Fatal Inertia EX PS3
Fatal Inertia EX is the PlayStation 3 release of the year-old Xbox 360 game Fatal Inertia and is available now as a download from the PlayStation Store, for a fee of course.
Set in a futuristic world where mega-corporations control everything from government to entertainment, Fatal Inertia has become the most popular, and dangerous, pastime. The best drivers race in cars that hover over all types of ground, from molten lava to coastal inlets.
Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Unfortunately, in the early stages of the game it isn’t. I know that the earlier levels are supposed to be easy for beginners to grasp the controls, but in my eyes they were just uneventful, boring and didn’t make me thrilled about playing on. Fortunately I did, otherwise this would be a very short review, and by the time you get halfway through the ‘Professional League’ it gets a bit trickier and somewhat more enjoyable. The tracks are short which means that the races are quick and if you get stuck in the crowd with the rest of the racers, it can get very chaotic, which is where the races get interesting. A side effect of the tracks being fairly short, sometimes the race is over before you know it and suddenly you’re in second when you thought you could overtake the guy in front on the next corner to take home a win which gets a bit annoying.
The races are based on six different areas with all the courses taking various paths through the same scenery, in some areas the tracks seem very varied and well thought out, but the desert course for one, doesn’t. On other tracks it is difficult to actually make out where you have to enter a tunnel because you have to turn on a sixpence and find the one bit of wall that’s slightly different than the rest of it, I’ve had my car blow up because of this on more than a few occasions causing me to have to restart the series from the beginning again.
The previously mentioned weapons are where the game tries to inject a bit more enjoyment into the game but apart from the magnets and boosts they didn’t seem to be used very often to attack the other players, maybe it’s because it’s so tricky to race and try and aim the tiny rockets at the same time but if you can manage to anchor an opponent to the floor with one of them it does hold some great moments. Fatal Inertia suffers from the same affliction as most other racing-shooting games (apart from Mario Kart) when you pull away from the main body of racers it becomes almost a piece of cake as none of the weapons have a very substantial range.
At first glance, since the game offers only four different vehicle classes for you to race in it seems somewhat lacking, but there is a large scope for customisation using parts won by completing the race series and by performing certain tasks to gain in-game achievements. Almost everything about the cars can be modified, from wing style to brakes, some are simply aesthetic but most improve your craft’s general speed and manoeuvrability. Unfortunately, those four basic classes aren’t very stylish or pretty to begin with.
Aside from the large options for customisation, only on very few occasions did I find myself enjoying playing the game. I never felt compelled to earn the achievements on offer which should have been improved with trophy support, other than for unlocking parts for the vehicles. The races go from tedious to downright annoying though, to be fair, they do pass through fun and exciting sometimes along the way.
At this point I would have liked to rant on about the online modes, but whenever I tried to play against others, I couldn’t find anyone else who had the game. Maybe others are out there, I don’t know, but they aren’t playing online that’s for sure.
Now we get to the price, at £14.99 it’s not the cheapest thing in the store (though, technically it is a full next-gen game) and I think the money may be better spent on WipEout HD if you really want a hover-racing game or buying PixelJunk Eden and finding a copy of Fatal Inertia cheap on the 360 if you have one and a real need to play it. Especially since I assume very few other people have bought it as trying to get an online match with 8 people to race seems to be an impossibility.
Overall, an average racing game that holds some fun but, for the money, alternatives exist on the PS3 that are far more enjoyable.