Fast & Furious: Showdown Review
Ludacris didn't provide any voice-over work for it.
It doesn't make sense; It's broken and boring; It's stupid and ugly; It's completely devoid of any redeeming qualities
Driving Into a Wall
It should come as a surprise to no one that Fast & Furious: Showdown sucks. It’s based on a film franchise. The developer, Firebrand Games, spent little to no time working on it. It was rushed out in time for Fast & Furious 6. However, I never play games expecting them to be truly, truly awful. Showdown is truly, truly awful.
Showdown‘s story is mainly told through cutscenes (more on those later). Two women whose names I do not recall, and do not care to recall, spend the game talking about characters from the Fast & Furious films, but none of it makes sense. Showdown supposedly follows the events of a few of the films, but it horribly mangles its source material. Remember that cool bank vault scene from Fast Five? Well, Showdown features that scene, but Firebrand presents it in such an awful way as to render it unbearable. The thing is, the entire game is unbearable.
Brian and Letty from the films are playable characters, albeit not voiced by either Paul Walker or Michelle Rodriguez. Not one of the actual actors from the films provided voice-overs for Showdown (not that I blame them). Dominic, Vin Diesel’s character, is absent entirely. Diesel probably took one glance at Showdown and then refused to associate his likeness with it.
Showdown’s levels are composed of various missions. Players will find themselves racing to beat the clock and other drivers, gunning down enemy vehicles, jumping from cars to trucks and vice versa, and participating in a few other moribund activities. You’d think with so much variety at least one level would be enjoyable, but no. Every single minute of Showdown is filled with virtual feces.
Ever accidentally grabbed one of those grocery carts with a broken wheel that just kind of wobbles all over the place and refuses to go in the right direction? The vehicles in Showdown control like that. One level requires players to drift in order to reach the end of a mission on time, but the controls are so broken that it took me several attempts to even manageÂ oneÂ drift. I know how to drift. I’ve playedÂ Need for Speed and other racing games. The difference in controls between something likeÂ Need for Speed: UndergroundÂ andÂ ShowdownÂ is like night and day. What ShowdownÂ offers is a completely nonfunctional experience.
When the game is functioning it’s a nice alternative for Ambien. The shooting sections offer no sense of excitement and require players to mow down enemy after enemy after enemy until they end. I’ve never felt such a sense of vapidity while firing a digital weapon in my life. In a lot of instances, players must leap to another vehicle after these shooting sections and often shimmy across the vehicles in order to steal them. Both of these actions usually function properly (usually), but that doesn’t make them feel like any less of a chore.
The racing missions threaten to provide players with some modicum of excitement until terrible level design and bugs ruin the fun. Rubberband AI is blatantly obvious throughout Showdown, especially when opponents crash into one another and yet still seem able to always catch up. The aforementioned poor controls don’t do much to enliven the experience either. I thoughtÂ Fast & FuriousÂ was supposed to be all about speed?Â Showdown‘s racing just feels like a slog.
The difficulty inÂ ShowdownÂ is completely unbalanced. An easy mission could be followed by an agonizingly frustrating one at any point. The last mission, which most people would expect to be the hardest in terms of difficulty, is probably the easiest in the game. It’s just further proof that ShowdownÂ was sloppily thrown together without consideration for whomever might be playing it.
Graphics & Sound
ShowdownÂ is ugly and filled with bugs. I don’t kid when I say I’ve seen games from 2003 that look better. The cutscenes look like something from the Dreamcast era and the in-game visuals are lacking in not only textures but, in many instances, also anything remotely resembling objects. Vehicles vanish only to reappear a few seconds later. Entire sections of highways vanish like something fromÂ Silent Hill.
The characters’ mouthsÂ neverÂ move when they speak. The only time animations occur is during the shooting and jumping sections. During the shooting sections the character doing the shooting hangs out of a vehicle’s window with their ass dangling in midair with no support. They simply…float. They are also able to turn in complete circles without once re-positioning their legs. It’s magic!
When enemy cars explode, more appear out of thin air to take their place. They appear out of thin airÂ every single time. It’s one of the more unintentionally hilarious and glaring errors I’ve ever seen in a game. It happens during racing missions as well. Stay on the right side of the road or else be prepared to hit a car that hasn’t appeared yet every few seconds.
The voice acting is awful, but at least it’s staying true to theÂ Fast & FuriousÂ name. The soundtrack is inexplicably stupid. Loud rock music and dubstep permeates every level. I’ve heard five-year-old children playing with toy cars make more realistic noises than the vehicles inÂ ShowdownÂ make. It’s just poor sound quality all around.
Nothing is “notable” about any ofÂ Showdown’s extras. A co-op option is available for the terrible campaign. A challenge mode is there for people who like accomplishing dumb goals like “drive around until you die”. It’s pretty pathetic how a racing game with less than four hours of content in the campaign can’t even offer playersÂ anythingÂ to keep them coming back. If someone were to return to this game after playing it once I would suggest they seek professional help immediately.
Fast & Furious: Showdown is yet another example of a bad movie tie-in game, but it completely takes the cake. It’s a game so far removed from what makes a game…a game, that it seems to have come from an alternate universe, shot through a black hole and out the anus of a horse. Do not buy it, do not rent it and do not play it. If you happen to come across it in your local Redbox, burn the kiosk to the ground to prevent at least a few people from experiencing what surely is a device used by the government to torture international war criminals. Showdown is the worst game of 2013 so far, and quite possibly, the worst game of this generation.