IGN Review of Street Supremacy
Street racing is rather hot these days thanks to Paul Walker. Rather than focusing on technical aspects of driving, street racing is based around modifying vehicles to no end and then pushing them to extremes. Plus, it's illegal, so that's always fun.
Unfortunately, Street Supremacy is not. Well, it's not fun, that is, but it should be illegal. It is easily one of the worst racing games I've ever laid my hands on, bar none. It's slow, plodding, entirely boring, and worst of all, aspects of it are completely nonfunctional.
The first problem is that the vehicles in the game, all 25 of them, seem to move at about 20mph. It feels as if you're crawling along a freeway, inching yourself towards traffic and passing by other cars slow enough that you'd have time to grab a bottle of Grey Poupon. It is agonizingly slow.
Its sense of slow isn't helped at all by the fact that this is one of the sparsest and most bland-looking games to come out in years. Most of the time, all you can see is the street, walls on either side and maybe one car in the distance. There are buildings about, but they look terrible and are actually fairly rare. The cars look okay I suppose, but they're mediocre at best. Everything else is total and complete crap.
To compensate for the game moving at the pace of a snail and keep it reasonably challenging, the controls have been tuned in an absolutely terrible fashion. It feels as if you're driving a boat down a freeway rather than a sports car, its anchor dragging behind. Seriously, these are some of the most sluggish vehicles I've ever driven, both in terms of speed and steering.
The cars' handling is so bad that your cars have problems taking the very slow turns in the game. Most every "turn" in the game, if you can call them that, are more like slight angle changes to a straightaway, and yet these racecars cannot take them without slamming into a wall.
Not only does this make the game frustratingly stupid to drive, but it also cripples the AI in many ways. Computer drivers will slam on the brakes in order to keep their line, allowing you to fly right by them with only a small tap on the wall to slow you down. In order to compensate for this, nearly every CPU car in the game gets a massive starting boost at the beginning of each race and take off much faster than you, at least until you've nearly maxed out your vehicle.
Now, this brings up one of the only two reasonable things in the game: the upgrade system. It's not amazing by any means, but you do have a number of upgrades and such, including simple visual additions, that you can pop on or into your car. These work as non-licensed upgrade levels, which makes the whole aspect rather generic, but you do have plenty of options for your money.
The problem is that most upgrades actually have little impact on your performance. Upgrading your engine a couple levels will result in an almost unidentifiable performance increase, so you really need to jump up five or six levels before things really change. The end result is that even an entirely maxed out car isn't exponentially better than the stock variant, even though you've spent multiple times its original price on upgrades.
The only other cool part about the game is its Team Battle mode, which is the main career mode. You join up with a racing team and then race your own teammates for inter-team ranking while your entire team competes with other teams in order to make claim on territories. It's kind of cool, although navigating through all of these menus can be a pain in the ass. The worst examples of this are the actual Team Battles because while you can skip to simply seeing the winner of each showdown, you have to page through each race and wait for their cars to load. You can spend three or four minutes simply pressing X and waiting for the next match-up to load, simply to skip to the results.
The absolute worst part of the game is its multiplayer. In theory, you can play against a friend via Ad Hoc and bring in your tuned vehicles from the Team Battle mode. Sounds fine, but the problem is that it is completely and entirely nonfunctional.
Let me repeat that just in case I wasn't clear: the multiplayer simply does not work. At all. No. None. Nada. Broken. Deceased. Dead. Kill me. Please.
Okay, so you can connect in the lobby and begin a race, but after that it's all downhill, straight to hell. On the technical side, what happens is that both PSPs will continue to send input data to each other, but they'll never actually provide any sort of sync information. In other words, they don't ever cross-reference car placement to make sure everything's lined up.
What happens in-game is that the race will begin as expected, but soon after the communication between the PSPs will become disjointed and the games will no longer match up. For example, in one case I had finished a race and supposedly won, while on the other system my car was stopped mid-race, facing directly into the side of a wall. You'll see things like your opponent smashing into traffic when in fact they passed it cleanly.
By the end, the two games will have become so disjointed that both players often end up winning. Since both players will almost always see the other player crash into something, even though these events never actually happen, they'll pass their opponent on their own system and end up with a "You Win" screen.
At least there are no losers in Street Supremacy.
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