Arcade racers have been around since the beginning of video games, emphasizing on speed and challenging tracks rather than realism. One of my favorite arcade racers of all times comes from the Rush series, in San Francisco Rush, which was on the Nintendo 64. Well now Rush is back on this generation of consoles in LA Rush for the Playstation 2. Can Midway bring back the greatness that once was the Rush series? Read our full review to find out!
For those who have not been a part of the Rush series, here is a little brief description of what this series has been all about. Basically in the Rush games you will find that the game was all about going at extremely fast speeds, while doing insane stunts and going on high flying races. The Rush series was really just all about having fun and giving you a great racing experience. Well now the Rush series is back for the first time on the Playstation 2 in LA Rush. So can Rush tear up the streets of LA?
LA Rush actually has a story mode made for the game, which is actually where the bulk of the gameplay will come from. This, first off, is pretty surprising for any Rush fan, as this is a game that I never thought would happen in a Rush title, and yet alas it has in LA Rush. Basically you take the role of Trickz, a character who has just had all of his cars taken away. Now he wants to try to gain it all back and you are there to help him on this adventure. Surprisingly this story behind the game is not all that bad. Sure it’s not the world’s best storyline, but it still has enough interesting segments that will make this whole game a little more cohesive then it had been in the past.
Basically you start at the bottom, as you normally do in a video game, with a pretty poor car and only a few races to choose from. Apart from the first race, you will find that all of the other street races have an entry fee, which is actually a pretty typical street racing feature. However is really odd about this whole ordeal is that you only lose money when you get in last place, so all other places still make cash, which is kind of weird. I would have been fine if maybe 1st and Second get some cash but with all places but dead last? It just seems a little too easy to win money.
The actual racing in LA Rush is actually not that bad, and feels close to what you would expect a new Rush game to play. However, there are some problems that I could just not overlook that do hurt the games overall experience. The racing itself just doesn’t feel all that different from other arcade racers. In fact, the controls of LA Rush actually feel a bit sluggish in comparison to what we saw in the Burnout series. LA Rush has some good ideas, but kind of fails in the fact that you will find yourself repeating some of the “easier” races in order to make some money, which is really one of the prime focuses of the game. Unfortunately this begins to wear away at the user and to me I just found myself not being as excited about the game as I had been at the beginning.
I am a huge Rush fan, and LA Rush has to be a game that the developers are going to have to sit back and consider some of the poor judgments they made. Repetition is fine, but only in moderation. When you have to excessively replay races over and over again that is just not a good thing. There are of course the stunt courses, which are favorites for fans of the Rush series and these are some of the more exciting portions of the game. However, even these don’t have that profound effect as they had in previous games.
When I look at LA Rush, I just see a moderately good racing game that is nothing more than that. There is no driving feature, or quality about this game that just stands out in my mind. The game does not include any online play (nor for the Xbox) and that too feels like a missed opportunity. LA Rush is not a bad game, but pales in comparison with the plethora of games on the PS2.
One of the greatest accomplishments the developers did was recreating LA, which was really a fantastic example of how these developers definitely had the talent to take this game further then where it ended up going. Los Angeles, in LA Rush looks absolutely fantastic, and in my eyes had so many great touches that you could not help but be impressed. There is a ton of great detail to be found in LA Rush, and once again I cannot emphasize enough how impressive of a job the developers did with the visual style of the game.
One the other hand, the game did not do as well with the car models, which although they had a good deal of variety, really didn’t give the amount of detail that you would hope for in the game. The overall presentation of LA Rush was actually quite good, with plenty of detail, color, and a good deal of variety. The visuals are not perfect but good enough not to cause disappointment.
Had I been reviewing during the time of San Francisco Rush, I would have no hesitation in awarding a perfect score for this section. One thing I think the developers decided to do, which worked against them, was go for a more new age video game. That is not what the Rush series is all about. They went away from their arcade style roots by throwing in the storyline and forced the player to compete in repetitive races to earn more money.
LA Rush is a good game and there is no doubt about that. However it is just nowhere near you would hope a Rush game would be at this point in time. The racing is good, the stunt modes are fun, but the game offers way too much repetition and not enough fun racing that make the series popular in the first place. If Rush comes back for another try, let’s just hope that they go back to their roots and do what made this game popular in the first place, and that is fast paced no nonsense racing with much more insane stunts.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.