|03-17-2010, 08:48 AM||#1|
Editor in Chief
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: New York City
Blog Entries: 10
[XBLA] Scrap Metal Review
Scrap Metal Review
Title - Scrap Metal
Platform - Xbox Live Arcade
Developer - Slick Entertainment
Publisher - Microsoft
ESRB Rating - E10 (Everybody 10+)
MSRP - 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)
Editor - Michael "DoctorFinger" Chauvet
As I'm sure you can guess, the story of Scrap Metal will not be rivaling Mass Effect or Heavy Rain for complexity and depth. You jump in one the numerous cars available, drive into a track/arena, and compete. The competition types include straight up races, demolition derbies and even boss battles, all from an isometric, top-down perspective. Vehicles are acquired the old fashioned way: by blowing them up! There are 20 vehicles in the game, each with upgradable armor, speed, grip and weapons. The vehicles are also divided into 4 classes, so you won't be challenging a monster truck in a Pinto.
No, this isn't the new Michael Bay movie....yet.
Once you choose your vehicle, you jump into the campaign, divided into 8 tracks, each with a number of missions to complete. Upgrade points are awarded based on where you finish on the podium. The developers included two basic control schemes for the game. The "easier" control method (which is also the default one) has you simply pointing the left stick in the direction you want to go, with other buttons covering reverse, Nitro, basic weapon and special weapon functions. This objective control type takes some getting used to in a racer and never quite feels right. Everything is so...loose that you never feel like you have real control over the vehicle. The more traditional method of control isn't much better, as the tracks seem to have been designed with the "easier" control scheme in mind.
Then there's the combat. I've used about 6 different non-special weapons, and all but the basic sub-machine gun are maddeningly difficult to use. There's no lock-on feature, and oftentimes your target is just off screen. If you're up close you can do some damage, but the controls are loose enough that it's tough to stay close for very long. It's not too bad when you have a whole field to battle against, but that imprecision makes boss battles tediously frustrating. Thankfully you don't have to beat the bosses to advance to the next track. The fun challenges are entertaining, but they're over too quickly. You can replay any mission for extra upgrade points, but that loses its luster after a while. Otherwise you get a lot of boring and/or frustrating missions. There's almost nothing in the way of extras, unlockables or anything to keep things humming along.
One of the game's bosses - Mr Awesome. Owner of Awesomeland.
Graphically Scrap Metal generally does a very good job. Every vehicle has a number of visual options, including paint job, decals and "accessories" (including police lights, giant spare tires, and even soiled mattresses). If you're playing online, chances are your vehicle will be unique among the crowd. I should also note that the game includes an anaglyph 3D mode, which lets you pop on any pair of red and cyan 3D glasses and play the game with an extra dimension. Due to an asymmetrical vision condition, I couldn't fairly evaluate how well this mode works.
Speaking of multiplayer, this is where the otherwise middling game starts to shine through a little. Competitions on Xbox Live are fun and frantic, with much less of a frustration factor than the campaign mode, especially if you're playing with friends. Unfortunately there seem to be a lot of greifers in the games I played: racers who didn't even try to run the race and just hung out at a given point on the map and shot at those of us who were racing. While the vast majority of the gamers I played with and against were fine, the griefers were almost a constant annoyance in the hours I spent online. They obviously weren't as much of a problem in things like Tank Mode, but these more combat-oriented modes weren't as entertaining.
Sure it's a rust bucket, but on the plus side it has machine guns.
Overall Scrap Metal is a game with a few glaring problems, but at the same time a few shining innovations as well. The multiplayer has promise, but not enough to balance out an all too frustrating campaign mode. If you play a lot of local multiplayer or have a bunch of friends who already own the game, it may be a good purchase. However, if you're just looking for a single-player title you may be disappointed.
Score: (3 out of 5 Cogs)
Michael says, "Scrap Metal is an example of a game which seems to do everything it wants to, but unfortunately that "thing" isn't particularly engrossing. The developers went for fast and frantic gameplay, but ended up with frantically imprecise instead. Multiplayer can be fun, but that also gets old quick. Combine that with a relative lack of depth, and you end up with a pretty middle of the road package, especially for the hefty $15 price tag.
|03-17-2010, 01:59 PM||#4|
Praise the sun!
Join Date: Oct 2008
Deleted the demo after 2 minutes. Who spends money on stuff like this when there's so much goodness elsewhere anyway.
Now playing: Borderlands 2/ Skyrim/ The Last of Us/ Bulletstorm/ Max Payne 3/Sonic AllStars Tranformed
|review, scrap metal, xbla|