Anarchy: Rush Hour is a plucky little PSN game that has quite simply waltzed up to Burnout in a bar, spilt its drink, snogged its girlfriend then ran outside jumped into a car and sped off. After backing into Burnout’s ride first for good measure.
For £5.49 you won’t find a more interesting racer on the store. It’s really rough around the edges but, there’s a lot of fun in here too.
You’re a street racer in Russia and your girlfriend’s been kidnapped. There’s a couple of lo-res cutscenes but most of the thin story is borne out by text messages. The city has an open feel to it, but thankfully you can select your races from the menu, rather than driving to every start line.
Events are a mixture of Burnout and Midnight Club with lap races, A-Bs, checkpoint pickups, countdown, drag races, elimination, stunts, deathmatches and speed events where you have to maintain ever increasing speeds. Most of these events take place on the city streets that are stuffed with traffic. You can batter traffic out of the way, but while Burnout’s traffic checking was brilliantly clear with only larger vehicles causing you to crash the collisions here are totally unpredictable. This is the biggest problem the game faces, particularly with the huge amounts of traffic it throws at you. You’ll crash either landing on your side with you grinding along at 300KPH or you’ll just be spinning through the air holding L1 to ‘reset to track’.
Most races take place in the open city but if you veer off the route at all you’ll be penalised. The neon arrows barriers aren’t solid so don’t try using them to buffer your way around a corner like old-school Burnout.
There are a few issues with other modes too. Deathmatch plonks you in an arena or park where you ram into other racers. It’s so bland and all the cars are painfully slow to turn around. The targets of 20 frags take ages too. The arenas themselves are awful as uneven ground with kerbs and flowerbeds means driving in a straight line is difficult and it becomes more tiresome when you’re about to finish off an opponent only for his idiotic AI to kick in as he hits a tree and explodes, robbing you of a point. One match puts you in a park, full of trees with no lights. Mental.
The stunt mode can be fun, although you can pretty much cheat by just drifting. Strangely, if you go off a ramp and spend too much time in the air the game freaks out and resets you back to the ground. Anarchy mode is a complete bust, with players having to hit lots of traffic to earn points, inexplicably you generally earn minus points half the time with no explanation on why.
You’d think that a few hours of this and the constant spinning out on the city streets would have me abandoning the game, somehow though I found myself playing for hours on end. The game’s attitude to speed will keep you interested as it’s completely off its face. You’re first car is capable of boosting upwards of 350KPH. There’s even a Trophy for 999KPH. The developer’s must have realised the game becomes almost impossible to control at 500, but then just thought ‘f**k it.’
Tires can be changed to vaguely described replacements, that you’ll have to experiment with, but most of your money will be spent upgrading your abilities. As well the standard nitro boosting, everything has five levels to upgrade. Activated with the D-pad you can repair, ram, front flip and send out a traffic clearing shockwave. Nothing revolutionary, but fun additions nonetheless.
There are a few small touches that impress too: such as being able to play your own MP3s off the PS3 hard-drive. Nothing new to 360 gamers, but a rarity on PS3. Suitably, Burnout Paradise is the only other game I remember seeing this function.
The car handling may seem way off at first, but I think most of the blame has to lie with the traffic collision detection. As some events whisk you off to a proper race track such as the one in Dubai and the fierce drift handling becomes superb on the uncluttered sweeping bends and you start to respect this little sod.
There are split-screen and online multiplayer matches too. Along with dozens of story missions and loads of optional side missions this is great value for money. It chucks loads of Trophies at you too if that helps swing your vote.
- 999KPH? Yes please!
- Quite a long game
- Great value for money on PSN
- Traffic collisions can be infuriating
- ‘Anarchy’ mode sucks
- Cars are very expensive
The Short Version: If you just try and enjoy the insane speeds the game expects you to handle with rush hour traffic you can have a lot of fun here. The extra little touches like car abilities, quick event loading and customisable soundtracks might do enough to convince you to stick with it.