When Sega unveiled Full Auto at last year’s E3, it featured a very unique presence. While the Xbox 360’s lineup was chock full of racing titles (Project Gotham 3, NFS: Most Wanted, Ridge Racer 6, and Burnout Revenge,) there was no true combat themed racer.
In addition, no racing title available on any console came equipped with its own rewind button, an "unwreck" feature, allowing you to make up for past mistakes.
The "unwreck" concept is what makes Full Auto unique. A simple button press will actually rewind the game by a few seconds, giving a second chance to correct a previous mistake. While it seems easy to abuse the unwreck button, the time is limited, and can only be restored by wasting opposing racers.
Cars are mounted with various weapon configurations, which consist of both front and turret mounted machine guns, grenade launchers, shotguns, and rear mounted mine layers, as well as a special turbo boost that increases by performing sharp turns.
While the racing seems basic by most standards, it’s both the combat and overall destruction that offers a unique feel to the game. Unlockables for each course come in three levels: Standard which is usually done for finishing the race at third place or above, Semi-Auto for rating higher and clearing a certain amount of Wreck Points (a tally of how much destruction is caused, be it against other cars or against the overall environment), and Full-Auto for winning a race and causing a high amount of Wreck Points.
Sadly, that is where the innovation seems to end. Of all the courses that I played, they all look and play the same. It’s almost as if the environment consisted of several small tracks combined together into its own world, but nothing extremely elaborate. And eventually, after a few hours of gameplay, it will all feel like old hat. Xbox Live play extends the game’s life, but not by much.
Visually Full Auto is impressive, but compared to the beauty of Project Gotham 3, I would not really consider it next gen. There might be times when it runs very smooth, but without warning the frame rate can take a huge drop. It doesn’t detract from the gameplay, but it can be quite an eyesore to look at.
The sound too ranks in the average quality, as the music is forgettable, but the sounds of the weapons and explosions are pretty close to real.
In the end, Full Auto is an ambitious title with a unique gimmick (the Unwreck feature,) but the repetitive nature of the beast results in a short lived experience. If Sega and Pseudo decide to make a sequel, I hope they look into adding more unique environments, more modes, and basically, more enjoyment. The 3 Â½ GiN Gems rating seems like an appropriate rating for a product that is unique, yet dull.