December 14, 2006


Test Drive: Anasses Unlimited

And while I'm on a posting roll, one more 360 game review.

But before I get to that, some explication of personal slang that will apply a bit later down. Wayback machine for, I don't know, thirteenish years back, give or take. It's probably about a year after a little game called 'Magic: the Gathering' sent shockwaves through the dead-trees games market, and a great ongoing spasm of other collectible card games began stampeding out the door, frequently with only one shoe on, shirt inside-out, and hopping on one leg while still trying to pull on pants, if you follow the analogy here. Some friends and I were playing something called "Jyhad" which is something White Wolf put out, a ccg related to whatever version of their Vampire rpg was out at the time.

Therefore the deck of course included various vampires who would attack each other by angsting, reciting bad poetry, and presumably biting instead of snapping their fingers in applause. They're broken into various tribes--you have your deformed ugly tribe, your mentally-unbalanced crazy tribe, your dark-with-an-umlaut-over-the-a tribe, etc. There's also an aristocratic tribe--old money, royalty, that sort of thing. They all have immensely snooty sneering portraits; no jury in the world would convict you for randomly punching them in the face. It'd be justifiable assault. I'm looking through the vampires of this particular branch, in a mix between incredulous and giggling at how each one looked more sneeringly snooty than the last. I explain to friends, "Just look at these guys. This one, he's an ass. This guy's also an ass. This woman's an ass. They're all anasses!"

Thus, personal neologism of "anasses" was born. I give free permission for its spread.

Now, review:

Test Drive Unlimited - This is either a yuppie jerk simulator or a partial midlife crisis simulator, depending. As you start a new game, the camera's looking at a few people waiting in an airport gate area. These people represent the basic look of your character avatar, and you pick one. They are all, without exception, anasses. The basic unspoken backstory, it turns out, is that you're an ass who up and flies off to Oahu with two hundred grand in your pocket to begin buying houses and fast cars, with which to make more money by participating in street races and the like. In between racing, your character lounges around their spacious pad, sneeringly smug with how much square footage they have.

All in all, it's pretty funny.

It's a very nice looking game, and it is pretty much hundreds of miles of roads over the island. Umpty race events, time trials, car delivery missions where you're given a very high end car and have to deliver it in one piece, passenger-ferrying missions (time trials by another name, basically; you give lifts to 'models' who are frighteningly deep in the Uncanny Valley) and so on. The game integrates into Live seamlessly, so you see other Live players driving around--which adds that extra element of realism to traffic behaving stupidly. The singleplayer race events and so forth are instanced, however, so you don't get messed with while actually accomplishing anything, just while driving around between events.

I'm not a huge fan of racing games, but I'm digging it so far. Even with the sneering.

posted by Gar @ 3:33 PM
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