Some reviewers were a bit rough and ready with Pursuit Force, BigBig Studios' PSP action game, including our very own Kristan, who wrote: "Pursuit Force has some really great ideas implemented reasonably well. Leaping from vehicle to vehicle like some sort of crazy offspring of Evil Kinevil and The Six Million Dollar Man is a lot of fun for a while. But then a combination of a horrible driving experience and some tedious difficulty spikes drain all the fun out of it, and you're left scowling about missed opportunities." Returning this year with the sequel - this time for PS2 as well as PSP - BigBig aims to sort out all the bits after the "But" and help Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice reach the critical heights the first game couldn't. We caught up with lead designer Chris Whiteside to find out what's in store.
Eurogamer: Pursuit Force got some amazingly varied write-ups, but everyone agreed it had a solid core. Which elements of the game did you target for improvement in Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice?
Chris Whiteside: Well, firstly, we've tackled several of the main areas of the game that needed improving over the original, including difficulty, repetition and lack of story.
From feedback we found that many players found the first game too hard. We have made numerous improvements for the sequel to fix this; these include areas such as widths of road, mission timings, communication of mechanics and mission objectives. On top of this we've also included a number of difficulty settings. This is so we can cater for those that have not played the original or found it too difficult and also those who found the first game a challenge but an enjoyable one. The last thing we want to do is disappoint those that found the first game spot on.
We also tackled the issue of repetition. With the first game we built upon the core mechanics so that the game would not be repetitive, including elements such as gunning from the chopper as well as a variety of mission types. Still, never one to ignore general feedback, in this one we've really thrown in the kitchen sink. For example, we have built upon the first-person mechanics of the first game allowing the player to gun from the back of land based vehicles, enhanced the mission types that everyone liked and evolved others to ensure that they are more fun (as well as adding completely new ones). We've also bolstered the main game with new additions such as Multiplayer and Challenge modes, and now the player can also upgrade the Cop's abilities to suit their own strengths and weakness. These are just a handful of the additions.
On top of these improvements we've also added a number of new features/modes. Firstly, we're introducing the Pursuit Force Team. In the first game you were basically a one-man-army. Now, in the sequel you're joined by a team of new recruits, each one with their strengths and weaknesses. More often than not they're there to help you out but now and again it's your job to go in and save their ass. Secondly, and specifically due to feedback we have included a 'Summer Blockbuster Storyline' (think Lethal Weapon). However, we want to ensure that the player really does feel like the hero and as such the system is designed in such a way that the player feels like he is driving the storyline rather than it being forced onto him. Last but not least, we'd added interactive boss vehicles. Now, in the first game the bosses were little more than normal vehicles with a boss on them. This time around we've got gigantic beasts of vehicles, some taking up several screens in size. The player has to clamber over and around these vehicles, with his ultimate goal to locate and takeout the boss.
Put simply, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice is an altogether different proposition to the original.