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Kinetica

Developer: SCE Studios Santa Monica | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 10/16/01 | Genre: Driving

Sony's new PS2 racer is definitely not your run-of-the-mill racing game. In Kinetica, the contestants are not sitting in a car, they're wearing it. The game is set in a future where underground street races have become insanely popular and new technology has developed specialized suits that utilize kinetic energy for racing.

The object of the game is just like any other racer: get to the finish line before everyone else. However, the game moves at light speed and keeping your character properly oriented can be a real task. Unfortunately, the incredible sense of speed works against the game. All too often you'll find yourself slamming into walls, or spinning around the track as you struggle to figure out which way you're supposed to be going. The overwhelming speed leaves you with a feeling of little control and it gets frustrating rather quickly.

The game also includes a boost meter that you can fill up by performing stunts during the race. Unfortunately, this also becomes a chore. Each stunt you do only gives you a tiny amount of boost, and you'll really need to pull off something incredible to fill it up. Plus, when you use the boost, it disappears in a second and you're back to square one. It's pretty darn difficult to make your way to the head of the pack when you have to spend all your time doing stunts.

Another disappointment is the lack of variety found in the tracks. Many of the tracks have "sequels". For example, there is one track called Lost City and another one called Lost City II. Several other tracks have sequels as well so the variety is quite limited. Sure, some courses are set in futuristic cities while others are set in a jungle-type environment, but that's about it. Also, like several other racers today, shortcuts are a necessity. This recent trend of "follow the computer to the shortcuts" is totally bogus. What happened to the good old days when you had to find the shortcuts for yourself? Shortcuts from the days of old allowed you to blow away the competition, now you have to take them just to stay in the race.

To the game's credit, the graphics are pretty darn impressive. The city levels look awesome, and the more natural environments look alright too. Racers look cool when doing stunts, and the lighting effects are superb. Also, the game's soundtrack is great for any techno junkies out there (myself included). However, just having good graphics and a cool soundtrack doesn't make a game good. Kinetica has a lot of potential for growth in the future, but for now, I suggest letting this one pass you by.

By - 10/15/01
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Screenshots for Kinetica

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