In a break from tradition, instead of waiting for this title to flop its way on the to US Store so we can post the review officially, I'm presenting our review of 'Fast & Furious 5: Official Game' by Gameloft in a temporary news post. Once the game is entered in to our system I'll shift this over to where it truly belongs ;)
YouTube Review (Final Score: 4/5)
Recently The Onion did a small skit about the latest car-porn film Fast & Furious 5, taking the usual pot-shot at the action extravaganza by claiming the script was written by a small child obsessed with explosions. However no one truly expects to see an action film like this for high-art; it's all about the mindless over-the-top antics, scantily clad women and tight-shirt wearing men as they defy physics for 90 minutes. So it's no surprise that Fast Five by Gameloft is an unashamed Arcade-style racer with a thin premise to justify racing at all, but when you don't have the backup of intense action scenes or genuine star appearances it's not quite as easy to be forgiving of its shallow nature.
Cars and explosions and speed are the order of the day for Fast Five as you swing your expensive racer around each track and players can choose between basic tilt, touch and swipe controls to keep themselves on target. Each 'chapter' follows the events of the pack of thieves as they attempt to escape the clutches of cops and other gangs, providing just enough justification for racing their way around large race tracks around the world. After an initial introduction race you'll unlock a new car (which can be upgraded and customized with cash earned via races) and can then participate in one of several additional race types, varying from normal racing to drags; elimination matches; time attacks; and the obligatory drift mode.
And that's really about all you can expect until you complete the game. It's hard not to feel a bit disappointed when the depth of the game is explored within the first couple chapters, though to be fair the tracks can be quite fun as they're often very large and varied with the slick visuals you'd expect of a developer like Gameloft. Additional vehicles and aesthetic upgrades are available and if you're impatient you can purchase cash via an In App Purchase (though this does ruin a lot of the replay value and challenge of the game).
Where things really start to kick off is in the online arena as you play with up to nine other racers while playing game modes that feel far more exciting as you constantly need to avoid being wrecked by others jostling for first place. It's not a lot, but it adds flavor to an otherwise standard racing title supported by a weak movie plot and gameplay features that became standard for the genre a long time ago.
If you're a racing fan and keen on the Fast & Furious movie franchise you'll get a kick out of this game, but those already playing a Gameloft arcade racer can let this one cruise on by.
- Slick presentation; large and varied tracks with interactive elements.
- Unlockable content; lots of cars, upgrades and aesthetic changes to work towards.
- 10 player online matches; local networks also supported.
- IAP for those too impatient to grind out cash.
- Repetitive single-player campaign; unlock chapter, race for first place five times, upgrade, rinse-repeat.
- Painful to watch 'comic' storyboard sequences.
- Constantly re-used in-game sequences to start races; looks silly after the first couple times.
As long as you go in to Fast Five with the same mentality as the film (i.e. with a healthy dose of salt and a brain set to low-power) the standard arcade gameplay can be fun to play. Though to paraphrase a character in the game: "One last job and then we dissappear. Forever." If only the who franchise would follow suit.