So you want to race, do you? Do you think you
have what it takes? In a world in which the players are all vehicles, you made
find your dreams of racing taking a wrong turn or two.
The world of racing takes on a decidedly
younger approach with ChoroQ, the latest in a long-running series from developer
Takara and publisher Atlus.
The idea is a simplistic one – race, win,
upgrade and hope one day to be the new Emperor of the Races, unless he comes out
of hiding and races you himself. To that end, in the story mode, you will have
to find your home in Brachy, then locate various buildings that house what you
need, from parts to mail, to continue on the path.
Oh, by the way, you are not merely the driver
of the car, you are the car – or any of the cars in your stable.
ChoroQ is a game with depth, but the game
itself runs the gamut from looking and behaving (in social interaction with the
AI) like a game for kids, then drops into the parts race with 18 different areas
where you can upgrade. There are offers from racing groups and the like, as well
as bulletins about races and tips for racing.
The big problem with much of this game lays in
the fact that while this is a title that is releasing in early October, the
build that GameZone received still was dominated by Japanese wording, and – of
course – as you drive about the city, you have to drive on the left-hand side of
The racing action is simplistic, and the AI is
not overly strong initially, then irritating later on as they seem to gang and
box, and bump you to slow you down so you can’t catch the leaders..
Modes are quick race, Q story and two-player
battle. There are 12 courses in the quick race, each of them are rated. There
are also 20 vehicles you can choose from, some which bear some resemblance to
vehicle types we all know, from buses to dump trucks to formula race cars, but
others are rather odd looking variations. Each vehicle is rated in five areas –
speed, acceleration, brake, steering and tire type (off road or road).
Take the Diaspola for example, a green coupe
with a speed rating of 4 (out of 5), acceleration of 4, 4 in steering, but only
1 in brakes. The description says it has a cool nose – like a jet fighter.
This car has some “get up and gone”
acceleration. Taking it into the quick race was merely a matter of getting
outside to pass, getting to the lead and then no major mistakes. Taking the
turns, there was some skidding, but nothing that impeded the overall speed of
You start out by selecting your garage, which
acts like a save game slot.
As the story goes, the Grand Prix was once
held on the island and the young prince, know as the Emperor of the Races ruled
the tracks. But something happened, and the emperor hid away. It is 20 years
There are five ‘islands’ you can race on, and
each sports different types of tracks.
The real key to the game is the racing, of
course, and you may have to repeat some races over and over to get enough money
to upgrade your machine and advance to the next race. And some races yield
vehicles for winning, so you can end up with a stable of machines.
The game has some graphical glitches that can
be frustrating. You enter a race that is very off-road. Part of it lays
underwater. Well, as this is a cartoonish-style game, that is no problem – until
vehicles on top of the water pass you. Some of the vehicles have outrunners,
which are like skis and so that would be feasible, except here where the
vehicles were not sporting any such thing.
ChoroQ is a mixed bag. Part of the game looks
like it was built for younger players and part looks like it is adult-oriented.
But the graphical glitches, the lounge background music played too loud, and the
AI that switches modes very quickly and seem to be working as a team to box you
out of a race can all add up quickly to a racing title that can’t compete with
some of the other titles on the market. ChoroQ has its charm, but when it comes
to racing games, dynamic physics in car handling and approximately strong race
conditions outweigh charm.
The controls are intuitive, but the AI flops around very quickly. The game goes
from almost childish in tone and nature, to cutthroat racing that will quickly
leave younger players smelling exhaust fumes.
Lush and bright, there are some graphical
breakdowns that just don’t seem to make sense.
The music is upbeat and belongs in the lounge
of a casino, very low in the background, not necessarily a game.
The racing is challenging and gets more so as you advance through the levels.
Ok, while the interface is simple to use, the
Japanese alphabet on the review copy received made navigating the city initially
a challenge. And the game flip-flops from almost childish in tone to tough
Head-to-head racing with a friend is fine, but
nothing new here.
The game has a certain amount of charm, but at
times feels like The Sims only with automobiles as avatars and racing as the day
job. There are glitches in the graphics and an AI that goes from passive to
cutthroat in a hurry. If you are looking for a racing game, there are better
ones on the market. If you are looking for a game that has charm and some RPG
elements, this may be worth a look.