Pursuit Force
By: Andy Levine

The PSP’s game library hasn’t exactly been extraordinary since this handheld console debuted over a year ago, but all of that is about to change. A bunch of new games are planned for release in the upcoming months, giving PSP owners something they can finally be excited about. We managed to get our hands on a demo of Pursuit Force, which is a surprisingly entertaining car combat title coming to us from Sony. Taking the role of one member of the Pursuit Force, you need to help rid your state of its criminal woes by any means necessary.

Three different missions were available to us in the demo, and each scenario had its own particular twist. Our first encounter was the most basic of the bunch, in which we needed to thwart a convoy of toxic jeeps from reaching their destination. The foundation behind the gameplay is simple; you start off in one car and have to kill everyone else before they can escape. Armed with a meager pistol at the beginning of each scene, you can upgrade your weapons by hijacking cars of the criminals you’re chasing after. If you drive close enough to a car, you can press the circle button to hop on the trunk or the hood, and from there you can proceed to shoot up everyone until they all fall out. If the car you’re hanging from begins to swerve too much, there is a slight possibility that you will fall right off, so you have to make sure to keep your balance. Regular traffic cars can also be commandeered, but instead of killing the occupants they decide to move to the passenger seat instead. In the case of the toxic convoy, not only does every enemy have to be eliminated, but you also need to make sure that the toxic gases don’t kill you. Your health meter slowly regenerates overtime, but leaping from car to car while having bullets being shot at you can take its toll. If you’re health is running low you always have the option to try and shoot an opposing car until it explodes, but this will cost you a lot of time and ammunition, which isn’t always available.

There’s a lot of diversity packed into what seemed like a few short levels, making this game fun to play regardless of how many times you’ve gone through the levels. The vehicles have distinct handling characteristics, so the heavier trucks accelerate slower and don’t turn too sharp, while the light police cars can easily power slide around the sharpest of turns. Other vehicles, including buses, boats, and motorcycles, are also available during certain missions. A vast selection of weapons can also be picked up throughout the game, so don’t be surprised when you start picking up nail guns, assault rifles, and sawn off shotguns along the way. To prevent the missions from becoming dull and repetitive, there’s going to be plenty of plot twists throughout the levels. During the final missions, the first part requires you to wipe out everyone in a certain gang, and the second section has you take out one of their leaders. However, in the second part of this scenario you man the turret of a helicopter instead of driving around. Trying to hunt down the crazed boss who leaped insanely from car to car proved to be a daunting task.

The best aspect about Pursuit Force is that it can be fun whether you want to play for a minute or an hour. It’s incredibly easy to pop in the UMD and load up a mission, and in no time you can be leaping from cars and hanging from someone’s fender. There’s plenty of mission depth that incorporates a variety of vehicles, weapons, and challenges all with their own unique twist. When the final version of this game hits store shelves this March, gamers everywhere will surely be able to enjoy this blisteringly fast paced bumper-to-bumper thriller on their favorite handheld.