Street Racing Syndicate
Any game that lists its strongest selling point as the ability to trade women like cattle isn't going to be all that good. So it's no surprise that Street Racing Syndicate, the latest gaming attempt to cash in on the love of illegal street racing and car mods, is no great game.
The game is your basic Need for Speed, Midnight Racing Club knock-off, replete with a nearly non-existent plot, insane road racing and the total disregard for human life. The only thing that saves this game from the bargain bin is high-end graphics and sound and a near pathological attention to car mod details. The game doesn't just let you modify your real world car's look and feel with generic items; everything in this game is real world replicas. You can purchase one of 50 licensed cars in the game and choose from hundreds of licensed customization options. After you're done tinkering you can plop the car on a Dyno to see how it performs. Finally you can personalize your ride with a wide range of colors, paint jobs and stickers.
There are several modes to run around in. You can play online via Live against up to three other players, which is passable multiplayer support but nothing spectacular, or choose to solo it in arcade or street modes. Street mode is really what this game is about. In street mode you race for money, respect and women. Basically you cruise the streets looking for pick-up races or pre-arranged affairs. The better you do in a race the more respect points you get and the better chance you have of keeping your girlfriend or winning a new one. I gotta say, the game's view of women is a little disturbing, but I suppose they think they're reflecting the racing culture. You also race for cash; winning money by placing first, second, or third or beating drivers you placed a side-bet with.
One of the cooler elements of the game is the fact that there are no do-overs and you have to pay with your very limited supply of cash to keep your car in working order, upgrade it and repair the collision damage. So being a clean racer pays off in several ways.
Street Racing Syndicate is a passable game, but take away the hardly seen women and vast supply of real world car equipment and you are left with a sub-par racer. This game would be great if you are into the scene, but is no replacement for any of the slew of fantastic racing games already out or heading our way in the near future.