivors have decided to do with the time left them. They’re wasting away their days playing a crappy extreme sport involving fidgety hoverboards, boring arenas and awful techno music.
Street Trace is like SSX meets Twisted Metal, but not even a fraction as cool as that sounds. And the reason, first and foremost, is that the game controls really, really poorly. The hoverboards are zippy and nimble, but turning is a ridiculous chore, made worse by the fact that the only way to take a sharp turn is to hit the “brakes” and become a sitting duck for a few seconds as you reposition yourself.
Otherwise you careen around a small handful of levels finding and upgrading an even smaller selection of weapons, all of which are mapped to the various triggers and bumpers on the 360 controller. And this would be alright, except that, even with the help of automatic targeting, it’s hard to draw a bead on your enemies. Plus the wonky camera doesn’t help in the least, particularly when you grind over various pipes in each arena.
And for the complexity of the controls in general, the game never rises above its simplicity. That would be great for most Live Arcade games, but not here. Here it means that the draw of single system or online multiplayer is really limited. And considering the single-player modes are even less compelling and less fun, it spells doom for Street Trace.
The game’s presentation doesn’t help things along, either. You’d think the apocalypse would have left something interesting to look at, even if it was spectacularly destroyed landmarks. But Street Trace is downright boring in every way. And the characters are straight out of a Rendering 101 Junior mid-term, complete with clichéd catch-phrases that are repeated way too often.
Street Trace at half the price still wouldn’t be worthy of purchase. It’s a sound idea that’s torpedoed by poor design and bad play mechanics.