Racing games are big these days with many flooding the market in recent times. One of the biggest was Need for Speed Underground 2, capitalizing on the underground racing scene with some of the best graphics of the consoles and fantastic lengthy gameplay. Then there are other games where fun is the key such as Mario Kart, where powerups allow you to shoot each other. 187 Ride or Die is a mixture of both and really borrows elements from many games making it an above average racer which is probably worth the price of admission.
187 Ride or Die tells the story of gangsta's in the hood (how cliche) trying to reclaim turf by racing each other. This reminded us quite a bit of the Los Santos area and funnily enough, there is a suburb called Los Santos in 187. So basically the idea is to progress through the game defeating the local hoods in races and becoming the number one gang. How the game does this is what makes it unique and playable.
187 Ride or Die at its core is a racing game with a variety of weapons added in, so you race against each other with the option to shoot. The shooting element of the game is quite well explored and does feature auto aim so is very user friendly. During races cars can be destroyed as can yours and the ultimate aim is to come first. One of the most frustrating elements of the game is you must come first to progress. This can lead to last second defeat which can end up with broken control pads. A point system would have been a much better system.
The one thing about 187 which surprised us is the variety of gameplay. Sure, the core of the game is a driving engine, but there are modes where you're thrown into an arena and have to shoot each other to become the last car standing. Another mode has you protecting a car as it screams through peak hour traffic, pursued by enemy cars. This keeps the game from getting boring and does give some reason for a storyline in the game. When all is said and done, however, if you don't like racing you won't like 187, because it is a racing game first and foremost.
One of the interesting concepts is the co-operative mode. In this mode one player controls the car, the other the shooter, but the game changes the controls in a way which complety obliterates any ability to really play. To shoot the second player uses the right analogue and has to be one hundred percent accurate as opposed to having the auto aim helping. This is obviously because of the higher level of concentration applied, but it also makes the game much harder to play with two players as opposed to with one.
The developers have exploited the shortcut system and have built the environments well. Shooting an oil tanker will not only destroy cars near it, but also provide a short cut. There are also hidden passages to find and this becomes crucial to winning during some points in the game. The game is set mostly at night time which is of no surprise considering the developers pedigree and thus is a bit same old same old when compared to other recent games. The destructive environments do add to the game but they seem to be suffering a bit of 'burnout' syndrome with slow motion used to emphasize cars exploding which looks cool but gets old, fast.
The visuals of the game are a bit of a mixed bag. The sense of speed is well represented but some bits feel a bit grainy and just above Playstation level. With that said the game doesn't skip a beat even during high combat areas and the cut scenes are very well done as is the destructible environments. The soundtrack is rap hip hop and quite frankly we can't stand it, but if you're into the scene, and we have to admit that it does suit the style of the game well.
187 Ride or Die is an interesting title that would have flown under the radar for many people but it has surprised us a little and really shows that with the right idea, right developer and right concept, gaming doesn't have to be as unoriginal as it may seem at times.