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Full Auto Review

Developer: SEGA Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: February 15, 2006 Also On: None

Between the release of Dead or Alive 4 and Full Auto, 49 days passed without a single on-shelf Xbox 360 release. I added “on-shelf� to that sentence because several Xbox Live Arcade games were available, but those games couldn’t appease the attention spans of deprived Xbox 360 owners looking for something new to play. February 2006 came, and the first of two Xbox 360 releases was finally available: SEGA’s Full Auto, a racing game with a taste of chaos that combines elements from Twisted Metal, Spy Hunter, and Burnout. But is Full Auto really the fix that 360 gamers desperately needed?

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Mixing Twisted Metal, Spy Hunter, and Burnout—three successful franchises—would seem to be the perfect formula for a fast-paced racing/shooter. At least I thought so. But SEGA simply missed on a few important elements, and because of that, Full Auto probably isn’t the fix you’re looking for. The first problem isn’t something I should sugarcoat. Thirty minutes into Full Auto’s main mode, Career Mode, I was actually bored. I was bored of blowing everything up, bored of plowing through glass windows and stone pillars, bored of seeing spark-filled, fiery explosions. I was bored of something that would normally spark my action-whore attention span. Full Auto’s selling point is that you can blow up almost everything in the environment—buildings, storefronts, water towers, pedestrian cars, flora and fauna. If you can see it, chances are you can see it explode and shatter beautifully into particles.

While Full Auto is a racing game, the gameplay revolves around three different factors that “assist� the actual racing. First and foremost are your tools of destruction, which range from missiles to machine guns and bouncy grenades. These goodies can be used to blow things up and fend off opponents, of course. Second is the “Unwreck Meter� that fills up as you destroy the environment. The “Unwreck� ability is similar to The Prince’s ability to rewind time in Prince of Persia. Basically it allows you to undo your mistakes by rewinding the events that just unfolded and seamlessly putting you back into the game. Last of all is the no-frills Boost Meter. This system is similar to Burnout’s boost meter; it fills as you power slide, ramp, and perform acrobatic flips with your vehicle. When it is full, you can pull off a fast boost that blurs the screen.

The Career Mode is the main mode of play and it features dozens of events. Some of these events are straightforward racing events, while others force you earn destruction points by obliterating as much of the environment as possible. Other modes include Head-to-Head, which allows you to play split-screen with another player; and Arcade, which is a no-frills mode that lets you play with unlocked vehicles and tracks.

I must commend SEGA for their visual work. Full Auto is very impressive in terms of explosions, particles, and destructible environments. Since (literally) everything can be destroyed, there are usually tons of little fiery pieces flying around the screen. It’s too bad the sense of speed doesn’t hold a stick to Electronic Arts’ Burnout. I’d go as far as to say that the game feels slow in comparison to Burnout and even Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The music in Full Auto is generic techno and rock music, and the most frustrating part of Full Auto aurally is the bug that shuts off your Xbox 360 Custom Soundtrack between loading screens. If you’re tired of listening to the cheesy in-game music, press mute, because you can’t enjoy your own music.

While Full Auto isn’t a bad game, it isn’t really the best choice for a $60 purchase. I’d say that it makes a great rental, as most of the game’s enjoyment can be found in the first few hours of play. If you’re a fan of Burnout or other destruction-based games, I suggest that route, check Full Auto out for yourself and decide, because it’s a decent game that doesn’t require much effort to enjoy, though the enjoyment is short-lived.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 6.7
Written by Cliff Review Guide