PSP Preview: Pursuit Force

While Pursuit Force probably won't become the PSP's savior as far as original games are concerned, a brief three level demo shows potential. Even with a short demo, Pursuit Force has a tough time overcoming repetitiveness, though the other two gameplay modes, on foot and in the air, are not included.

Instead, players have a chance to experience the game's core: driving. Actually, it's not all driving. Shooting becomes the game's key, whether from your own vehicle or jumping onto another one to finish the job.

The simple mechanics bring comparisons to over-the-top action films, and it's not hard to imagine the influence coming from the car chase in the second Matrix film. The super-human like jumping abilities of the lead character mean you'll never miss when jumping from one vehicle to another. It's automatically done with a simple press of the O button when in range.

Targeting and shooting are mapped to the triggers, and even in rough action (pretty much the entire time you're in the game), it's easy to perform every move needed to beat the mission. Cars are a little difficult to control at first, especially with an index finger stuck on the L trigger. It comes with practice, though avoiding traffic can be problematic.

Changing up the action is the Pursuit meter. Successfully eliminating criminals while avoiding innocent civilians fills this meter. When full, you can exchange it for extra health or leave it topped off. When full, you can shoot in the air when making the jump from vehicle to vehicle and deal out more damage. The speed slows down so the player can get off some extra shots in the air, and while a derivative concept, works inside the mindset of the game.

The clean look is impressive, especially for the hardware. This is what you should expect from second-generation software. Pursuit Force also shows off production values, something usually lost in original PSP software. The soundtrack is fantastic, while the cheesy voice overs add to the game's campy charm.

On a console, this build of Pursuit Force may feel like a budget title. On the PSP, with a near complete lack of original software for months, this title has a chance to stick out, even at full price. It remains to be seen how the other action levels turn out, but if these driving segments are any indication, Pursuit Fore may live up to its billing as one of the best from E3 2005.

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