What’s more, it’s clear that you’re dealing with a game designed with just the PSP in mind. The analogue nub handles steering, the X and Square buttons cope with acceleration and braking and you use the shoulder buttons to zoom in and fire your current weapon. While in a vehicle you don’t even have to worry about aiming; the auto lock-on ensures you can hit your target once in range.
And when it works Extreme Justice is undeniably thrilling. The first couple of levels make it easy for you, with only a handful of vehicles to pursue and criminals to bring to justice. It really takes off, however, with a chase through the city streets following the aforementioned British gang, the Syndicate. While the cheerful mockneys – who seem heavily indebted to Guy Ritchie films and Don Cheadle’s performance in the Ocean’s 11/12/13 films – yammer on, your hero leaps from pursuit car to sports car to speeding motorcycle, hammering buttons to hold onto speeding, swerving vehicles and taking bigger risks with every move. From here the game throws in some inspired set-pieces – gunfight on the wing of a moving plane, anyone? – and keeps the action flowing like wine at a really good dinner.
What’s more, there’s more variety this time around. You’ve still got your straight chases, on-rails shooting sequences and escort missions, but the game isn’t afraid to mix things up, making you the hunted, not the hunter, or adding special conditions or more intricate boss battles when it needs to. Plus the game now packs in a few on-foot missions for some more standard-issue third-person shooter action, along with the odd well-conceived sniper section. Throw in some nicely implemented computer-controlled buddies, each with their own special skills, and at times Extreme Justice threatens to outdo Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow as the best action game on PSP. You can’t help but appreciate the work BigBig has put into making it fun.
But while Extreme Justice is a better game than its predecessor, it’s still haunted by the same problem that dragged down the original Pursuit Force: an inconsistent and frequently exasperating difficulty level. Now, Extreme Justice isn’t anywhere near as bad. For one thing, it features mid-mission checkpoints, and for another it has a nice mechanism whereby you can use energy built up in your justice meter – otherwise used for extravagant stunt shooting – to recharge health in a pinch. All the same, you’ll find you’ll breeze through some sections on your first attempt, while others will see you returning to the same old checkpoint time and time and bloody time again until you finally catch a break, the stars align, and you manage to survive the crazy combination of baddies, conditions and time limits. At its worst, Extreme Justice isn’t so much a test of skill as one of persistence. How many times can you be bothered to chase down those cars or tackle that boss battle before you pull the UMD out of the back of your PSP and throw it against the wall?
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