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Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice Quick Impressions

"Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice" is a hell of a name for a game. "Force" and "extreme" are already pretty high up on the list of overused video game words, and "pursuit" and "justice" aren't too shabby either. You know it's a real video game name when you can just rearrange the words and it doesn't change much. Justice Pursuit: Extreme Force. Justice Force: Extreme Pursuit. You could even throw an "of" in there. Extreme Force: Pursuit of Justice.

Yesterday, Sony sent over a two-level PSP demo of Bigbig Studios' sequel to its original 2005 PSP game Pursuit Force. This game is builds directly on that one, which means it's still an insane fusion of Crazy Taxi and Grand Theft Auto. The core gameplay of Pursuit Force (and Extreme Justice) consists of chasing down criminals by car, then shooting the hell out of them--or leaping onto their own vehicles and shooting the hell out of them, then stealing their car. The latter option is considerably more awesome.

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As before, that core mechanic is pure goofy arcade fun, so it's no surprise it hasn't changed much. In fact, the game is already out in Europe, where it has received generally positive reviews saying that various flaws in the first game have been improved but it still suffers from inconsistency.

Though I have not played the full game, that judgment does not surprise me. The first level of the demo is almost entirely comprised of the excellent high-speed carjacking and point-blank face-shooting that Bigbig got right the first time; the rest of the level is one of Extreme Justice's new boss battles, consisting of leaping onto a firetruck and working through its crew to take out its driver.

The second level's boss battle is even better, a takeover of a tank that involves dodging its massive cannon barrel, throwing grenades into its hatches, and taking out its commander. Unfortunately, the same praise can't be laid on the main content of the second level, which features an on-rails gatling-gun-on-a-helicopter bit brought down by repetition and the PSP's analog nub, and a bafflingly passive driving section that has you letting your partner, not you, do all the crazy car-jumping.

This all looks great and runs well on the PSP hardware, and since the arcadey gameplay consists almost entirely of steering left and right, shooting, and jumping, the control works fine.

Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice has a lot going for it as clever concept for a high-action arcade game--and it's rare we get new, new-port action these days--and based on reviews so far as well as my short playtime, it's at its best when it sticks to what it does well. It will be released in North America on January 29, 2008.

Bonus dialogue excerpts:

"Who the hell do those convicts think they are?!"
"I thought those convicts were in jail!"
"They were!"
Mission goal: "TAKE DOWN THE CONVICTS."

"Put down your weapon! I won't ask twice!"
"You just did ask twice!"