PlayStation

Anarchy: Rush Hour Review

Anarchy: Rush HourDespite a dated look and some jarring performance issues, Anarchy: Rush Hour provides a ton of content at a reasonable price and some cheesy, over-the-top fun. For $7.99 you are getting a full-fledged open world arcade racer that takes queues from series like Need for Speed, Burnout and Midnight Club

Anarchy: Rush Hour is a port of the 2007 PC game Streets of Moscow. You play as Max, a street racer from St. Petersburg forced into the seedy underworld in an attempt to recover his kidnapped girlfriend, as well as a valuble experimental rocket engine. Read More...

There are a wide variety of race types in Anarchy: Rush Hour including Checkpoint races that have you zig-zagging around the city and Crash events that ask you to wreak havoc on both opponents and unsuspecting civilians. You can also enter Fastest Lap, Knockout and Drag races in addition to traditional Circuit and Point-to-Point events.

Story and side races are scattered around the map, but can also be accessed via an in-game e-mail system that gets cluttered very quickly. You can start a Quick Race from the main menu or play local or online multiplayer sessions with up to eight racers, though in my experience it was tough to get an online race together because of a seemingly sparse community.

Anarchy: Rush Hour employs a risk vs. reward system similar to Burnout. Adrenalin is gained by performing reckless acts like driving the wrong way into traffic, drifting and overtaking of opponents. Players can then use Adrenalin to power Adrenalin Devices like a shockwave that knocks opponents out of the way and one that repairs your vehicle. There are also a ramming device and one that lets you jump, flip and spin through the air.

In between races you can visit the garage. Here you can purchase a new cars, upgrade Adrenalin Devices and customize the look and tuning of your vehicle with money that you earn by racing. Purchased devices carried over to all cars and handling can be tweaked by swapping tires.

Though ported from a PC game that is now several years old, the PlayStation 3 version of Anarchy: Rush Hour suffers from frequent and grating pop-in, frame drops, tearing and slowdown.  I was able to tolerate the issues and the game was never unplayable, however many racing game fans will be frustrated by performance that struggles to maintain 30 fps.

Anarchy: Rush Hour can Look Great at Times

The graphics themselves are acceptable, especially for a downloadable game. Though the city of Moscow is sparsely rendered, it is large and filled with traffic. Car models are adequately detailed and the game has three camera views. The whole package looks like an upscaled PlayStation 2 title with a few modern lighting and motion blur effects.

At the Medium difficulty, I found Anarchy: Rush Hour extremely easy. The opponent AI simply does not drive very well, making for a lot of uneventful races. The game does employ a rubber band effect that allows opponents to magically catch up to you, which is always extremely frustrating. There is a police presence in the game as well, however it is inconsequential.
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The controls and physics in Anarchy: Rush hour fall squarely into unrealistic, arcade-style territory. Civilian cars bounce off of yours like cardboard boxes and after a few upgrades you can literally steer your car in mid air and perform flips using Adrenalin Devices.

Control is typical of modern racers and uses the R2 and L2 buttons for gas and breaks respectively. Adrenalin Devices are mapped to the d-pad, while boost and the handbrake are activated with face buttons. The game also supports the use of a racing wheel, though I did not test this feature much. I simply prefer playing this type of racer with a standard controller.

Aside from offering great value for those that can stomach its look and performance, Anarchy: Rush Hour features a surprisingly large soundtrack that offers music from a variety of genres including hard rock, trance and hip-hop. You can also use the Custom Soundtrack feature, which is somewhat novel among PlayStation Network titles.

Players seeking a wallet-friendly downloadable racer should find hours of fun in Anarchy: Rush Hour; as long as they know what they’re in for and keep expectations low. Fans willing to spend a few extra dollars would be better off downloading Burnout Paradise or WipEout HD, both of which are available on Playstation Network for under $20 each.

Positives:

+ Lots of Content for $7.99
+ Wide Variety of Race Types
+ Over-the-Top Adrenalin Devices
+ Allows Custom Soundtrack


Negatives:

- Severe Performance Issues
- Too Easy to Go Off Course
- Rubber Band AI
- Sparse Online Community
- In-Game E-Mail System gets Cluttered Quickly


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Game Forward Score: 3/5

Brian J. Papineau > Game Forward

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Anarchy: Rush Hour (PlayStation Network) Quick Facts:

Genre: Racing
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher: Gaijin Entertainment
Release Date: March 25, 2010
Price: $7.99
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)