It makes perfect sense that Fast Five hews so closely to last year's greatly ridiculous racer Split/Second – that game was practically the videogame equivalent of the Fast & Furious series. For those unfamiliar with the movies, simply stating “Vin Diesel plus fast cars” is probably enough to get across how over the top, dumb-but-fun they're intended to be. If it isn't, then consider this: the new film features at least one exploding toilet and a few cars that are able to drive sideways. Satisfied?
The game is similarly insane in a fun arcade way, and steps up by being a viable iOS racer - not just part of the movie's marketing campaign as a tie-in title. Acceleration happens automatically, freeing you up to steer using the forgiving controls and carefully manage your drifts. Mastering drifts takes time, but is useful in demolishing other cars on the track, particularly if you activate your nitro boosts while going into them. Nitro should be used carefully, though - get too careless and you'll wreck yourself.
Fortunately, you're given the ability to "rewind" the action should you wipe you through a stupid move you accidentally made. And you will wipe out a lot. In a nod to Split/Second, chunks of the game's set pieces may explode or fall apart at a moment's notice, potentially crushing you or other racers as you whiz underneath. The camera will zoom in for a moment, showing you where the trouble will be, and you have only an instant to react.
The game's lengthy campaign is peppered with moments like these, and the action only really slows down for the mandatory exposition for movie games: stills from the flick, with awkward dialog playing over it. Thankfully, a truism from all video gaming-dom holds here: You can skip past the cutscenes and get back to the game. Who'd have thought a movie game would be this good?
May 3, 2011