reviews\ May 29, 2002 at 8:00 pm

The Italian Job - PSX - Review

The Italian Job is a member of a dying breed: the Playstation game. With the PS2’s release, and recent price drop, its improved graphics, sound, and gameplay have attracted many gamers. Now, the original Playstation is left in the dust, its release list dwindling each day. Well, developer SCI and publisher Rockstar have worked together to bring one more blockbuster to the dying system.

In The Italian Job, you are hired as a driver for many different jobs, ranging from chauffeur to explosives deliverer. You’re given a wide range of vehicles to complete the dangerous tasks you’re assigned. Before each mission, you’re filled in on the background of the situation so you understand what you’re doing. Some missions are interrupted by the police, in which you must lose them before returning to your hideout. Sometimes this can be difficult, because there is no look-behind button. Most driving games have this so you can see how successful your escape is. Without this, it’s hard to tell how well you’re ditching them.

The graphics are not the caliber that would be expected of one of the last Playstation games to be released. With the hardware being pushed to its limits over the years, by now we’ve seen some pretty impressive games on the system. At the same time, these games were released with a $40 price tag. The Italian Job has a pretty slow framerate, average graphics, and no damage modeling on the cars. So with the game coming out at $10, you can’t really expect a top-of-the-line game.

The controls are very difficult to get the hang of, but you slowly get used to them. Even after playing for awhile, the car physics can really distract you from the overall experience. With such exaggerated physics, it’s hard to get used to any one car - making car chases more of a frustrating hassle, than a fun and exciting ride. Also, it can take awhile to load the levels, making for a lot of waiting between play.

If all you have these days is an original Playstation and 10 bucks, I think The Italian Job is a worthy buy. The controls take some getting used to, and the graphics aren’t superb, but the game is fun to play. Once you’ve got the controls down, it’s not a very difficult game and anyone can play. Plus, you can make any of the little side games a multiplayer experience by trying to beat your friends’ scores. Overall, you get your money’s worth with The Italian Job.


Gameplay: 7
Controls and graphics aside, The Italian Job is fun. The story missions can be difficult at times, but to cool off, they’ve provided great little mini-games that are a blast. There’s even an option to just drive around the different environments of the game with no obligations. Unfortunately, the multiplayer mode only offers a point-to-point racing game and not some of the other modes available in the single-player mode.  

Graphics: 4 
You can’t expect much here, considering it’s on a dated system, but even then it doesn’t look as good as some older Playstation games. With it being one of the last games on the system you’d think it would take full potential of the Playstation’s capabilities, but even the first Driver has better graphics. Graphics aren’t everything, but if that’s what you’re into, then this one might not be for you. 

Sound: 5.5
Catchy harmonica tunes and rattling police sirens make up the majority of The Italian Job’s soundtrack. The police sirens can get fairly annoying, but besides that the accidents sound great, cars honk at you when you drive recklessly, and there’s great voice acting between levels.

Difficulty: Medium
This game would have been rated easy had the controls not been so difficult. Missions that seem fairly simple would be made quite difficult due to the clunky control of the vehicles.

Concept: 5.5 
There have been car chase games before, but The Italian Job blends the action with fairly entertaining story bits between jobs.  So when you do the jobs it feels like there’s a true purpose, rather than just randomly driving around and picking up strangers. Plus there’s quite a few other modes of play, such as Destruction - where the player is given a line of objects to run over within the amount of time given. If you’re a fan of driving games, you’ll enjoy all the ways you can play this game.

Multiplayer: 4.5
There isn’t much offered in the area of multiplayer. One game type is offered where players take turns racing from checkpoint to checkpoint on a selected course. Initially, only one track is open, but the rest can be unlocked through gameplay. Players take turns trying to beat the other’s time, and the winner is the one with the shortest time after the chosen number of games have been played.

Overall: 6
The Italian Job is an entertaining game that anyone can sit down and play. There are a ton of story-driven missions, but there’s enough mini-games to keep you busy if you want to take a break from the main game. It doesn’t look as good as the newer Playstation One games on the market, and even some of the older ones look and play better, but for just under $10 you can’t expect much.

Above Average

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