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Hardware: Rivals

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Hardware: Rivals

On the other side of the metal

At the dawn of the 32-bit era, what appeared to be the most ordinary “combat” races appeared in the PlayStation 1 library at first glance. Twisted Metal by the then-unknown David Jaffe looked great, played just as great and captivated with its style. True, it was necessary to first see it, but if this happened, then even the combined detachment of samurai grandmothers could not pull the unlucky lover of virtual entertainment from the screen. After almost a dozen sequels, spin-offs and TM reboots, an inconspicuous toy has appeared on the PlayStation Network virtual shelf, which, however, makes us remember Twisted Metal … which we lost.

Hardware: Rivals has a very indirect relation to the franchise mentioned in the introduction. This is an all-around independent product, aimed, unlike the last relaunch of TM, at the widest audience. For example, here is an extremely convenient control: by clicking on the “cross” we go forward; on the “square” – we slow down; on the shifts – we shoot. The most simple, but at the same time responsive physics does not force you to look for the nearest door jamb in order to split the gamepad in two, and the “For beginners” mode allows you to get involved in local mechanics without the risk of losing your last nerve cells during online clashes with Korean gamers.

However, all this simplicity has a downside: Hardware: Rivals is a terribly primitive game, and, alas, this is not a compliment at all. Remember why we loved the Jaffe series so much. For a combination of simple and complex? Undoubtedly. For a wildly styled solo campaign with all those clowns and chainsaws and bad-faced model girls? And that’s right. So, Rivals got only the network part from the genre wealth, which is best described by the phrase: “Let’s mix Unreal Tournament, Mario Kart and Twisted Metal.”

The backbone of the modes are various versions of Deathmatch and capturing points (hello, Battlefield!). At first glance, they are interesting: we wind circles along the track, pick up weapons lying here and there, destroy opponents – beauty, in a word. Intrigue is added by the simultaneous presence on the map of overweight tanks and nimble cars. Plus pumping, which at first makes you linger in the chaos of flashes of plasma and sparks from rockets. Later comes the sobering-up stage. You start to catch yourself thinking that this is the twenty-fifth time you see this quarry, and the body kit for the jeep that you just bought in the store (thank you for not donating and other modern filth) barely brightens up the rolling boredom.

Hardware: Rivals has nothing to motivate for a long game. Why monotonously butcher enemy carcasses, if the PlayStation 3 has a crooked, but still catchy relaunch of Twisted Metal? After all, there are bosses in stock, and a crazy plot “like in the good old days”, and you can fly in a helicopter. It’s clear that the origins of Hardware go back to the early PlayStation 2 and Sony’s experiments with the internet. It is clear that it is not necessary to demand much from a trinket handed out in PS Plus for free. But this is not a reason to release frankly average combat races, right?

SCE Connected Content Group has built a working gameplay base, but – what a banality! I forgot to add at least a spark of personality to it. The background of the world, for example, or bright characters. As a result, as a “gift” for a subscription to PS + Hardware: Rivals is good. But as an independent product, which will later be sold for money, it’s not very good.

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