Wreckless - The Yakuza Missions
Graphically Wreckless will amaze you. If you've seen anything of Wreckless, whether it was on TV in a magazine or on the Internet, you'll know that it is a visual masterpiece. However it is common knowledge that most graphical showpieces in the gaming world are just like Easter eggs, beautiful on the outside but completely hollow on the inside. Whilst this isn't quite the case with Wreckless it is fair to say that the gameplay doesn't deliver half as much as the graphics promise.
Set in Hong Kong the game is spread over two campaigns. You can either play as Madoka and Mei, the police women, in Scenario A or you can play as Ho and Chang, the undercover agent in Scenario B. Both scenarios are very similar and the missions contain similar goals. Which ever scenario you choose the objective is to thwart the Yakuza, a Mafia like organisation, from carrying out their criminal activities. Basically all you have to do in the missions is smash into vehicles or dim sum stands or anything else to achieve your objectives.
Hang on a minute this sounds far too easy. Well it would be if it wasn't for the fact that you are driving around Hong Kong at break neck speed. To make matters worse the traffic loves to plough into you. Before you start a mission you get to choose the difficulty, normal or hard, and the level of traffic, light or heavy. Which ever options you choose you will still find the traffic ramming into you from all sides.
Most of the missions are far too easy. In scenario A for instance the first two missions can be completed on the first go. In fact most of the missions can be finished on the first go. The exceptional few missions that are not too easy are too hard. Mission four in scenario A took me over an hour of repeated efforts to complete it. The mission involves having to rescue a professor and sees you having to crash into a truck until it explodes and then having to drive up an office block, still being constructed, to retrieve some plans. Whilst on the way up the office block, Yakuza cars start heading down and try to knock you off. This mission is sheer madness and there are about 5 or 6 levels like this in terms of difficulty.
As mentioned earlier the game is graphically superb. Massive pile ups do not make the framerate dip at all. Crash your way through markets stalls and shopping centres and watch the debris fly into the air like confetti. Textures, light reflections and damage models are all first class and demonstrate that the Xbox is really going to be a console to reckoned with for the next few years at least.
Thankfully the game is subtitled so you'll be fully aware of the mission briefings and all the conversations that go on in the cutscenes, which is very pleasing indeed.
There are problems with Wreckless. The game does not autosave so you have to make sure you go back to the main menu and save the game after completing a mission, otherwise you'll lose all the progress you've made. After you've completed both scenarios that's it. There is simply no replay value at all which make it poor value at just under £44.99. Don't get me wrong, the game is immensely addictive and you'll enjoy every minute of it but the extremely short length of the game makes it poor value. If only it would have included some race modes or other extras it would have been more acceptable.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10 Wreckless is let down by it's shortness. Although the overall score might seem low the game itself is one heck of an addictive experience. Unfortunately it represents poor value for money and a couple of days hard play is all you're going to get out of it.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems here. Wreckless is fully subtitled and accessible for deaf gamers.