ScreamRide preview: going for a ride

ScreamRide is built on the three tenets of Create, Ride, and Destroy. Shacknews tries out each of these ideas by going hands-on with the game, which is now slated for a March 3 release on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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It's been a while since Frontier Developments has taken a ride on a roller coaster. But with a pedigree that includes Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and Thrillville, if anyone can take a shot at bringing the fun of riding roller coasters to Xbox One, it's them. ScreamRide looks to deliver a lot of the fun of roller coaster simulators, as well as the ability to build coasters and destroy anything and everything.

Shacknews recently went hands-on with ScreamRide, trying out each of the game's three branches: riding, creating, and destroying. The game is set in an amusement park-style environment, where the object isn't just to ride roller coasters, but also to potentially wreak as much havoc as possible along the way. All of it takes place with a light-hearted tone, in which helmeted riders will stand up from skyscraper-toppling crashes no worse for the wear.

ScreamRide builds upon the roller coaster simulation formula by allowing first and third-person perspectives as players ride around on coasters. The idea for ScreamRider mode is to build up speed and finish in a set time, making sure to corner carefully and build up speed boosts by riding across certain areas and hitting the A button at the right time. Challenges that require riding on a car's side or boosting for a set amount of time help keep these courses feeling fresh and fun to try.

The idea of destructible environments have proven so enticing that Frontier added Demolitions Expert as a full-fledged game mode to ScreamRide. These destruction stages I tried out saw me controlling a swinging wind-up coaster car and aiming for points of interest. Objectives include chucking the car through rings, nailing a passing blimp, or simply demolishing a giant skyscraper by hitting it in just the right spot. It isn't always easy to tell where you're aiming, since it depends on how much power is used to toss the coaster, but it's easy enough to restart and try again if the first toss doesn't go anywhere. Watching buildings collapse from impact is a fun feeling, though, even if precision does leave something to be desired.

Players can also build coasters through Engineer missions, which also have their own objectives. Unfortunately, this is where my lack of creativity does me in. The interface for building coasters can be difficult to grasp, as it takes some searching to find which pieces you have at your disposal. Worse yet, it isn't always clear which way your coaster is going if you're observing your creation from a distance. After I connected several corkscrew pieces and set up a straightaway, I tested the coaster out, only to see that the coaster was riding upside-down. I could only watch as passengers fell out of the coaster car, leaving me to start from scratch. It's also hard to judge some of the game's physics, as I sometimes bumped into instances where the coaster car came to a dead stop. Engineer work proves to be quite a trial-and-error process.

ScreamRide will include 58 legs in its Career mode that spans a full world map, with players able to select which path they'd like to pursue. For example, uncreative types, like myself, can simply skip past Engineering stages and proceed to ScreamRider or Demolitions Expert. All items can be unlocked, regardless of which path is chosen. Players will also be able to share their runs and custom creations on Xbox Live, allowing friends to view leaderboards or play a friend's custom coaster. It looks to have something for everyone and assuming the interface isn't too much of a turn-off, this simulator should satisfy fans of the old-school roller coaster-building games.

ScreamRide is set to take a ride on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on March 3, with the former running for $39.99 and the latter going for $29.99.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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