Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions
Game Info
Xbox, PS2
Bunkasha Publishing
Official Website
ESRB Rating
The Good

• Impressive looking cityscapes
• High level of detail

The Bad

• Sloppy controls
• Limited gameplay
• Poor crash recovery


The story behind Wreckless is fairly simple: you play as either The Flying Dragons or as spies Ho and Chang. Either way, you're given a series of missions in which you make yourself fairly annoying to the Yakuza, either by wrecking their cars with your own. The purpose for wrecking their cars varies from protecting other vehicles to taking stuff from the Yakuza.

Wreckless' strong point is the impressive visuals. Everything is modeled with a high level of detail. Vehicles and buildings are all exceptionally detailed and look fairly realistic. The streets are alive with pedestrians, other vehicles and all sorts of real-life debris. Due to the excellently handled anti-aliasing, there will be times where you'll swear the scene was cut from real life. And, in the replay mode, everything looks even better. The visuals are filled with nice touches, like moving character models inside the vehicles and multiple paths in the city areas. In fact, when driving in the city, if you don't run a corner, you can check the map to see if you can meet up with your targets at a later intersection.

Audiowise, the game is a well-rounded as is is visually. Music and sound effects help complete the immersive environment. While the voice acting, script and lip synch in the cutscenes are laughable at best, they still are on par with most anime. But since the story is not really integral to the gameplay, the cutscenes provide what they need to do: background info.

The gameplay, on the other hand, is fairly shallow. The basic idea behind every level is just to smash something with your vehicle within a certain time limit or before an opponent does. While this is fun for a short time, it does tend to get old. And where most of the challenge lies in the gameplay is the loose control and lengthy crash recovery. While you can chalk up the controls to being "arcadey", the fact is that there's going to be a number of times where you won't take the corner right and end up smashing into something, forcing you to hit reverse, pull out, and then rush after your targets. And Heaven forbid you actually flip or wreck, because the crash recovery feels like it goes into slow motion. Your vehicle doesn't reset until it comes to a complete stop, and by that time, seconds have counted off and your target is even further away. I think the addition of a button to automatically reset the car when you want would have helped cut down lost seconds in a game that so focuses on a limited amount of time. Also, a better implemented powerslide or hard turn feature would have helped cut down on the frequent wrecks.

If your looking for a quick fix, arcade-style action driving game, similar to Runabout/Felony 11-79, then give this game a rental. I can, in no way, suggest paying full price for this game. The gameplay will not last you a long time, but if you want to at least see how good the game looks, head to the rental store.

- - Vane

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