Street Racing in Moscow.
Anarchy: Rush Hour is a game from developers Gaijin Entertainment, recently released on the PSN store. This is a driving game centred around illegal street racing and a story that is pretty basic, involving the main characters’ kidnapped girlfriend and stolen engine technology. The story is mostly kept in the background with cut scenes in the style of a comic book being kept to the bare minimum, so that they do not detract too much from what we are playing the game for, the racing action.
From the moment you start the tutorial stage, you know what you are in for. A full on arcade action racing game. It has you running various race events around the streets of Moscow, which are modelled on real locations and roads with the tracks pretty well laid out, cutting through little side streets and busy highways. They are all populated by a huge number of cars making up the traffic, both when you are free roaming and taking part in the race events. This is pretty impressive, with at times well over one hundred cars on screen at once. It makes dodging traffic in a game like Grand Theft Auto seem like playtime compared to the streets seen here.
Although this may sound like it could be a pain, the arcade style of the game means that you can smash right through the oncoming traffic without risk of losing too much speed. Sure, if you get involved in a multi car pile up it wont help your chances of winning, but hitting one or two cars is not enough to lose the player places or the race. Things get even more crazy when you throw into the mix the adrenaline devices, which can be purchased and upgraded throughout the game. These devices are activated using the d-pad or a combination of controls plus face buttons. They are powered using adrenaline, hence the name, and this comes in the form of a gauge which you fill by pulling of driving manoeuvres such as skillful driving, drifting, jumping or dodging oncoming traffic. These gadgets range from a repair tool which can be used on the fly to repair damage to your car, to a sonic blast that pushes out from your car damaging and pushing away any other vehicles around you. Similar to that is the ram device which thrusts your car forward momentarily into any vehicle ahead of you, in some cases sending it flying high into the air, which is always fun to watch.
The cars, of which there is a good selection of around thirty or so, are all original vehicles. Despite this though, you can see in their designs a lot of inspiration from existing real life cars. So, although there are no fully licensed cars, most players will find something that will suit their style, be it the sports car, Japanese style drift car or American muscle. There is something here to suit all tastes. The races take place around the city and involve various styles from the expected run of the mill circuit races, short A to B sprint races, time trials, checkpoint races and the crazy anarchy events. In the Anarchy events, the player has a set amount of time to cause as much mayhem on the roads as possible, attempting to reach a target score before the AI cars. These are all fun events to take part in and they both serve to further the story, and also provide side races which are used to earn money for both buying new cars and upgrading the devices. There is plenty of choice both in vehicle and races to take part in.
Visually, although the games graphics are not as polished as many other racing games out there, both the scenery and the players cars are all pretty well represented. The street populating vehicles are slightly more on the basic side but, due to the sheer number of them around at any one time, this is understood and can be forgiven. Although not the best looking driving game around, it is pretty far from the worst and any little flaws can be forgiven.
The sound likewise is better than average, but again nothing really stands out. The engine and screeching tires are all present and correct. The weird thing however, is the music. Itâ€™s a strange mix of nondescript rock music and techno dance music. It does fit the game, although itâ€™s occasionally a little weird to go from one type of music to the other.
On top of all this, there is an online multiplayer option. You can go head to head with friends or just other random racers. It rounds the package off nicely, especially when you leave the devices turned on for the online races. It can all turn a bit violent as you bump, nudge and ram your opponents off the track or into an obstacle, just to give yourself an edge in the race.
But more importantly, how does it play? Anarchy: Rush Hour is, without a doubt, an arcade racer through and through. Anyone looking for a racing simulator needs to keep looking, but if you enjoy a good arcade racing game then you will be hard pushed to find a bargain as good as this anytime soon. I say bargain because it really is. What the player is getting here is a game with as much content as some retail games. It even comes with a full compliment of PSN Trophies, including a platinum, and for a price of under Â£6.00 you really can not go wrong. Sure, itâ€™s not a perfect game, but the high speed racing, coupled with the madness of dodging and crashing your way through the traffic, just makes the game a lot of fun to play.
As it stands Gaijin Entertainment’s Anarchy: Rush Hour is by far one of the best bargains you will currently find in PSN Store. Pick it up now, before they realize that they could be charging a lot more for it. Even if you prefer your driving games more on the realistic side, this is more than enough to keep you entertained for a while.