The streets of Capital City are being overrun by five notorious gangs: the sultry Vixens, the elite mercenary Warlords, the Capelli crime family, the Asian syndicate Killer 66, and a gang of escaped Convicts. Enter Pursuit Force, a specialized law enforcement agency aimed at taking down the gangs and bringing justice back to Capital City. Are you up to the task? Grab a box of donuts and jump into your squad car rookie, the chase is about to begin.
Pursuit Force is an action game inspired by the car chases of such Hollywood blockbusters as Bad Boys and The Matrix. The Career Mode, which spans 30 cases, six cases per gang, is comprised mostly of high-speed vehicular chases on land and sea, with a wide selection of vehicles that includes cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes and speedboats.
Mission objectives range from escorting VIPs and protecting innocent civilians to eliminating enemy vehicles by any means necessary. In the case of the later, you can either disable the enemy’s vehicle by shooting or ramming into it, or you can kill its occupants, which means getting up close and personal. This is where Pursuit Force brings out its secret weapon. Like a stuntman, players can jump from one moving vehicle to another, if they can manoeuvre their cruiser close enough, and engage in a shootout with its passengers. This isn’t just limited to enemy vehicles. If your cruiser is on the verge of being destroyed, players can jump onto a civilian’s vehicle and commandeer it in the name of the law.
Successfully commandeering an enemy’s vehicle, eliminating gang members, and ramming or destroying criminal vehicles helps fill the Justice Bar. When full, the Justice Bar provides players with special benefits such as health regeneration and the ability to shoot felons from mid-air while leaping onto their vehicles. Players can also press the triangle button and use their Justice Bar to instantly regain their entire health and restore the condition of their current vehicle. However, lawbreaking acts such as ramming civilian vehicles will deplete the Justice Bar.
High-speed chases aren’t the only order of the day in Pursuit Force. There are some flying missions, where players operate a helicopter mini-gun, as well as some on-foot action. Some missions feature a mixture of gameplay elements. For example, one of the earlier cases begins with a land-based chase to a certain location, follows with an on-foot confrontation, and concludes with a sea-based pursuit. Unfortunately the on-foot battles aren’t particularly well executed, due largely to the counter-productive nature of the controls whereby character movement and camera control are both achieved using the analog stick.
Pursuit Force’s Career Mode is challenging to say the least. By the time you get promoted to Sergeant, you’ll be replaying some of the missions up to a dozen times trying to complete them. Luckily the longer cases have checkpoints, allowing players to start at the mid-way point of the mission as opposed to back at the start, otherwise frustration would become a big factor. As you climb up the ranks of the force, you’ll unlock the Time Trial and Race modes, tracks within these quick play modes, as well as game art that can be viewed in the Gallery and even saved to a memory stick to use as a background image. Due to the absence of the jump mechanic, the Time Trial and Race modes are pretty standard racing fare.
Pursuit Force is strictly a single player experience, there is no multiplayer offered. It would have been nice to join forces with a friend to combat the gangs of Capital City or simply race head-to-head but alas, not even the high scores are uploaded to a leaderboard.
Visually, Pursuit Force is a smart looking game. The vehicles are well modelled and you get a real sense of speed in each pursuit. The animation when players jump from one moving vehicle to another is great, as is the animation when players dangle from the back of moving vehicles, trying to regain their foothold and climb back on. An added bonus is the fact that load times are kept to a minimum, which hasn’t been the case for a lot of recent PSP titles. The graphics are accompanied by a solid audio component. The voice acting is a little over-the-top, but it fits well with the brass Chief of Police who’s constantly on your ass during the missions. There’s also a nice dose of humorous blurbs from the various gang members as they taunt you during the pursuits.
Overall, Pursuit Force has all the elements of an exciting high-speed Hollywood pursuit: fast cars, loud guns, and daredevil jumps, The gameplay does get a little repetitive at times. Even though you’re chasing the criminals in a boat one mission as opposed to a car in another, the mechanics are essentially the same. The difficulty curve in the Career Mode is a little steep but as long as you don’t mind a good challenge, Pursuit Force is an action game that’ll provide its share of portable thrills.