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Ford Street Racing: L.A. Duel PSP

Published by Xplosiv
Developed by Razorworks
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

Ford Street Racing: L.A. Duel is a bit of a strange beast. It does quite a few things right and yet it still falls short of what you might call a good racing game. The game offers 24 licensed Ford vehicles including the Escort RS200, Mustang, Gran Torino, Capri RS2600 and the 71 Mustang Mach 1. There are 36 different tracks that are all based in Los Angeles (as the title suggests).  The game also offers a variety of single and multiplayer modes that cater for both solo and team based races. In fact on paper it looks an impressive game.

The single-player modes in L.A. Duel are Quick Race, Career and Arcade. Quick Race throws you straight into a race selecting the course and vehicle for you. The Career Mode consists of Solo and Team races. Team races involve you controlling two cars, alternately of course, in a bid to finish in a better overall position than your two rival teams. You can switch between your two cars at any time and you can even instruct the car you don’t drive to block or draft if you want to. The various race types in the game include normal races, elimination races and overtake events. The Multiplayer game allows you race over an ad hoc connection with five others.

Where does the game go wrong then? The big problem with the game is the AI which unfortunately is probably the worst we’ve seen in a driving game for quite some time. The AI drivers just don’t care how they drive and will quite willingly smash into you at every opportunity, even if it would be easier to simply drive straight past you. Get caught in between several AI drivers and it’s like being in a stock car race (the UK variety that is) with all the bumping and crashing going on. Not that the damage you take seems to make much difference to the performance of your car though. The AI employed during the team races is not always as good as it should be and you’ll find yourself swapping between the two cars in an effort to improve the overall team position more frequently than you would like at times.

Graphically it has to be said that L.A. Duel actually looks good. The car models all look how they should and considering this is a handheld console it’s pretty impressive to see not only the cars looking good but also visible damage modelling. The frame rate is impressive too and remains smooth, even when you’re getting bashed about by all and sundry. The load times are respectable for a PSP game and you’re not waiting too long in between races. The general presentation of the game is fine too.

Ford Street Racing: L.A. Duel is a difficult game to love or loathe. It’s pleasing because it has a nice selection of classic Ford cars, a decent selection of modes and the graphics certainly look good. There are no problems for deaf gamers as all of the information is displayed visually and there’s no reliance on sound. However, you’ll have to put up with an AI that drives like a maniac and won’t hesitate to plough into you whenever it feels like it. I daresay some Ford enthusiasts will overlook this rather major flaw but for others it will prove very irritating and in truth most driving games released these days don’t suffer from these problems to such an extent.

Overall Game Rating 5.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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If only the AI had been of a decent standard Ford Street Racing: L.A. Duel would have been a fine portable racing game. As it stands it's a game that looks promising but is really frustrating thanks to some really poor AI drivers.