previews\ May 26, 2005 at 8:00 pm

Pursuit Force - PSP - Preview

E3 Preview 2005

Pursuit Force takes car chasing to a whole new level. You play as police officer whose job is to chase down gang members while speeding along the streets of 5 distinct zones, each with their own style of backdrop. In the demo I played, the cars I had to stop were laid out in single file, and I had to take each down on my way to the leader.

The level began with me in control of my very sleek and stylish police car at a generous distance from my first target. While avoiding bystander vehicles I sped my way up to the first car, exchanging fire while dodging in and out of traffic. A giant target will let you know when you are within firing range and will automatically keep a lock onto them. This is the most straightforward way to dispose of an enemy car, and Pursuit Force makes it simple enough so that you can easily weave through traffic while firing on your enemy.

One car down, on to my next target. As I drew near to the next gang truck in line I pulled close enough to trigger a little hint icon. Upon pressing my action button while this icon was up, my character opened his door, climbed out a little ways, then leapt from my police car and landed on the enemy truck. This was all happening at a crazy-fast speed with a silky smooth framerate. Once on their truck I could fire into the cab to eliminate them, but it’s not always that easy. They sometimes fire back at you, in which case you can avoid their fire by hanging off the front or rear bumper (depending on the style of vehicle you’re hijacking you will be on the hood or rear). When I had taken out both occupants my character swung around the side of the vehicle and kicked the driver out, landing him right in the driver seat.

One bonus to hijacking versus just destroying your enemy is that you acquire their weapon. Pursuit Force will offer at least 25 different weapons, but the only two available in the demo were a pistol and submachine gun. The other bonus is a new vehicle to drive; the game will feature 50 different vehicles, each with its own handling and advantages.

Now I was chasing the next victim in their own style of truck. By this point I had exterminated enough enemies while keeping innocents safe, so my Justice Meter had filled all the way up. This Justice Meter allowed me to pull off some sweet Hollywood-style action moves on my next opponent. When I pulled up to them I got the same jump icon as before, but this time I jumped in slow motion and was able to fire on the passengers while in mid-air. This took an already fun and exciting game even further than I expected.

Not all of Pursuit Force will be played like this, however. There will even be times in missions where you attack in a different way; the one I saw being from a mounted machine gun on a helicopter.

The level I was pursuing in was very urban, featuring dry ditches and city highways as the primary means of chase. When released, Pursuit Force should have 30 missions, so there should be many more objectives and more scenery to play among.

Pursuit Force was extremely fun, and very impressive for being a handheld game. Even among all the great-looking games the PSP already has this one stands out. Europe is expected to get Pursuit Force by the end of the year, and hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer to get our hands on it.

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