In case you are wondering, Powerslide is basically an arcade
driving game set in the post-apocalyptic future (imagine Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdrome,
and you are half-way there).
"... the gameplay is ultimately what counts. If it
doesnt deliver, no amount of graphics pizzazz or physics realism (again, see
Trespasser) or great storyline is going to save a game from oblivion."
A pretty good (if hackneyed) story about how Earth is plunged into a
eco-disaster and how the "haves" have retreated to living underground to shield
themselves from the sun and radiation on the surface. Left on the surface, the
"have-nots" begin scavenging the remnants of technology left behind. Since life
is cheap, the "have-nots" begin to compete in races, in an effort to gain some
highly valuable (and limited) resources.
Great story, so far, isnt it?
BUT I feel, at the end of the day, the gameplay is ultimately what
counts. If it doesnt deliver, no amount of graphics pizzazz or physics realism
(again, see Trespasser) or great storyline is going to save a game from oblivion.
This is my personal philosophy. I am a proud owner of the Sega Saturn
game console and despite the incredible graphics found on the Playstation, always find
myself going back to the "graphically inferior" Saturn for games. Yes, Virtua
Fighter 2 was nowhere near arcade perfect, graphics-wise, but the gameplay from the arcade
(which was great) remained intact in the conversion to the Saturn. (For the ardent
Playstation supporters - Yes, I have a Playstation too, and yes, I agree Tekken 3 offers
as much depth and gameplay as VF2, but this tirade is directed against those who slag VF2
on the Saturn just because the graphics werent as good as Tekken 3s)
And therein lies the problem with Powerslide: what gameplay?
The programmers obviously spent a lot of time fine-tuning the physics
models used in the game and this clearly shows. The cars suspension system react
realistically as you turn sharp corners or bounce across the desert landscape. But the end
result is something quite unplayable.
You bounce around crazily (enough to give me, a fairly seasoned -albeit
still crap- Quake II fragger, motion sickness), and have very little control of where your
car goes. The controls are just too damned frustrating to be any fun.
Now, if this game were meant to be a realistic racing simulation, I
wouldnt have any problem with the realism... but it wasnt. I wouldnt
have agreed to review it otherwise. I have very little interest in realistic driving
games. Give me an arcade racer like Scud Race in the arcades any day.
Before I start getting emails of how crap I am, let me qualify that I
do pretty well in other arcade driving games such as Ultimate Race Pro (PC), Need for
Speed III (PC), Sega Rally (Saturn), Daytona USA (Arcade, PC and Saturn) and even the
Ridge/Rage Racer Series (Playstation).
The nirvana of all arcade driving games is to be fun to drive, and on
that score, Powerslide just doesnt deliver.
Again, dont blame my choice of controllers used. I tested
Powerslide with the following:
- Joystick (Microsoft Force Feedback Pro)
- Gamepad (Creative Cobra and Microsoft Precision Pro in digital mode)
- Analog (the Precision Pro in analog mode)
- Steering wheel (Logitech Wingman Formula Force)
It was slightly more controllable with the digital gamepads but not