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Full Auto

2 Ratings: 3.0
Racing / Driving video game by Sega for the Xbox 360

Combine fully-automatic, weapon-equipped vehicles with highly detailed and interactive urban environments and you have Full Auto, the most destructive racing action ever experienced in a video game. Players can choose from a wide selection of unique … see full wiki

Release Date: Q4, 2005
1 review about Full Auto

Full Auto - Tastes Great, less filling

  • Feb 24, 2006
Pros: Lots of fun destruction, good sense of speed, impressive graphics

Cons: repetetive gameplay, only a few maps

The Bottom Line: Full Auto is a lot of fun for a few hours, but might get a little dull for real racing fans.

I'm not a huge fan of racing games. I enjoyed the heck out of Forza and Burnout is maniacal fun merely because everything blows up. Full Auto takes a page from your standard racing game and adds guns for a touch of that Burnout magic. The game succeeds on many levels, but doesn't quite have enough long-term sustainable gameplay.

•• Story ••
Story? There not a shred of story in this game. This isn't really a bad thing, because usually when they try to add a story to a racing game, it feels contrived and shallow. So better to leave well enough alone.

•• Gameplay ••
The gameplay of Full Auto is basic. You throttle with the right trigger, brake with the other and steer with the thumbsticks. Any racing fan should be able to pick up and play. The extra wrinkle is the weapons. The A and B buttons are your primary and secondary weapons. Due to the layout, it's nearly impossible to fire both at the same time, but this is not a big deal. If you fire a weapon too much at once, it will overheat and you have to wait for it to cool down before you can use it again.

The weapons are not tremendously varied. You have your basic ballistic weapons such as shotgun, machine gun and rockets. You also have defensive weapons that you can drop behind your car such as mines and grenades.
Nothing fantastic, or futuristic. It would have been nice to have lasers and more destructive weapons with imagination. As well, the combinations of weapons are predetermined for you. So you can't pick a machine gun with grenades, only a machine gun with mines. In all the races I played (and that was many) I was able to choose one of three set of weapons.

One of the cool features of Full Auto is Unwreck. If you find yourself barrelling too fast for that corner and you splat into it, you can hit the right shoulder and reverse in time a la Prince of Persia. This is useful if you have crashed and even more useful if you think you are about to crash. But this has its limits. First you have to fill your unwreck meter by, ironically, destroying things. The more enemies, buildings, whatever you blow up, the more your unwreck meter fills. Don't have unwreck? Then you're going to have to accept that you are a bad driver and hope you can catch up when you respawn.

You also have boost and that, too, is defined by a boost meter. This meter is filled by sliding, drifting, and catching air. Once filled, you can hold down the left trigger and get a boost of speed. This is very cool, though all racing games have some sort of boost or nitro. There really isn't anything new here, but it's almost a necessary feature in arcade racers.

There aren't very many levels, about 3 or 4 from what I could tell. Each map is layed out differently depending on the race. This is somewhat disappointing. After all if a game like Forza can have many unique maps, then why can't Full Auto? Nevertheless, the maps are quite huge and expansive. While each different configuration doesn't really feel like a new maps, it is varied enough to remain fun for a while.

Each race is more or less the same. Race and finish in 1st place and do a certain amount of damage, measured as wreck points. Destroying the buildings will rack up wreck points as will destroying civilian cars and other racers. Pretty much everything is destructible in the environment. This is one the games strong points. The world is amazingly fragile. I can smash into buildings and actually go inside! I can blow up tankers, topple water towers. Everything I see is fair game and I get points for it to boot. This is the most fun aspect of the game.

One of the really unforgivable problems is the performance. All of the destruction and mayhem comes at a price and that price is a serious drop in performance. The frame rate dips well below the acceptable 30 frames per second whenever there is a large explosion or if the player is destroying lots of things at once with the machine gun. This is really not acceptable on a machine as powerful as the Xbox 360. And as icing on the cake, the game actually crashed on me. It hard locked while I was in the midst of raising unholy carnage on the screen. My educated guess is that poor memory management simply made it run out of memory. The cars should crash, not the game.

•• Graphics ••
The graphics of Full Auto are quite good. Again, I mention the huge expansive worlds that the races take place in. Not only are the environments huge, they are full of detail and everything can be destroyed. The high resolution details apply to everything including explosions, trees, and rubble. As well the cars are finely detailed. The chrome actually looks like chrome and as the car takes a beating, it shows with broken windows, panels hanging off, doors slamming open and closed. I like it when driving games don't use real licensed cars, because they aren't allowed to destroy them. Plus I don't really care if the game allows me to drive a Lamborghini. Because I'm not really driving a Lamborghini. So instead, give me something I can wreck. And Full Auto does do that, as the car destructions are slowed down and detailed to show every nuance of the carnage.

•• Sound ••
The sound design is quite excellent. Each car has a unique sound as does each weapon. But the real aural experience comes with the carnage. The foley team must have spent quite a lot of time figuring out how to get the sounds of destruction, because there are a lot of them. In 5.1, the sounds envelope you in destructive aural bliss.

The music is appropriate, if forgettable. It seems to be a mix of your basic dance music with hard-rock. The mix is a basic blend of, well, driving music. I won't be rushing out the buy the soundtrack, but I also wasn't interested in turning off the music or replacing it with my own. In short, the music worked, but remained in the background.

•• Multiplayer ••
The multiplayer of Full Auto is what will give this game legs. All of the game types in single player are available in multiplayer as well. You can do straight races, run and gun,. destruction matches, whatever in player or ranked matches like all games on Live. The frame rate issues persist, naturally, but I saw no signs of real lag over Xbox Live. And if you don't have live, there is also the option for split screen racing on one console. The multiplayer options are excellent.

•• Achievements ••
The achievements don't show a huge amount of creativity and are typical of this generation. Complete each of the different game types, get an achievement, destroy 10, 50 or 500 opponents and get an Achievement. While this works as a reward system to get people to finish the game, it doesn't show a lot of ingenuity. As people become Achievement junkies, I hope the developers will get more creative with their Achievements.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated T for Teen and is safe for anyone over the age of 13. Unless you plan to mount machine guns on your Volvo, there;s not much for young minds to emulate. There are no people in the game, but you will have the opportunity to destroy civilian cars, which presumably have drivers. But other than that, the game is pretty harmless.

•• Conclusion ••
Full Auto is a lot of fun for the first few hours and even longer when playing live. But the rigid weapon structure, small amount of maps, and repetetive gameplay won't keep racing or destruction fans occupied for long. But until you get bored, it's heck of a ride.

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