I never understood why Will Smith took so much flack for damaging everything around him while trying to catch the bad guy in Bad Boys II. You’d think the police force would be happy enough with just catching their guy. If you’re like me, then you’ll obviously see the complete satisfaction in playing Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice for your PlayStation Portable.
That’s the exact role you’ll take on as the Commander in this latest installment of the Pursuit Force franchise. As the Commander, you’ll lead your team into various challenges and scenarios in order to make the world a better place. Sounds nostalgic, doesn’t it? The great part is your betterment of the world will also include hijacking civilian vehicles or simply tossing them aside while commandeering their car in order to chase down the convicts to be.
The opening sequence of the single-player story takes place on the biggest day of your life. It’s the wedding between the Commander and his lovely lady. Only problem is, some convicts have escaped and want nothing more than to throw your beautiful day into tragic disarray. They end up accomplishing just that and soon enough you’re jumping into your convertible police vehicle preparing to chase those baddies down and serve them up some extreme justice.
Once that first introductory mission is all said and done, you’ll be greeted by another pleasant cell-shaded cut-scene that will introduce you to one of the new organizations within the game the Viper Squad. These guys come off as arrogant nobodies right from the get go, unfortunately, they’re also a group of rogue police officers led by a corrupt commander to boot. You’ll have to eventually surrender your first arrest to these guys and watch them take all of the glory in the news while you sit idly by watching. Your pursuit for justice begins here and soon enough you’ll be after a handful of different gangs preparing to serve up your own extreme case of justice.
The gameplay is very similar to the first installment. Don’t expect any unusual surprises. The mechanics and control layout are virtually identical to one another however this doesn’t mean the game doesn’t offer up a lot of new and improved variations.
One of the first things you’ll notice while playing is that it is no longer a hassle or a guessing game in order to jump from vehicle to vehicle. Unlike the first title, the icon will appear and you’ll be able to jump in sync. No longer will you get close and see the icon just not show up causing you to lose critical time in a timed mission. You’ll even have the ability to fire at an enemy while in mid-air in order to pick more of them off before landing. This is a solid addition as it gives you a better edge over your enemy.
Something else that we found great was the diversity within the gameplay itself. No two vehicles drive the same. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. You’ll notice that a mini-van drives a lot slower than your high-end vehicles. They all also control differently as well. While the convertible may be easier to take corners with, your hovercraft won’t be, nor will your speed boat in the open water. You’ll often find yourself swaying from side to side, as you turn, almost coming up horizontally. This will take some getting used to, but once you have it down, you’ll be able to use it to your advantage. Nothing is more rewarding than swinging your hovercraft 180 degrees while shooting enemies behind you only to whiplash yourself back and continue on escorting a ship to its destination.
You’ll also have no trouble aiming on this game as the lock-on system is very well implemented. This means you’ll just have to choose your best gun and fire. This obviously plays a huge helping hand in fast-paced chase scenarios where you don’t have the time to worry about aiming while flying through the air.
Also, don’t think you’ll be given a small supply of weaponry to take advantage of the lock-on system, that isn’t the case one bit. BigBig Studios has given you over 25 types of weapons to choose from. You’ll be given handguns, shotguns, machine guns, and even heavy artillery to take down the convicts at large. The variety of weapons definitely gives the game a lot more appeal.
Along with an ample supply of weapons is a big selection of vehicles. You’ll have your classic vehicles such as buses, cars, motorcycles with sidecar, jet skis, helicopters, etcetera but each one will be enhanced from the last game. You’ll also be introduced to new vehicles like the hovercraft, which are a lot of joy to ride.
Speaking of new vehicles, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the new epic boss missions and the incredibly crazy new vehicles they’ll possess. Things will definitely get interesting as you progress through the story itself. As expected, each of the gangs these bosses represent will be suited up with their own weaponry and own unique vehicles, giving each its own individuality as well.
There are five gangs in total and they’ve introduced three new gangs to toy with. One we’ve already introduced to you is the Viper Squad. This squad is based around rogue police officers with a commander that is just as bad. They’ll be a big part of the game. Another new gang is the Raiders. These guys are new-age pirates who love to cause trouble on incoming cargo ships, watch out for them in the waters. Lastly, we have the Syndicate. This group based from the UK and Europe seems to be a simple band of armed robbers. Their weaponry is no joke.
