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Fatal Inertia
Company:
KOEI
Website: Official Site
Estimated Street Price: $39.99/£39.99
Review By:
Byron Hinson

Fatal Inertia (Xbox 360)Fatal Inertia started out its life on the Playstation 3, but like many other titles that were previously exclusive to the next generation console the large sales of the Xbox 360 has made companies move their games across most of the new consoles.  Let me start out by saying that I was looking forward to Fatal Inertia since I first set eyes on it, that was until the demo was released onto the Xbox Live Marketplace and without beating around the bush, it was a dreadful display of the game that would have put off a lot of people from buying it. This is a shame really as the full game certainly isn’t anywhere near as bad as the demo would make people believe.

In the middle of the twenty-second century, mankind's thirst for excitement has spawned an evolutionary sporting event that draws from the combined disciplines of rally racing, demolition derby, and high-performance aeronautics. In Fatal Inertia, each craft is armed with a unique array of unconventional weapons that manipulate velocity, force, and even time. Explosive magnets that impact racecraft stability and rockets that can counter thrust and velocity are just some of the dangers drivers must face. Through harsh environments spanning dense rainforests to immense glacier fields, and canyons of razor-sharp rock there is little room for error as drivers will reach speeds of over 500 mph. But Fatal Inertia is not merely a test of speed. The brave men and women who choose to compete must face the mental and physical punishment of low-altitude combat maneuvering.

  • Speed and maneuverability: Through harsh environments spanning dense rainforests to immense glacier fields and canyons of razor-sharp rock, there is little room for error as drivers will reach speeds of over 500 mph. It is the brave, indeed, who choose to compete and face the mental and physical punishment of low-altitude combat maneuvering.
  • Customization: Each race craft can be armed with a unique array of unconventional weapons that manipulate velocity, force and time. Even use weapon effects to enhance the performance of your own ship. There are over 1.3 million customization combinations plus 15,000 performance combinations.
  • Racing action: Fatal Inertia features a fast-paced single player mode and online multiplayer experiences with 16 racing series, and six distinct racing environments.
  • Next-gen gaming: Powered by the award-winning Unreal® Engine 3 from Epic Games, Fatal Inertia delivers a glimpse into the future of racing in stunning 720p HDTV and in-game Dolby® Digital audio.

How Does It play

Review Quotes
"Next we have the framerate, the game suffers a lot here – though nowhere near as much as the demo did. When more enemies are on the screen it really slows down, but even when doing a general play around without people near you the game still drops into the low end of the scale. This could be understandable if the game was gorgeous to look at, but it isn’t that wonderful so it just shouldn’t be happening especially 2 years into Xbox 360 development."

The game itself takes a mix of high speed racing games such as Wipeout and Mario Kart by jumbling up the two, so what we have here is a hovering, futuristic racing game that also has a lot of shooting included. It is a hard job to mix the two and while Fatal Inertia certainly isn’t a disaster, it is sometimes better to do one type of game or the other.

The action takes place in various settings each of which has a different visual design to them, they range from desert canyons the like you would have seen the phantom menace to tropical islands where you are flying over water. Each area has various circuits for you to race around, some are easy early on but as the game progresses it gets harder and harder. The circuits also contain a number of weapons for you to pick up along the way.

The game also has quite a variety when it comes to customisation, you can change lots of things such as the time of the day you wish to race, the weather condition such as snow and storms and you can even restrict what weapons and power ups are available during the game. It is the customisation in Fatal Inertia that helps to push out more replayability than some other racing games and considering the game already has a lot of tracks for you to play on this was a good sign.

There are various weapons for you to pick up during a level, these are the usual ones such as smoke screens mixed with some cool ones such as a chain which you can fire at enemies to connect onto them and then fire the chain again to either attach them to the ground or to another vehicle you are flying by. This helps pull people who are in front, back a bit. You can also use the chain on the scenery around you which then helps pull you around corners or speeds you up.

There are also magnets which attach to other enemies on screen, these slow them down until they do a trick to shake them off. There is a rocket too which attaches to your craft and lets you do a powerful boost or can be used for blowing other enemies up.

The game does have some decent achievements on show as well, they range from the weapons you have used to completing the various stages and competition types throughout the game and some are quite hard to master so it will take those of you who are desperate to up your gamerpoints some time to get them all.

So far so good then? Well up to a point yes, but it is let down by a number of what I would call major problems for a racing title – the first is that some of the tracks get confusing and you will lose where the heck checkpoints are and it tends to end up being luck when getting round some of the levels rather than skill and knowing where you are supposed to be going. While this is due mostly to the fact that the game has some very open levels it needs a better way of finding out where your next checkpoint is.

 

Next we have the framerate, the game suffers a lot here – though nowhere near as much as the demo did. When more enemies are on the screen it really slows down, but even when doing a general play around without people near you the game still drops into the low end of the scale. This could be understandable if the game was gorgeous to look at, but it isn’t that wonderful so it just shouldn’t be happening especially 2 years into Xbox 360 development. Also this is yet another Unreal Engine 3 game which is having problems loading up textures quickly, and for a racing game the textures need to load fast when you are speeding around the course.

Finally we have the presentation, don’t get me wrong I wasn’t expecting the kind of presentation that games by EA or others have which splatter the game with fancy menus, but my god the presentation of Fatal Inertia is ugly, it has some of the most boring menus I have seen on the 360 and there isn’t any kind of drive to complete levels where there is no awards given or any kind of cutscenes. It all just feels like it was a little rushed out in the end.

Final Comments


Byron's Gamertag

So as you can see, it is some pretty basic problems that has brought the game down, it has some very good ideas, some very cool open levels and as I mentioned earlier it also has a large amount of customisation to it. If you are a fan of futuristic racing games and don ‘t mind putting up with some of the annoyances I have mentioned in the game then by all means either rent it out of wait for it to become cheap in a few weeks time. For everyone else it is just hard to recommend as it doesn’t have the presentation or smooth play we should be expecting from a racing game.

 
Specs & Package
Overall Score 64%
Version Reviewed Fatal Inertia (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Fatal Inertia (PAL) DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Some cool level designs
Open levels
The Bad Points Awful presentation
Poor framerate
Some poor checkpoint directions
HD Resolutions 480p
720p
1080i
1080p


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