|SCE Santa Monica
|Violence, Sugg. Themes
| The Good
Good variety of tracks
Inventive racing concepts for tracks and Power-Ups
| The Bad
Harsh difficulty curve
Some bits of slow-down
2 player view is hard for racing
Kinetica follows a long line of futuristic racers,
like Wipeout and Rollcage, which have tried
to convey a sense of speed while keeping a futuristic theme
intact by presenting well-done racing environments. In Kinetica,
racers actually become the racing vehicles as they wear Kinetic
Suits, outfitted with wheels, to allow them to race along
twisting tracks, lined with loops, jumps and boost pads.
Graphically, this game is solid. The tracks are well designed
and the environments look great. Lighting effects really aid
in creating a convincing futuristic racetracks. There is also
a fair bit of ingenuity here - instead of just taking curves
and jumps, the player also will go up walls, run through tunnels
and even ride embankments. In fact, some of the Power-up icons
are located along the track walls and the player must ride
up the side of the wall to collect them. The only real rough
spot is when racing on the more organic tracks (Lost City,
Cliffhanger). Rocks and trees don't seem to have the same
refined look as the more rigid cityscape tracks. Also, there
are rare moments when you'll experience framerate slowdown,
most noticeably when multiple racers are on-screen, fighting
Gameplay-wise, Kinetica is not a straightforward racer. Running
from start to finish will most likely earn you a loss. Gamers
must be savvy and learn the numerous techniques, like Boost
Siphoning, Turn Grabbing and Drafting to beat out your competition.
Two of the most important elements, Power-ups and stunts are
handled such that they don't immediately fall into traditional
stereotypes. When picking up Power-ups, the player must either
grab 5 yellow crystals or one purple crystal to activate one
of the few Power-ups (Super Boost, Burst Attack, Faster Stunts,
etc.). While the Power-ups won't immediately win you the race,
they will help if used correctly. Stunts, both ground and
aerial, aide in gaining more boost power, so learning how
to pull them off without crashing also takes some skill.
Racing, in itself, is the greatest challenge in this game.
The opponents are smart. They'll perform stunts to gain boost
and use Power-ups to gain advantage as if they were human
racers. The controls take some time to master. You'll immediately
find that you can't slap the analog stick left or right to
make successful turns. Until you gain a firm grasp of the
controls and how the track is laid out, you may only win by
Outside of the slight moments of slow-down and the weaker
development of organic tracks, the greatest problem (if you
can call it that) for this game is the steep learning curve.
Beating the first couple tracks does not immediately translating
into placing well in later unlockable tracks. Until you spend
some time mastering the various skills and learning the layout
of the tracks, expect to finish in the middle of the pack.
While this is not a bad thing, less race-hardy fans may grow
frustrated without the immediate gratification of victories
on recently unlocked tracks.
Kinetica is a fun racing game with a lot of challenge.
The 2-player aspect of the game is limited by the poor field
of view (which would have been better handled with an i-link
and two TVs), but the single player mode is serious futuristic
racing at it's best. Once you master the skilled aspects of
the game, you'll truly be able to enjoy the excellent environments
whizzing past you at unreal speeds.