Jan 5, 2013The game is about racing on the Tokyo highways, which have been mapped after the actual roads as they were back when the game was made. The game looks somewhat crude but not horrible, seeing as it runs at a very smooth, high framerate and the cars themselves are made in decent detail. The roads and scenery is simple but sufficient.
The cars handle well overall, though the steering can't be called exactly realistic. However the handling model the game uses feels good, it's more akin to arcade games of the 90's than the more recent titles like Need for Speed. It's extremely responsive and sharp given you know how to set up your ride.
The game puts you out on the highways with a low-end car and little money, and lets you figure out what to do next by yourself. Your goal is to challenge rival "gang" members to one vs. one races by driving up to them on the highway and signaling with your lights. After you've taken out all the members of a gang, the gang leader appears and challenges you. You will move on in this fashion throughout the game, and after every so-and-so many gang bosses, you will be challenged by a member of The Thirteen Devils, a "boss gang" of sorts. There are tons of gangs in the game, and there are two boss gangs who challenge you every now and then.
In addition to gangs, there are wanderers. Wanderers are racers who will race against you if you meet certain conditions. You can find them rolling along the highway among other drivers, and it's up to you to figure out what you must do to get them to race against you. Some don't have any special requirements while others have many.
Races are man-on-man flat-out races on the highway. Both you and the opponent have a SP gauge, which depletes if you are behind - the faster the further behind you are - and it also takes a dent if you crash into something (which is a setting you can turn off in the options, if you so please).
This means there are plenty of viable strategies to win races - will you maximise acceleration to dash into first and try to hold it? Will you rely on a long windup with a mind boggling top speed that will trump anyone on a straightaway? Will you try to shove your opponents into traffic or walls? Will you specialise into handling and make your foes bite dust in every tight corner? Or maybe find a balance of all of them?
It's a big part of what makes the game so special - you can do so many things and if you do them well, you will be greatly rewarded for it. The A.I. drivers also all have their own 'personalities' which you might find clues about from the game's "beastiary" of sorts. You can read a small bit of info on every opponent before you meet them, and after you meet and beat them you will be able to learn more, as well as see their car specs and other details.
The game's soundtrack is in my personal opinion amazing. It's pretty much a homage to the Japanese street racing anime series such as Initial D, with fast eurobeat tracks, pumping rock songs as well as more chill electronic music to let you calm down between races. The game lets you customise the soundtrack by picking a number of songs which will be played in different occassions that you can change whenever you please. All the music in the game is original and instrumental.
The cars sound bland at best, which is my biggest gripe with the soundscape of the game. There is a variety of humming and growling and whatnot that changes based on your exhaust type, engine modifications installed and your car's engine type and model. However I've never paid much attention to the details in the sounds since they are all more or less insignificant and quite quiet.
The game is very difficult at certain points, and having no difficulty choices may make some races quite the headache. However with proper skills and knowledge of the opponent's car and the location the game is definitely not impossible. I personally found it the most challenging racing game in a long, long time and also the most rewarding. Every time you take down one of the bosses the game rewards you with a hefty sum of money and sometimes you unlock more parts for purchase.
The game lets you modify your car's looks as well as specs. Don't expect NFS-levels of visual customisation though, there are no vinyls or neon lights or any of that over-the-top stuff. You can modify your body parts, headlights and all that though, and while the initial options are few you will unlock some more as you play the game. The fact that every car model has unique visual parts makes it even better. The performance tuning in the game is simple but top-notch. It's very simple and understandable yet every small adjustment you make makes a difference.
All in all an amazing arcade-style racer with great attention to detail. Don't let the simple visuals fool you into thinking the game plays badly. I would recommend this game to anyone who's looking for a challenging and unique racing game!… Expand