Full Auto 2: Battlelines
I never got why some readers thought we overrated the original Full Auto on the 360 (8.0 to 8.5 range). Fast cars and big guns--guys gotta like it on some primordial level, right? This hybrid car-combat/racing sequel (if you even want to call it a sequel--most tracks here are recycled) introduces some ideas that work, like power-ups that really intensify the action. Do you take that risky shortcut in order to pick up the health icon that will bring your shot-up ride back to showroom condition? Other ideas would give an Allstate agent some serious heartburn, like the faster overall speed. These tracks don't work that well for balls-out racing with fun-ending obstacles (poorly placed pillars, walls, alcoves, et cetera) that'll put your engine block on your lap and make you go from 130 to zero and first to worst in an instant. The arena battles can be frustrating, too, with smart A.I. that unfairly gangs up on you. But still...fast cars, big guns. I'll keep playing....
I missed the first one, but this Full Auto is no 8.0 in my book. Shooting up a building/tanker/rival definitely looks good as you drive by at 135 mph, or maybe reverse time to get a second, closer glimpse, but both the combat racing and arena-style battles have been done to death and back by other games, and better. The weapons get cooler as you go (rearfacing flamethrower, I choose you!) but never touch the distinctiveness of, say, any of Twisted Metal's car-specific special ordnance. Do it again, Sega--I know you will, no matter what I say--but this time, with feeling.
If they'd just called a spade a damn shovel and sold this as a port instead of sticking that pesky "2" on there, I think I'd have felt a lot less jerked around by this one. Plenty of new cars, tracks, and multiplayer modes make for a stellar port--but I didn't find nearly enough new content here to justify calling it a sequel. If you're one of those too-much-money-having bastards with a 360 and a PS3, this is definitely the better version, but not really worth the trouble if you bought it the first time around.