It’s been a long time coming and good use of officially licensed movie components still might not be enough to save this boxy and wooden vehicular combat title.
Developed by Slightly Mad Studios and published by Bandai Namco, the game was released to no fanfare at all last week.
While it was originally set to accompany the latest Fast & Furious movie release, it was delayed because of Coronavirus.
This is a game that given the movie series it is based on could have at least tried to live up to the amazing stunts and set pieces of the films.
With titles such as GTA Online and Saints Row getting a little old and repetitive, this is a missed opportunity to bring something new to the table of vehicle combat games.
Instead, Crossroads takes some of the interesting stuff from GTA such as the weaponized vehicle components and bolts them on to arcade-style Ridge Racer cars.
This results in boxy and wooden gameplay that we have seen a thousand times before in console games from two generations ago.
Titles such as Spy Hunter and Ridge Racer are clearly heavy influences here, and not in a good way.
Such games have had their time unless something truly excellent is to be done and in this case it has not.
The game opens well, is canon to the lore being set after Fast & Furious 8 and even has voice acting from Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez among others.
Heading to pick up a fugitive with knowledge of a potential attack on the United States, the game begins with an action-packed ride dispatching bad guy after bad guy.
This includes sports cars, armored jeeps and a very fast tank-like vehicle.
This seems all well and good, but this isn’t anything we haven’t seen before and having been done in a better way.
Vehicle combat is quite simple with you first riding in Dom’s car using only a ramming method to dispatch other vehicles.
This of course is extremely absurd as Dom’s 1960’s muscle car has barely a scratch compared to armored trucks.
You basically just use a P.I.T maneuver to spin out the enemy, which then slows down the action so you can ram them in very much the same way as in Batman: Arkham Knight.
However, things get a little more interesting when switching to Letty’s car which actually has weapons, sort of.
Using a harpoon, you must remove the fuel pods from the back of a flame-throwing tank.
Then reality is suspended again as Dom takes out a tank with rim blades.
While this is a welcome bit of challenging fun, the absurd speed of the action and the poor physics of the vehicle make what should be a fun activity really annoying.
Given that the game’s developer also makes Project Cars, one of the most physics accurate racing games available, this is extremely disappointing.
However, one can feel the heavy arm of publisher Bandai Namco here, who probably wanted the game to stick more to their flagship arcade title Ridge Racer.
This is probably the better move as it would make the game more accessible, however, the blatant disregard of physics would make Isaac Newton turn in his grave.
Equal and opposite reactions don’t exist here as your car just bounces off of walls at 100 miles per hour.
Strangely, the cars seem extremely heavy yet the slightest knock will send them flying or spinning.
That being said, the action is intense and the opening intro mission is worthy of a Bond movie, gun-toting bad guys hanging out of windows and all.
Following that, the next mission serves as a credits run, which is uncommon for a video game, however not unheard of.
While I have nothing against the hard-working people of the games industry putting their credits at the start of a game, the mission itself is just a point to point drive in a Ford F-150.
What the heck happened to the action?
Even more infuriating, the mission after that does pretty much the same, however, you need to avoid collisions.
Easier said than done given the games absolutely woeful physics and A.I.
So, for pretty much the first 30 minutes of the game, it tries and fails to be a GTA title.
The presentation is shamefully ripped off from GTA IV and the voice acting isn’t nearly as good, which is strange given that they’re all highly paid professionals.
Then there is the racing.
Given that this game has been developed and published by two well-established studios and publishers with excellent racing titles, this is a huge slap in the face.
The racing physics which is heavily influenced by arcade racers has been applied here.
However, the world’s physics requires you to race like a simulator to avoid crashing.
This means that you can just accelerate and try to drift, in which case you will hit the track boundaries.
Or, you can take it carefully like Gran Turismo to avoid collisions and race properly, but either way, you will have trouble winning.
For a series that started out actually being about street racing, this is a huge missed opportunity for Slightly Mad to show off what they can do.
All aspersions aside, the game’s story actually isn’t too bad and is very Fast & Furious-esque.
Individual segments from the game’s main characters combine and arc into one larger story where the characters need to come together and this might just be enough to keep you going.
A modern criminal syndicate descended from a group of ancient highway robbers are causing havoc and need to be taken down, and that’s about it.
The game does make good use of locations such as Greece and Spain, which to be fair are nicely rendered but you won’t notice most of it given the game’s speed.
For an officially licensed title that has arrived so late in the game, one would expect this to have been pulled off with a little more finesse.
Instead, it feels like the game was rushed and bolted together.
I say this because essentially, all it encompasses is the odd race or point to point mission sandwiched between tepid action sequences.
The sad thing about this title is that if an arcade publisher and simulation developer did not work together, it could have been something beautiful.
However, the two very different styles of each have been mashed together in a Frankenstein manner to create something of a monster.
When playing, you can actually feel each side trying to impose their particular style upon it and this is to the extreme detriment of the game.
This means that the customers, gamers and fans ultimately lose and it’s such a shame that an excellent movie franchise license has been so haphazardly squandered, yet again.
Will we ever get a good triple AAA game based on a movie?
More information at the game’s official website: https://www.fastandfuriouscrossroads.com/
The Fast & Furious Crossroads release date has passed and the game is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
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Michael is the sole writer and owner at chartxgames.com.
Many thought that his youth (and adulthood) playing video games was a waste of time but here he is writing about them for a living.
Michael has a background in IT and enjoys (apart from video games) building and repairing PC’s, digital artwork (Photoshop, 3DS Max) and has interests in too many subjects to mention.