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Full Auto Xbox 360

Published by SEGA
Developed by Pseudo Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £49.99

Full Auto, an introduction.

When news of the first wave of Xbox 360 titles began to trickle through last year, one of the games that had a lot of people interested was Full Auto. The game had potential from the look of the screenshots and with the promise of being able to cause mass destruction and race around cities, it certainly looked like it was going to be one heck of an entertaining game. Fast forward to February 2006 and here we have the finished article. In some ways it disappoints but in terms of the destruction you can cause, it definitely delivers on those early promises.

What's the game about?

Full Auto is a combat racing game of mass destruction. Having cars equipped with guns is certainly not an original concept but causing destruction on such a massive scale and having the ability to 'rewind' your actions certainly is. Full Auto has a couple of multiplayer modes (Head-to-Head and Xbox Live) and a couple of single-player modes (Arcade and Career) to keep you busy. Head-to-Head gives you the chance to take on a friend in a split-screen game whilst the Xbox Live mode gives you the chance to take part in 8 player races with a leaderboard system so that everyone can see just how good you really are. Arcade gives you the chance to try Down-And-Back, Rampage, Point-to-Point, Circuit Race and Lap Knockout Event. The main single-player mode though is the Career mode which offers 16 series to complete, with each series offering a variety of race events. Weapons, cars and circuits are all available to unlock in the Career mode.

What's good about the game?

Those who like a lot of destruction with their racing will certainly find that Full Auto can be fun. The level of destruction that can be caused is actually pretty amazing and whereas other games have enabled you to cause environmental damage it's always been in a very limited manner. It's the ability to make whole buildings collapse and knock trains off their tracks and ride over the highway bridge which really changes the nature of a race circuit. The circuits have a fair few shortcuts that can be taken and it's great to see that most of the time the AI will exploit these to make the game challenging. The AI also seems fairly aggressive in trying to take you out of the race. With that said though the AI does seems to play fair and doesn't do things that you wouldn't be able to do yourself. There are several different race types which add some variety to the career mode. There are a variety of race styles available that challenge you to take out a certain number of enemies, create a certain amount of damage or simply finish first.

The main difference with Full Auto though is the game's unwreck feature.  Essentially you'll fill up your unwreck meter by causing damage. Once filled you can press the RB button to rewind at any time and redo the last few seconds. This might seem like a gimmick but it's a feature that can actually get you out of trouble. Should you wrongly take a corner at high speed and lose places in a race or drive over a mine, which a rival has dropped for you, that blows your car up; you can simply rewind and try to avoid performing the same error. It's actually a worthwhile feature and definitely adds a unique twist to the game. You also have a nitro boost (LB button) that can be used once the boost meter is filled (by performing jumps and power slides etc.) to give you a temporary speed increase. There is also a variety of primary and secondary weapons that can be attached to the vehicles and using these well is essential to your success in Full Auto.  Machine guns, shotguns, mini-rocket pods, missiles and tank cannons are all included. There's also a few secondary weapons too, which act as a great defence to those who are trying to fire upon you. Mines, smoke screens and grenade launchers are all great deterrents for those who like to ride on your tail whilst firing at you. Of course with all this mayhem and elaborate crashes going on, some of you might want to see replays of the most memorable moments and thanks to an included one touch replay you can do just that. 

What's not so good about the game?

Whilst Full Auto can be entertaining at times it never really does anything to be more than a good game. Perhaps the main disappointment is that the frame rate doesn't remain constant. Having played the demo that was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and having quite enjoyed it, I was disappointed at how frequently the frame rate dipped. Obviously I was hoping the finished game would have sorted this out and yes, the frame rate has improved in the final version but it doesn't remain constant. Still, the occasional bit of slowdown isn't as problematic as it might have been and it's not the first Xbox 360 game we've seen to have performance issues.  The game is also quite a shallow experience. There's not much depth here. Sure you can mess around with the weapon configurations and unlock a fair few items but this is just a destructive arcade racer whose focus is definitely more on high speed thrills than depth.

How does it look?

Graphically Full Auto looks OK. The level of destruction you can cause is what immediately catches the eye and although the damage modelling isn't realistic it's still impressive to see such a level of destruction in a game such as this. The vehicle models look good but aren't really anywhere near the level of detail as what you have probably already seen in Project Gotham Racing 3. The damage modelling on the vehicles is fairly simplistic and you'll note your enemies' cars have a few levels of damage before eventually blowing up. It's simplistic but it doesn't affect the game in anyway. The various environments you'll race in all look quite good, and there are some decent lighting effects on display, but they do lack variety. You'll also notice that you don't see any people walking around in these urban environments, which gives them a kind of a ghost town appearance.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Full Auto is fine for deaf gamers, except that voice communications are supported in the online races which means there will be communication problems for deaf gamers but this is a problem with the Xbox Live system rather than the game itself. The games tutorial levels are delivered using text only so there are no problems there. Instructions for all of the races are exclusively in text. During a race all the information is displayed visually so again there are no problems. You're visually notified if your primary weapon has overheated, if your boost meter is full, if your unwreck meter is full, if you've lost armour and when enemies have been destroyed. The HUD shows your boost meter, unwreck meter, tachometer and speedometer as well as a mini-map which enables you to see your opponents that are not in your immediate line of sight. In fact taking the single player game on its own, the game is as deaf gamer friendly as it could possibly be.

Final thoughts.

Full Auto is a game that's good without ever being great. I've got to be honest here and say that my opinion has seldom fluctuated about a game as much as when I was playing through it. Initially I was disappointed that the frame rate dips occurred and that the game didn't offer more than it does but when I accepted the game for what it was, an arcade-style combat racer that's light on depth but addictive and fun, I began to see the game in a better light and it's a game many will enjoy, although I suspect many will not be hugely impressed with the game. If the current driving games on the Xbox 360 aren't really your thing and you want something of a more destructive nature for both online and offline play you should definitely give Full Auto a go.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Full Auto might not be the best racing game on the Xbox 360 and it certainly doesn't offer a lot of depth but it offers a whole heap of destructive fun.