Last February Sega released a new property into what is now a crowded genre. For a first attempt, Full Auto for the Xbox 360, they did a decent job. The game was fun, but it did not stand out. Worst of all, however, the frame rate was all over the place.
Jumping to the PlayStation 3 — now a Sony exclusive (the game ships on the PSP on March 20) — Full Auto 2 fixes most of what was holding the original back, plus adds an Arena mode, adding greatly to the overall package.
When you get down to it, Full Auto 2 is more of the same, with higher production values. For those with the acquired taste, this is going to be great news. The smooth frame rate makes all the difference in the world in this game, with nary a hiccup in sight.
The graphics, and amount of on-screen destruction have also improved in this second take on a Burnout meets Twisted Metal combat racer. Courses feature more destruction all around, from buildings to shoot down (for impeding your rivals' progress) to small details like the bricks that fly off the wall when you smash into it at 100 MPH. This game has the fit-and-finish that Full Auto needed on the 360. It is just a better experience all around.
Anyone familiar with the first game will come to terms with the courses here pretty quickly, they are almost identical. There are some surprises, and a few different shortcuts, for the Full Auto vet.
In all, the game features 20 standard combat racing courses, and six arena courses too. The Arena mode is the biggest addition, and makes you wonder why the original did not have it. With the expanded selection of weaponry, and addition of power-ups a la Twisted Metal, Arena mode is the most fun to be had here.
Career mode consists of an overly cheesy story of bad people taking over the city… the police can't get the job done… you are sent in. Yeah, it's pretty weak. But you do get a branching story line with both primary and secondary objectives for each race – quite similar to the first game.
Other offline modes include Arcade, and head-to-head. Arcade mode allows you to quickly jump into any type of match with A.I. opponents. Head-to-head is where you will be playing two-player split-screen races. This mode can be played with A.I. opponents as well.
The most fun in jumping online for an Arena battle – sadly you won't be finding a lot of other Full Auto 2 players. I thought the number would have grown since the December launch of the title, but sadly, it has not. Waiting in a lobby for the match to fill up is not much fun. Once you are off to the races, things are great, but getting to the starting line can be a drag at times.
No longer do you have to choose a shotgun over a machine gun, as specific cars in Full Auto 2 now allow for more slots to put weapons than was found in the original. Yes, you can have it all in Full Auto 2, shot guns, machine guns, grenades, you name it.
Driving is still a little "floaty," but not so much as the original. The car physics are not as bad as the precision aiming handled with the right analog stick – another anomaly brought over from the first game.
Considering you steer with the left analog stick, and shoot with X and Circle, it's a bit difficult to aim. Otherwise the controls work well, gas and brake are on the triggers, boost and unwreck (Full Auto's signature move) are mapped to L1/R1, respectively.
With the added Arena mode, the game looks and feels like a next-gen Twisted Metal; all that is missing is the character and charm of that series. Full Auto 2 still stays within its niche, and doesn't break out to a broader audience. With improvements such as the smooth frame rate, and Arena mode, fans will find much to like, while others will pass this one by.
Full Auto 2: Battlelines is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Violence. This game can also be found on: PSP.Powered by Sidelines