Bandits: Phoenix Rising
I've been over vehicular-combat games for a while now. Sure, Twisted Metal was fun for the first 30 minutes and Vigilante 8 provided limited thrills, but I got bored with them as quick as it took to load them up. Maybe I just have a poor attention span, but the aforementioned titles failed to completely captivate me like most action games do. Not all is lost though, because Bandits: Phoenix Rising may very well have kindled an interest in the genre for me.
Bandits takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, largely similar to that of the cult classic Mad Max. Driving around in dune buggies armed with a variety of weapons and destroying anything that crosses your path is the call for order. Games like these are notorious for redundant gameplay and unfortunately, Bandits isn't the exception to the rule. Mission objectives are varied, but when it comes down to it, there's only one thing you really do: blow stuff up. By no means is this bad, because sometimes, mindless action can be just as fun as intelligent action, which is a saving grace for Bandits since it's exceptionally mindless when concerned with battle tactics. Fights usually boil down to circling or jousting each other until something blows up'not exactly what you can call refined action. But what Bandits lacks in depth, it makes up with style and substance. The dialogue is humorous and witty, and the story, while a bit unoriginal, keeps things interesting. On top of that, the game is plenty long and hard, posing a definite challenge even on the easiest difficulty level. Online, however, the multiplayer mode is barely adequate since there are only two deathmatch modes available. It's fun, but it could've been a whole lot better.
Technically, Bandits has all the right stuff. Hosting ample framerates and detailed vehicles, most everything looks great. Unfortunately, things can look boring despite all of its exceptional qualities. We're dealing with wastelands here so don't come expecting sprawling cities, but rather desolate and repetitive landscapes. Granted, the barren landscapes do look nice with detailed textures, but the lack of variety can grow tiresome as time wears. Some of the later missions break the mold, however, with detailed objects littered throughout.
'2.5+ hours of original music,'? is a lofty claim that graces the back of the Bandits: Phoenix Rising box. It lives up to the claim, but when the original music is monotonous metal and techno, it all sounds the same to me. Nothing outstanding, but nothing too obtrusive either. The voice acting is superb since there's a humorous overtone to it all that makes it interesting to listen to. Sound effects are standard fare with all the bells and whistles' well, booms and bangs actually.
Taken at face value, Bandits: Phoenix Rising has a lot to offer if you're not looking for anything particularly sophisticated. There's nothing new or innovative here to help revitalize this stale genre, but if you like your action fast and furious (and a bit mindless), then look no further.