Ever since the movie The Fast and the Furious came into theatres a few years ago we have seen an abundance of street racing titles hit the consoles. EA’s Need For Speed Underground has been very popular, giving the gaming world a fast paced addicting street racing title. Well now Namco has jumped to the streets to bring us their own street racing title in Street Racing Syndicate for the PS2. Can the game be crowned the new street racing champ? Read the review to find out!
It’s pretty predictable when you have a successful well-selling game and then a bunch of games come out and try to recreate the game in their own unique fashion. For example you have Grand Theft Auto then we had a slew of similar games, such as The Getaway, True Crime: Streets of LA, and even to some extend, Driv3r. Now you get the feeling since Need for Speed Underground was so successful that many games are going with the same style, and we find that in Street Racing Syndicate.
There are three main modes to choose from in Street Racing Syndicate. You have the Arcade mode which throws you right into the action wherever you choose to race at. Then you have the multiplayer mode which includes split screen action as well online play which will be discussed further. But where you will be playing for the majority of the time will be in the games street mode or in other words its career mode.
In Street Racing Syndicate you are given an experience that tries to mirror what exactly happens on the streets today. So therefore you will be buying cars, upgrading parts, making bets, picking up on girls, and racing all in this street mode. Probably the most important aspect of the street mode is money. The money you earn you will not only get you into big money races, but enables you to make side bets to try and make some extra cash on the side. This money becomes quite useful when trying to purchase new cars and upgrade parts for your cars.
Let me get the girlfriends out of the way so we can move onto the rest of the review. This is one of those games that unfortunately depict the path of which it seems our world is going. I am sure real live street racing has plenty of girls in them, and I am sure a lot of this is actually true to the sport, but in my eyes this is where the game hits an all time low. You can "win" these girls by completing different tasks. Once you have these models, they become your flag girl and if you drive well you unlock a video. Now please, I know this will probably sell you some copies but where is your class. This in no way, shape or form made the game any better. If you ask me leave this kind of stuff out of video games because we honestly don’t need it.
So after that mini-rant, we are back to the game where things don’t get any better for Street Racing Syndicate. You have a total of fifty different cars to choose from in the game, all of which have some slight differences in the way they handle but not as much as many would expect. But to top all of this off the game doesn’t feel like a street racing games. When I say that, what I mean is the speed of the cars is not accurately depicted in the game. You could be going 150mph and it still feels like you’re going 75. The whole feel of the game feels very sluggish and instead of getting the adrenaline rushes that you can get when you drive your car that fast, the game ends up feeling very slow and in part makes the game less appealing then it could be.
The online mode for the PS2 version of the game seems to be handling quite well. From the races I have competed in they haven’t had much lag to speak of and the game holds enough modes to keep you occupied online for quite awhile. The more interesting of the modes is the pink slip mode which can have you either win your opponents car or lose your car for good. And yes, you can lose your precious ride permanently in online racers, which is primary incentive for you to get better in the game.
Overall I thought the game was constructed in a very nice manner; the modes and the online mode had the potential to really be something special. But the gameplay department feels quite sluggish and the game feels like it can’t make up its mind if it wants to be an arcade racer or a simulation. The gameplay isn’t bad by any stretch but when you compare it up to other games on the market already it can’t match its competitors.
All of the latest Street Racing titles that have been released in the recent year or so have all been quite solid in the graphical department. So how does Street Racing Syndicate compare to the rest of the pack? Well let’s just say in some ways the game can compete but in others it doesn’t meet the requirements.
The car models of Street Racing Syndicate are the game’s stronger points. Each car looks like what you would expect them to look like in real life. Each car has plenty of detail and plenty of color in them. The environments are where the game falters a bit. It seems as though after playing the game for quite some time it doesn’t change that much. And when I say that I mean the environments seem to become quite repetitive as the game drives forward. You will start to feel like your racing the same race over and over again.
Overall the graphics are good but no where near there full potential. There are plenty of areas in which the game could have used more work but with that being said we are left with a game that looks about average.
This is a category that I think is a mixed bag if you ask me. The game modes could be quite fun and the online play is quite enjoyable. On the flip side the gameplay just isn’t fast enough to feel like a true live street racing game. So what it comes down to is that we are given a fun racing game that has some quirks that hold it back from being great. It can be a fun game but you have to have the patience to let it be, which is the game’s worst characteristic.
Plain and simple Street Racing Syndicate just isn’t as good as some of the other games on the market today. It has the potential to be but due to the slower paced gameplay, the average graphics we are left with a game much more worthy of a rental then a purchase.
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.