Xtreeeeeem!

Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice is everything a cheesy 80s action flick was, and by that we mean it's awesome.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: February 3, 2008
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I hate to sound like an old man, but I do remember a time when action movies were different, neither as compassionate or (admittedly) intelligent as the flicks of today, 80s action stars were concerned purely with getting the bad guy, needless explosions and body count be damned. Perhaps it's fitting then, that just as Rambo goes storming back into the theatres, Sony has finally released the follow up to last year's solid but slightly underwhelming Pursuit Force.


Though it isn't without some nagging problems (some of which are carry-overs from the previous game), what Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice does to boost an already over-the-top game to stratospheric heights more than makes up for some of the sticking points the game has. Here is a game that doesn't just enjoy being a ludicrous display of rampant stereotypes and wafer-then plot lines, it basks in the afterglow of a ridiculous amount of explosions, countless (but entirely blood-free) kills and stunt work that we still probably couldn't pull off to the same effect with CG.

I don't think I've ever seen a game so perfectly encapsulate the sprit of a good 80s action flick quite as well as Extreme Justice -- and that includes the previous game. The sheer insanity of what transpires on a given mission, from a guy racing down a waterway in a hovercraft while plugging away at a car driving on an adjacent road to outrunning a wall of toxic gas in a speedboat to stopping a nuclear missile launch by blowing up the rocket, the game completely tosses any semblance of logic out the window and expects the player to do the same. So long as you can suspend disbelief on the level of a Schwarzenegger or Stallone flick, you're going to have a hell of a time.

I don't even know if it's worth getting into the game's "story," which concerns itself with the lead character from the last game getting promoted to the Pursuit Force squad's commander on the eve of a wedding, which is crashed by a gang from the first game. It quickly turns into a hail of spent bullets and forehead-slappingly bad dialogue that stretches for a good number of hours while Pursuit Force simultaneously repel attacks from another handful of ridiculously themed gangs trying to take over the city and a rival police force called Viper Squad that ironically are painted as the "extreme" guys due to their penchant for violence.

Absolutely no part of the storyline will come as a surprise to anyone who did enjoy the action flicks of yore, but that's not exactly a bad thing; the bad guys turn out to be exactly who you think they are, members of the team go missing or are lost in pretty much textbook fashion and all the while you're charged with stopping bad guys through the excessive use of lead and acrobatics.

Gameplay over the first game is largely unchanged; you'll still race through snaking roadways, ramming, shooting and at times jumping from car to car to stop enemies, oft-times before or after jumping behind a turret or sniper rifle to mow down enemies. It's the latter part along with the on-foot segments that can be most frustrating. The sniping sections can be a little confusing and at times a little unfair (especially compared the ease of the rest of the game), and the on-foot stuff is just plain lackluster. I understand that it was meant to break up all the shooting and driving, but the clunky controls and general lack of interesting segments serve to drag the game down more than break it up.

Luckily, the vast majority of the game still concerns itself with hijacking rides and tearing through perps with automatic weapons fire, and one of the biggest additions to the sequel, the boss fights, are often the most entertaining. Usually broken into multiple sections, you'll have to systematically destroy parts of the main baddies' vehicles before they pop out to fight you one-on-one. In almost all of the cases, you'll have to balance taking cover with unloading on an enemy as you make your way around and over the various little handholds of the vehicles. Like some of the on-foot melee fights, boss encounters usually require quick inputs at times from the face buttons, but the window for these is big enough that it's more fun than frustrating. The boss fights were by far my favorite part of Extreme Justice, and are a welcome addition.
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