Death Track: Resurrection Review

   08/07/2010 at 08:32       Phil May       3 COMMENTS. - Score 1/5
 - Death Track: Resurrection, PS3, Sky Fallen, 1C Company, Resurrectile Dysfunction

We’ve had an amazing gaming year so far. 2010’s first six months has been packed with some serious contenders for game of the year and we haven’t even had a whiff of the release-packed madness of the fourth quarter yet. Amongst the diamonds though, there’s the inevitable dreck and up till now the very worst game I’ve played this year (Things on Wheels) looked like it would take some beating in the turkey stakes…

(One second while I do a Clarkson pause)

…until now.

Death Track: Resurrection has unctuously splurged its way onto the PSN store having had a reasonably favourable reception on PCs. I say “reasonably favourable” because amazingly the game’s PC metacritic score is above 50, which would seem to indicate that someone out there liked it enough to bump up its average score.

I’d like to meet that person and beat them to death with the sharp end of a copy of Carmageddon, or Interstate ’76 or any other fantastic vehicle combat game.

Death Track: Resurrection is actually the spiritual successor to a much earlier Death Track game (plain old Death Track Racing from around the turn of the Millennium) but rather than utilising the PS3’s punch to provide a prettier and more playable sequel, developers Sky Fallen have come up with something so broken, so detestable that even getting the game as a promo still makes you feel like you’ve being ripped off.

Things look promising from the outset and the visuals aren’t really all that bad as you can see from the bits splurged around this review. However, as we all know, static shots can be deceiving and the whole thing comes apart like a cheap Ikea shelving unit when it lurches into motion.

There is no driving model to speak of. Sky Fallen obviously designed the vehicle handling by balancing a watermelon on a plank of wood, tipping each end of the plank up and down to get a vague idea of how cars steer on a road. When you’re driving something at insane speeds that has all the grip and road presence of an ice hockey puck, you’re instantly on a losing streak. Worse when you have to somehow wrestle the vehicle under control long enough to target stuff with your on-board weaponry.

Death Track’s meathead storyline’s for the birds but you’re basically shoved into a high-powered weaponised car, shoved onto an unforbidding post-apocalyptic track or two, and given the task of beating your opponents into submission. It plays more like a really bad FPS than a driving game, and there are so many bugs and glitches (I even managed to fall through the road several times on the Tutorial level – unforgiveable even for a PSN Arcade title) that playing this feels like trying to get a petulant octopus dressed in a pair of Jeggings.

It’s insane that so little attention was paid to how the game played, when so much attention was lavished on how the game looks. There’s some great design work in the vehicles and in the tracks and environments but when the whole thing’s been stitched together with rotten catgut, it’s hard to compliment the team for the few bits they got right.

Ultimately despite a plethora of single player and multiplayer modes, Death Track is so unplayable that it could end up being one of the thriftiest purchases of the year. For a mere tenner, you could probably fight with the game’s terrible core gameplay right up until the likes of Gran Turismo 5 arrive.

Gaming history is peppered with fine examples of vehicular combat games. Carmageddon, Interstate '76 - christ, even Battle Cars on the ZX Spectrum. So why is it seemingly impossible for developers to take those basic but successful ideas and turn them into a this-gen stunner?

Death Track truly is the gaming equivalent of a silent eggy hummer emitted during a long elevator ride on a boiling hot day. Avoid like the plague.

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