Given the dearth of Xbox 360 games of late, I was extremely happy to get a chance to play Full Auto. An extremely explosive title, Full Auto gives you a racing game with the punch of twin machine guns and high explosive mines. Shiny and polished does not a great game make however, and I don't think Full Auto hits on all 8 cylinders. With Xbox Live support built in, there's great potential for fun here, but the single player campaign is devoid of any real character, being essentially one gigantic ladder climb with the occasional variation thrown in.
The first and most noticeable element of the gameplay is how squirrelly the controls can be. Gran Turismo this ain't. That said, you'll be racing through the streets at insane speeds, power-sliding around corners, all the while blowing the unholy crap out of everything around you. As a result, not having to worry terribly about how tight your driving skills are is a bonus. As you play through the single player campaign, you'll unlock the vehicles and weapon assortments that Full Auto thrives on. One of the more entertaining packages is the Hunter, that equips you with two machine guns and a forward mounted rocket launcher. Burnout may let you create accidents, but this game lets you cause disasters. Some of the weapons face to the rear, a few of the forward facing ones can be aimed, and the designers have also added a couple of surprising choices to boot.
I can't say much in the way of bad about games on the Xbox 360, but unfortunately, Full Auto does pack a few flaws. The graphics are well done and shiny, but there's a lot of replication here. You don't get introduced to new stages with new looks all that often, and you'll see many elements repeated on each stage. One example is how generically similar all city monuments are, or how identical every gas station seems to look. Plus, when things get hectic, the framerate goes down. There's not much to say about how Full Auto sounds, because it isn't that easy to listen to music over the sounds of gunfire, but it isn't bad, I'll say that much.
I'm calling this a good game just because of its length, as it is fairly long to play through the campaign and then you've got Xbox Live on top of that, but I'd say only just. It is fun to blow stuff up for a while, but with a bit longer, this game could've been much much better.
Download Full Auto
"Everything is breakable," said William Ho, lead designer of this Twisted Metal-meets-Burnout combat racer, as his car's chain gun blew up a fuel storage tank, which in turn knocked down half of a nearby building onto a semi and two rivals.
How was it?
At first glance I thought Full Auto was an Xbox game, but then I saw the amazing amount of physics and general chaos happening at any given moment. Full Auto makes Burnout 3's formerly spectacular crashes look like a special-ed. kid smacking Matchbox cars together.
With so much going on, it's easy to find yourself sucked into the maelstrom of flying metal. But if you wreck, you can "unwreck"--hold down a button and rewind time a few seconds, long enough to reconsider firing a missile at that fuel tanker you were tailgating before it went kaboom, taking out you and half a city block. My only complaint so far is that the controls felt a little loose, but a few months of work can fix that.
You are racing in Full Auto, but it's easy to lose sight of that simple goal when you're busy firing missiles, laying mines, destroying roadside attractions, boosting over mad jumps, and using the unique "unwreck" feature to rewind time and avoid wipeouts. "We've actually had to rein some of the chaos and destruction back," Producer Cord Smith adds. "It was just too intense and distracting."
Go Your Own Way
Why stay on the road when you can careen through a glitzy casino? Full Auto rewards curiosity with myriad shortcuts, many of them through fully furnished buildings. Don't be shy--if a fence, wall, or ramp looks as if it might lead somewhere, give it a shot. You can always unwreck if your potential secret pas sageway ends up slamming your ride into a brick wall.
A Delicate Balance
We were surprised to find that Full Auto's game-play has evolved since our last test drive. "We've rebalanced all the weapons and made the control feel more like driving a real car," says Smith.
A Dish Best Served Cold
Full Auto skipped the racer-packed 360 launch, but now must face rival Burnout Revenge. "Our game is different," explains Smith. "It's perfect for people who like to race hard and blow s*** up."
Expect great things from Full Auto's ultraviolent Xbox Live play--official tournaments, downloadable content...the whole works. Well, except for arena combat--look for that in the PS3 version.