The Fast & Furious franchise has dominated the box-office in recent years, but the video game iterations haven’t really set the world alight. Teaming up with veteran racing developer Slightly Mad Studios (Need for Speed:Shift, Project Cars), the series is heading in the right direction, but much like the movies, Fast & Furious: Crossroads ends up being nothing more than a guilty pleasure that is over almost as quick as the films are.
What is Crossroads exactly though? While the previous Fast & Furious game (2006’s Fast & Furious on PS2) went for straight-up racing experience, Crossroads aims to be a little more than that – and rightfully so, as, in it’s favour, helps it be something different.
The game is much more like its big-screen counterparts: essentially a bunch of vehicular boss fights, blended together with familiar car-combat elements like Burnout‘s Takedown mechanic and Twisted Metal‘s weapon-based carnage. The result is a bit of mish-mash of genres, and while neither the driving nor the combat is done particularly well, we have to give Crossroads a nod of the hat for offering some variety from mission to mission. You’ll go from trying to take down a tank-like enemy to escaping police within a matter of minutes, and it’s quite refreshing.
Driving itself feels very loose, almost like you’re on ice. Theres a lot of bumping into walls and whacking into side rails, but it still kind of ‘works’, because the levels really are more like tracks that you’re funnelled down, rather than tricky racing circuits. It’s hard not to feel like F&F: Crossroads is like a rollercoaster that you’re strapped into, but one with mounted machine guns and spiked-wheels to give it a little extra oomph.
In combat, there are some nice ideas, like having to use a grappling hook to pull weapons or armour off enemies, or being tethered to a giant ball (much like the bank safe sequence in Fast Five), which does make Crossroads feel like its in a vehicular genre of its own. Sadly, these moments, as fun as they are, aren’t fleshed out enough and do end up feeling like mini-games in between simply ramming enemies.
Story-wise, they clearly want Crossroads to feel like a plausible plot from the franchise, and having the real actors lend their voices along with the fact that its canon to the universe, is a nice touch. But while it manages to capture that cringey but enjoyable B-movie charm and tone, the story falls into the same tropes as its big-screen counterparts do, leaving it feeling more like a Spanish soap opera than a blockbuster release. If you don’t mind the cheese, just be ready for the whole block.
The biggest deterrent from the story though is that the character animations are also admittedly out of date for a game releasing in 2020, but in its defence, while the graphics aren’t going to win any awards, the game does run really smoothly (even when the action heats up) and there are some big Hollywood-esque cinematic effects that do help capture that F&F spectacle.
Fast & Furious: Crossroads is what it is. It has a story that’ll leave you doubting logic, action that’ll make you perk up, and some really innovative ideas in terms of spectacular set-pieces. It’s frustrating, because underneath all the rough edges is an interesting vehicular-combat concept, but everything just feels too half-baked to really make an impact.