Pursuit Force – Second Opinion

I have to say that I expected to like Pursuit Force more than I did. I've been spending the majority of my gaming time on portables lately, and I don't like it when a handheld game tries to get too heavy. More often than not, I'm twiddling my thumbs between job assignments or I might be somewhere with only short bursts of free time. So, from the perspective that 'light equals good,', Pursuit Force should have fit the bill. The action is fast and focused, there's no real story to keep track of, and the presentation is great.

Although there's not a lot to Pursuit Force besides driving fast, jumping from vehicle to vehicle, and killing enemies, I do give props to the developers for adding little twists to the missions to keep them from being identical. Some levels were straight seek and destroy, but others threw curveballs like keeping a bus moving above 100 mph to avoid an explosion while trying to offload innocent civilians at the same time. It might have been a direct ripoff of Speed, but it was a fun variation for a game that establishes itself inside a very narrow set of parameters. Besides odd missions like this, the on-foot and aquatic segments kept things fresh. (The boats handle like floating bricks, though. Be warned.)

Where the game trips up is the difficulty level, as Andrew noted. Although I didn't try the European version for purposes of comparison, the North American version is still in need of further tweaking. I flew through the first three-quarters of the game's story mode in two or three hours, only to become completely frustrated by the last handful of missions. It's a shame because Pursuit Force is so mindlessly frenetic that it's easy to get caught up in the adrenaline and forget that it's such a simple affair—the thrill of leaping from a moving car through the air in slow motion and landing on an enemy vehicle with guns blazing never got old. But, when I started getting hit in the face with missions that took dozens of tries to complete, the enjoyment disappeared and I started wondering why there weren't any difficulty settings, power-ups, or statistics to improve to get me over the hump.

Pursuit Force is a great example of flash and style, but it needs more work to iron out the difficulty spikes and hold the whole experience together, especially for players of varying skill (and patience) levels. As a $20 experimental release, I'd be more forgiving and support it, but as a full-priced purchase it makes the mistake of being too shallow to justify how vexing it becomes at the end. Rating: 6 out of 10