Jun 19, 2015
If Death Race: The Game evokes Jason Statham, that’s okay. After all, it is based on the major movie of the same name starrring the aforementioned actor. In any case, one can be promised a lot of gunfire, which makes it good enough to review, thank you very much.
Graphics-wise, the game packs a punch. It manages to reflect the source material vividly with the dark tone and decrepit scenery. Everything, from the vehicles to the race environment conveys a feeling of dread and destruction. The sound is equally foreboding, with a judicious use of effects that embolden the gameplay.
And with regards to the gameplay, the game serves as teacher within, giving the basics of how to play as it unfolds. As one would guess, it leans heavily on the originating movie: a major depression causes crime to climb, and eventually private prisoners and, uh, pay-per-view hold sway. Of course we then get something similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Running Man: prisoner-based gladiator games. In cars, no less. Heavily armed racing cars.
The controls incorporate tilting and touch, and, interestingly enough, consists of a few elements. Players learn the aiming mechanism, which needs a bit of practice, and other concepts like drifting. The “racing” is 1v1 in beat-down areas, and the idea is to work hard to outlast the competition by reducing that driver’s lifebar to nothingness before the opponent does the same to the player; thus it is a war of attrition. Combat and ramming take front stage; the vehicle moves on its own, and the former requires keeping a steely hand to ensure the weapons are trained right. In Ramming, it’s a matter of quick reflexes, as a decreasing circle measures the amount of damage one inflicts on the opponent. The pieces come on and off until one racer is destroyed.
Performing well allows one to level up and earn game cash, which allows one to get better gear and upgrade vehicle attributes; in many ways, it’s a self-contained adventure that rewards continued action. It doesn’t make the mistake of forcing canon accuracy. It is a lot of the same, but “same” here mostly works because the battles are not too drawn out.
It’s a cool game, with cool backstory, and one cool main dude. Carry on.