Based around the 1969 film, which received a cult status, The Italian Job tries to recapture the humor, excitement and suspense of the movie. However, if it is that you are after, you might find The Italian Job for PC to fall considerably short.
To begin you are given the option of a few basic game modes, which include Free Ride, Party Mode, Destructor, Checkpoint and 'The Italian Job'. For you to progress in a meaningful direction, 'The Italian Job' game mode will be your choice of play. Finishing this mode will lead to unlocking cars as well as a new mode, called 'Challenge Mode'.
In fact the Challenge Mode, which becomes unlocked via The Italian Job mode, is probably the best of them all, where you are given the task of driving around a jump stunt course, a braking course and other various courses. The fact that there is only 1 jump course with 3 difficulties means it makes for a pretty easy and quick game mode, but it is still by far the most enjoyable one.
The main focus is on The Italian Job mode which requires you to perform sometimes painfully pointless tasks to proceed onto some more. Each task has a time limit and a damage bar included to stop excess mayhem.
Considering this game is based almost fully around driving, it would be safe to assume the driving system is of high quality, but this is not so. The traffic in the game is shocking to say the least, cars will suddenly drift from lane to lane without any sign nor regret when they collide into your side. This isn't rare either, almost every car does it. Another problem found in the traffic is the traffic lights. Cars, which have the green light, will turn and suddenly halt because they are now facing the red light for the other directions. These annoyances make it extremely difficult to finish each mission without receiving a massive amount of damage.
The basic structure of each task is this - follow the onscreen arrow and avoid excess damage in a time frame. On top of this you have the occasional cop car, which for some weird reason, collides into your car in an unhesitant fashion. If it follows you for too long it will record your number plate, which has the unusual power to make your car come to a screaming halt.
Each task is separated into a 'level' like structure. Once one task is done, you get a 'Mission Success' and load up the next one. If it were structured in a way which you have a continuous list of tasks to do without having to reload each time (i.e. Grand Theft Auto series), then the gameplay would be considerably better. Having each mission broken up like this renders a lot of the game pointless and tedious.
However the occasional task, for example driving a bus from one end of town to the other with dynamite on it, can be compelling and somewhat exciting. It is unfortunate that only very few of these tasks have this characteristic, otherwise it could have been pretty interesting and involving.
So to sum it up, The Italian Job really has a lot lacking in the gameplay arena. The tasks required are too static, the general driving system is very basic and there is simply no flow to the game. It gives an impression of rushed development and little effort in the way of innovation.
The visuals in The Italian Job could be considered the highest achievement, although they are nothing overly impressive. Textures make up the majority of detail, that is windows and ledges aren't really 3D their just portrayed in the texture.
The animations are decent, although the civilians walking seem to have serious issues when they are hit by cars (I got bored ok :)), where they seem to spin around quickly and continue walking off. Other visual quirks like these appear into the game very often.
The audio is pretty average. Each car apparently has different engine noises but there is hardly any notable difference, especially at higher speeds (where most cars have the same top speed anyway). Other than this there is not much to complain about regarding audio, but it certainly does not excel either.
The controls are extremely basic, up, down, left and right do the steering. Other than that you have a hand brake button and a button to sound your horn (which has no affect by the way). It is said each car has a different steering model, but to be honest I saw very little difference between the bus and the sports car.
Each car also seems to share very similar acceleration and speed limits. Essentially, there is very little difference between the mini and the sports car when concerning speed (every car is faster than the cops on straights). This really contradicts the point of having a decent number of cars, and considering half of your reward for finishing the game is a car, it basically makes the whole point of finishing vanish.
Well there really wasn't all that much positive to say in this review, mainly because there really isn't that much positive about the game. Although it is poorly designed and implemented in area's, it still makes for a semi-decent gaming experience, especially if you can put aside realism for the most of it.
However if you can't stand shoddy physics, tedious gameplay, an array of glitches and the obvious fact this was rushed then give this title a miss. Go play Driver 2 instead