So every night, this guy frizzes and waxes his hair, puts on a spot of eyeliner, dons skinny jeans and adopts a lisp. He heads to a bar, and chats up every girl he sees. Most of them take one look and leave – he looks cheap and ridiculous. Once in a while though, a girl – maybe she’s drunk, maybe she’s stupid – thinks ‘yeah. He looks like Criss Angel. This’ll be amazing!’
Overspeed: High Performance Street Racing and Need for Speed. Same situation. An ill-informed or half-drunk punter might clock the similar logo and boxart, get excited by the tiny price, and then this horror finds its way onto their PC. It happens just often enough to make publishing this cheap, noisy, repetitive street racer worthwhile. With its nasty, clunky handling, rock bottom customisation options and insipid, samey tracks, it’ll only irk the modded car crowd it’s preaching too. It certainly doesn’t have anything to offer anyone else. Each successful race wins you a new part for your car, be it a nitrous oxide system, a bloated bumper or a new engine, and there’s an initial sense of purpose to unlocking more of these. Once it becomes apparent that they make only minimal difference to your car’s handling and performance, however, the game is revealed for the dreary, middling affair it really is.
Another thing – this is the first racer we’ve played since GRID, and already it’s clear just how important that game’s instant replay system is. Overspeed’s torturous spin-outs pretty much end the race every time, and it’s impossible not to wish for a flashback system so that a single mistake didn’t spell such doom. This is one omission that’s not actually Overspeed’s fault, but in the same way FPS games at large started seeming that much more gormless post-Half-Life 2, so many racers are now backwards next to GRID. And though Codemaster’s game may not be about illegal streetracing, it still offers more customisation, more adrenalised brutality and more, well, ‘overspeed’ than this cash-in. Yeah, this is only a fiver – but hey, TrackMania Nations is free.
Jul 30, 2008