Reviewed: March 28, 2006
Released: February 28, 2006
“WOW – this game is gonna rock!” That was my first impression while watching the fantastic opening movie for Street Supremacy. Not more than thirty minutes later I was saying to myself, “I played this game two years ago when it was called Tokyo Extreme Racer 3”.
Had I realized that Genki was the developer (on both games) this probably wouldn’t have been such a revelation. What was mind opening was that it only took another thirty minutes for me to reach the conclusions that this is the worst racing game on the PSP, and quite possibly any system to date.
So if you don’t mind paying $30-40 to watch a killer opening CG movie then tossing the disc afterward, by all means, but if you want to take a trip to the darkest places of turtle…err…street racing, read on.
Street Supremacy is about as much fun and pathetic as watching crippled mice try to make their way through a maze only to snatch their piece of cheese away from them when they arrive. For highly tuned import racers, these cars move at speeds that would give the aforementioned turtle the illusion he had a shot at winning. Slow and steady might win the race with the hare, but it put me and my PSP into sleep mode.
First and foremost, the game lacks any sensation of speed, mostly due to poor texturing on the pavement and a lack of almost any trackside details. Speed is a perception of your movement based on objects around you and when there is nothing but a night sky and a pair of taillight ahead of you, you may as well be parked.
Control is also abysmal with so much play in the steering that you need to anticipate and steer to change lanes about ten seconds before you would in any other game. And even then you might clip a bumper or bounce off a wall. There is absolutely no responsiveness in the controls or the car you are driving.
Regrettably, driving is the core element for the rest of the game, which includes a pretty cool concept of territory wars and acquisition of sections of the city based on rival street racing gangs. In your bid to take over the entire city map you and your gang of hotshot drivers will engage in real and simulated races.
You only have 25 cars in the entire game but there is a somewhat impressive upgrade system for both visuals and performance parts. But even after you have dumped thousands of dollars of upgrades into your ride it never seems to perform anywhere close to the value of those parts.
The menu system is plagued with load times and inexplicable delays while you wait for the car to load. It really hurts the playability of the career mode, assuming the actual driving hasn’t already done that for you. You’ll spend upwards of five minutes getting into a race that will last half that long.
And just to be clear for those who have never played a Tokyo Extreme game before, you don’t really “race” in this game, but rather obtain and maintain the lead for a certain duration as a meter fills up. The further you are in the lead the faster the bar moves and whoever fills their bar first wins. This eliminates those pesky starting and finish lines and has the potential to inflate race lengths if there is a large amount of lead changes.
There are 15 courses but I’d be hard pressed to tell any apart. They are basically sections of an intertwining set of highways around the city that may or may not have a building or two in the background and possibly some civilian traffic, although it sure looks like there is a curfew in place.
For those hoping that multiplayer racing might save the title, it doesn’t. There is no online support and local wireless only supports one other racer, and that is if it were to work at all. I only had two chances to test this with another person who owned the game and each time we tried numerous online sessions with no reliable races.
Once connected the two PSP’s stop synchronizing data so you have no idea where you are in relation to the other player. Not only is this confusing for the gamer visually, but even the game can’t figure out what is going on. You’ll end up racing what I assume to be a computer-controlled version of the other player’s car since nothing they do is reflected in your game and it is even possible for both players to win in their own “private worlds”. While bother connecting at all.
The opening movie gets a solid 8 on the production scale but the rest of the game seriously detracts from the initial awe. The car models are decent enough and there are some truly good looking stat screens and an interesting territory map, but once in the game you are left to dismal darkness.
Naturally, street racing takes place at night, being illegal and all, so you would think that would give the designers a chance to show off some cool lighting and scenery. Nope. Black sky, gray road, gray walls, two red lights ahead of me until I am lucky enough to pass, and the occasional flashing barricade or painting-on building on the horizon.
There is nothing in the game to visually give you any indication of speed, although you do look like you are going pretty fast in the replays.
I expect two things with my racing games, the hum of a finely tuned engine and the thumping of techno tracks. Street Supremacy delivers on the techno, even if it is generic and bland, and there are engine noises but none of the engines seem to change between the various cars or after upgrades.
I can’t think of a single reason you would want to tempt fate and buy or even rent this game. The PSP is loaded with phenomenal racing titles so while waste your time on this ill-fated attempt at a street racing title.
For those who enjoy pain I can only assume there is a 8-12 racing game buried in this mess, although a lot of that will be watching those excessive load screens. Multiplayer is so flawed it shouldn’t even be listed on the box.
If you play Street Supremacy for longer than an hour then you must really be hurting for entertainment. The Team Battle career mode is a cool concept but the poor controls and dismal racing action won’t support it.
There’s a reason Tokyo Extreme games debut as budget titles and changing the name and charging twice as much for it only fools the uneducated gamer. Hopefully I’ve educated you today.