Full Auto 2: Battlelines

Gamestyle Archive intro: the archives are littered with titles you may have reviewed yet cannot recall much about. Full Auto 2 Battles is such an example.

Writer: JJ

Published: June 2007


Vehicle combat has always been an oddity, with few releases outside of the Mecha genre offering a worthwhile experience.   Twisted Metal Black is the obvious exception, but this apparent difficulty does not dissuade further developers from trying more times than gamers care to remember.  The law of averages concludes that eventually a worthwhile contender will appear, but Full Auto 2 is far from being a worthy dark horse.  Apparently the success of the first Full Auto prompted the rapid fire sequel we have here yet how many different perspectives can you bring to a rudimentary genre?

Arriving like a cross between Mad Max and Richard Morgan’s Market Forces, Full Auto 2 places you in the role of a secret government agent, inserted into a car with a secret mission, that is to destroy all the gangs from within.      Advise comes from a rogue AI that slowly opens up as you progress to provide warnings and details on new possibilities.  As for the storyline, well it never gets off the starting line, and after all we’re all here for the carnage and not some engaging tale of good against evil.  Just why are these gangs standing up the government?  Could they actually be heroic citizens, saying, “enough is enough” or “no more car taxes”, these possibilities actually keep Gamestyle engaged more than the game play itself.

While you have a small selection of modes on display (arcade, offline multi-player and online) the main thrust of Full Auto 2 is the career mode.  By naming it as such is already misrepresentation, as it’s just a selection of mission types wrapped around the AI attempting to deliver a story that is ultimately pointless.   Why the gangs slowly allow you to improve and gain more weaponry is beyond us – any decent crime lord (or revolutionary depending on your point of view) knows to cut down a threat with maximum force before it can grow.  James Bond does not start with a pistol before getting his hands on a machine gun half way through, then finally a rocket launcher.  Nope, he’s full tooled from the off as the mission requires, but the government here have not taken a similar approach, with cutbacks being fairly evident.

The experience itself consists of rampaging along a lapping circuit avoiding obstacles and enemy fire, whilst trying to achieve the primary goals (and if you’re good enough) secondary goals that deliver more goodies.   The bonuses can be worthwhile such as new vehicles, or totally pointless examples such as new skins.  The goals at times may consist of taking out a particular vehicle, or coming first in a race.  The actual goals are well designed, with each requiring improvements in driving ability, aim and course knowledge.   Trial and error is certainly a staple procedure here, unfortunately you will have to wait while each level reloads and we have to question why.

The environments are nice and crisp with plenty of details you fail to notice at your average speed, never mind the fountain of violence that can often spring up on any given bend in the circuit.   However unlike Burnout, which Full Auto 2 tries so hard to follow and outdo, it lacks the speed or adrenaline factor.   Any thrill from taking down a worthy opponent is lost through the myriad of options and buttons you can call upon to dilute the experience.  You wanna jump back for a second?   Try out those thrusters?  Mores the point how can you see over the bonnet with those huge machine guns on it?

You really have to dispense with your sense of realism and knowledge of cars, before Full Auto 2 starts.   No matter what weaponry you plaster over the front of rear of your vehicle, it will handle exactly the same and hit those top speeds all too easily.      The handling is way too sensitive, Gamestyle has never driven a vehicle that is so responsive and never loses speed when navigating bends.  Nought to sixty in a blink of an eye, at least you have visible damage but it does not affect handling or speed either.  The aggressive AI has its limitations and can be outrun or out thought when you realise taking out anything but the primary target is a waste of time and effort.

Full Auto 2 tries so hard to be enjoyable with its arsenal of weapons and distinctive car designs.  It is very much like a combat version of NASCAR, with large numbers of cars going around a bland circuit at high speeds.    It may appeal to a minority, but this is no Destruction Derby.

Gamestyle Score – 5


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