Even with how great this game sounds, it isn’t without its flaws. A couple of which may potentially hurt it depending on how you, the gamer feels about them. One of the bigger concerns for this title was the difficulty issue. The last game was very difficult to complete with almost absurd time trials to boot. Extreme Justice has been improved some in this category as the game has a more balanced feel; unfortunately, the difficult time trials still exist and are still a pain to complete. You’ll often time find yourself frustrated and wanting to put the game down.
Another big disappointment was the on-foot missions. They had the potential to be just as cinematic as the car chases, but fell short by miles. Enemies will rush you like a gimped kid with downs syndrome, but they’re not slouches. These guys will take chunks of your life away before you’re even ready to realize you need to take cover. This will undoubtedly cause mass frustration and irritation, but definitely gives a solid stepping-stone for the next game in the series.
In-between missions you’ll be given the delight of watching cell-shaded masterpieces. They add to the games pull by a great deal. The voice over acting is nothing short of Hollywood appeal and helps you get dragged in to the game itself. It’s not quite on the level of MediEvil Resurrection, but it does do the job on a fantastic level.
Don’t think you’ll only have one way of taking it to the bad guys, as BigBig Studios has given you a plethora of game modes to enjoy this time around. We were pleasantly surprised at how many there actually were. In all, there are four modes available while multiplayer gives you even more modes inside of its own. These modes of play include Story, Bounty Mode, Challenge Mode, and even Multiplayer. Each of these modes is a new experience to the franchise outside of the expected single-player story. We’ll break this down for you one by one.
Story Mode revolves around a single-player focus, which includes a deeper plotline than the previous entry in the series. You’ll be able to choose between missions to handle in order to progress through the game and you’ll also be given the opportunity to go to the Laboratory in order to upgrade some of your skills. This mode features well over 50 missions in total and will also have downloadable content in the future.
Bounty Mode is also a single-player mode and has been added in order for you to further unlock things for the game. You’ll be given the opportunity to replay story mode cases in which you’ve already completed. They’ll give you objectives such as a certain point requirement to reach in order to gain stars. These stars will then be tallied and used to unlock items of your choice from the “Shop”. The shop features well over 90 items to unlock, including new characters for online play, movies, vehicles, etc… This is definitely a fun mode to just pick up and play if you’re looking for a quick fix and also supplied three difficulty settings.
Challenge Mode is once again a single-player endeavor as well. This mode was added in order for you to hone your skills at the game. You’ll be given challenges like ramming enemy vehicles or not running into the scenery. The challenges available also depend on what you’d completed within the story mode as well.
Multiplayer is a new addition that is much appreciated. They didn’t cut any corners with this mode either. Inside you’ll be able to take part in Rampage, Ram Jam, Survivor, and Cops ‘n’ Robbers. Each mode is playable with other people online. You’ll be able to select characters from the game, as well as characters you’ve unlocked from the shop.
Rampage will have you battling one another on foot to decide a winner while Ram Jam has you pursuing the criminals that are trying to escape while ramming into their vehicles to blow them up in order to win. Survivor will place you in the center of the action, as enemies will come at you trying to take you down. You’ll have to survive their onslaught in order to win as survivor. Last but not least, Cops ‘n’ Robbers will pit you against other people as you attempt to stop the criminals from reaching their goal. The criminals will be given an objective to complete while you, as the Pursuit Force will be given the responsibility to stop them.
The graphic representation of this title is what every PSP game should strive to be. The look and feel is great and the detail is almost perfect. Everything makes you feel as though you’re actually being given a representation of what it should be.
Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice has been developed with over 20 hours of diverse gameplay. On top of that, BigBig Studios and SCEA have stated that there will actually be downloadable content for this title. We’re unsure if it will cost money, but it’s rewarding to know that a PSP game will be given more missions over time. This definitely adds to the overall appeal to the game itself and definitely justifies its purchase price.