Nor does it help that the scattered on-foot missions really aren’t all that much fun. Suddenly the game falls into the same pitfall as most PSP shooters – the analogue nub just isn’t built for precision aiming, and trying to draw a bead on a moving or partially covered foe is an absolute nightmare. The lock-on aim still works, but only when your foe is really up-close. To make things worse, your enemies only have two moves; the standard ‘hide then pop out’ manoeuvre beloved of third-rate game baddies everywhere, and the equally uninspired ‘rush in a zig-zag-line’ attack. The latter wouldn’t be quite so dangerous if you had any hand-to-hand combat skills, but the game suddenly drops the punches and neck-breaking manoeuvres you can pull off easily in the vehicle sections for a quick-time-event sequence that – should you get it wrong twice – will see you dead. As a result, you learn to meet each on-foot mission with an inward groan, knowing full-well the mix of boredom and frustration that awaits.
And, while I’m moaning, the use of quick-time-event sequences in boss battles really should be outlawed by the UN. Extreme Justice only gives us further evidence of why.
On the plus side, the game packs in a considerable amount of gameplay – the missions in the main story mode will last you considerably longer than the average PSP game, and you can replay them for bonuses after completion. There’s even multiplayer action this time around, though the fact that it’s all ad-hoc mode rather than infrastructure means you might find it hard to find a game.
Provided you can steel yourself through the bad times you’ll enjoy the new Pursuit Force’s good times very much indeed. All the same, the levels of annoyance involved do spoil the party at intervals throughout. It’s a shame, because this burgeoning franchise does so much right; it’s a perfect fit for the PSP and – opened up and intelligently enhanced – would make a superbly cinematic action game on the grown-up PS3. I hope BigBig get the chance, because if its next game could match the wit and style exhibited here with flawless gameplay, the Force would finally get the justice they deserve.
A solid PSP blockbuster enhanced by great character design and the brilliantly overworked action-movie feel, but let down by poor on-foot action sequences and some badly-judged difficulty spikes. Worth pursuing if you have the patience to do it justice.
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