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Game Review: Bang Bang Racing (PS3)

Something that has really gone awol this generation is the classic cutesy top down racer genre. Wrecked is ok, TNT Racers is better but now I’ve something to fill the gap and that is Bang Bang Racing.

The beauty, aside from the lovely graphics, with Bang Bang Racing is that there’s no weapon power ups so to speak. It’s about pure racing skill and that marks a refreshing change. Each of the 8 tracks can be raced forwards, backwards, with and without shortcuts and also in a short course form  (think National tracks). Instead of power ups however there are barrels dotted around the circuits. Some of them once hit spill oil, some spill water and some will explode. The oil and water ones if they’re hit will end up meaning you have to alter you lines in and out of corners as they make you slide and slow down. The explosive ones hurt your overall speed which you can sort out by driving in the pit lane. You can also replenish your boost this way each lap too.

Suddenly though tactics come into play. Get the other cars on the outside, ride out wide and push the other car onto the oil slick and gain an advantage – or if the same is happening to you, do you back out and then save some boost for the straight or have a go at hanging on. It just means that infuriating last-minute missile attacks are gone and the focus is on fun close racing.

The one thing that does take a while to get used to is the rotating camera which follows your car but acts like a swingman’s camera, constantly rotating around about a second behind you so initially you think you may taking the hairpin tightly but actually its a false camera perspective. Once you’ve got used to this, the camera works perfectly though and its nothing a few laps practice on each track doesn’t solve. The handling too is absolutely spot on. I felt at home within two races and while each class you progress through means braking and sliding (pressing L2 to brake whilst still accelerating with R2) become more prominent, this is where you can show off and enjoy yourself.

If there’s one downside aside from perhaps not having enough tracks (although plenty of variants of the same circuits help to a degree) it’s that its only 2 player split screen locally and no online play whatsoever. 4 player would have been fantastic and online is a shame but this is definitely a game that comes into its own in multiplayer locally so you can scream at each other! The AI is fine but as with a lot of games these days, rubber banding means you’ll never be left alone, nor really suffer for driving badly.

Positives

~Handles predictably

~Fantastic visuals and sound

~Emphasis on the racing means it feels fresh, skilled and takes away the last-minute frustration of things outside your control

~First racing game in a while that I simply could not put down for hours – even on my own!

Negatives

~Could have had a couple more tracks

~Only 2 player local (may be innaccurate)

Conclusion

Fun, cute and skilled – combined into one fantastic action bundle called Bang Bang Racing. I absolutely recommend this for anyone who is looking for a fun mini racer, anyone who remembers playing Super Skidmarks and wonders why the series isn’t going now and anyone who still enjoys local multiplayer challenges.

(Also available on PC/Xbox360)

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