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Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (PS2)

When I first heard about Wreckless being previewed on XBox, it showed a lot like another popular game that was released earlier that year that we're all familiar with. Mob intrigue, dirty cops, gangs, and a large, detailed living city complete with traffic and pedestrians just waiting to be destroyed. Reading the reviews I heard differently. Though I never played the XBox version, reading about it I learned it was a graphical tour-de-force that had more flash than substance. The Playstation 2 version can be view as almost an entirely different game -- almost a sequel. Though the graphics have been stunted, Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions for PS2 is a far more engaging game from what I hear. It's a much more "complete" game. This Wreckless has more levels, changes in the gameplay, unlockable cheats, extra cars, multiplayer modes, and bonus objectives.

Gameplay is a mix of Spy Hunter and Driver for the PS1, but leaning almost fully toward the arcade element. Missions range from chasing cars, driving against the clock, escorting vehicles, and smashing enemy vehicles.

All of the cars are now fitted with missiles, but in order not to throw off the gameplay too much (cheaters could just slam their whole payload into the car they're chasing) the developers lowered the stopping power of these missiles compared to what you'd expect. You'll find yourself mostly using your missiles to break through upcoming road hazards or to slow down the car you're chasing enough to smash it into pieces.

Like another popular game we've grown fond of, Wreckless has a living city teeming with AI pedestrians walking about its sidewalks and buildings. There are literally thousands of objects to slam into and knock around making it look like an authentic Hong Kong action movie. Unlike the XBox version, there's the added bonus of actually being able to hit the pedestrians with your car instead of them magically diving away from the car at the last seconds. Slamming into passersby purposely though isn't very fulfilling. Unlike GTA, they just sort of roll of your hood when you hit them.

Two player mode is unique in the fact that the two players don't have a split screen, they share the same screen like a puzzle or fighting game. One might ask how that works in a driving game. Well I'll tell you. In the mode where one player is the chaser and the other is the one being chased, for example, the chaser is the one closer to the screen and the chasee is the one further away from the screen. Sometimes it gets a bit complicated to keep track of. Even worse is the fact that if one player gets too far ahead or looses track of the other, the game resets.

Though, there is an abundance of single player and multiplayer games each offering their own challenges and calling on different skills. One multiplayer game, for example, puts one player in the role of a bus with a bomb planted on it. The other player takes control of an armored car. The object is for the armored car to clear a trail through the city to keep the bus from falling below 50 miles per hour and blowing up. It's easier said than done.

The graphics are still top notch, though nowhere near XBox quality. Most of the city goes by in a blur, and the lack of detail is made up for by the sheer amount of objects and action on screen at once. The framerate hardly dips even in the 2 player modes.

The Bottom Line: Just as fun as Spy Hunter, but twice as repetitive. There's a lot of flash here, and a fair amount of substance to back it up.

Rating: 7.1/10
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