Gas Guzzlers Extreme Edition was launched on 26 November 2019 for the PS4. It has previously been released on the PC and Xbox, and now the Extreme Edition brings the base game with the Zombie and Full Metal Frenzy DLCs to the PS4 console. It was developed by Gamepires and published by Iceberg Interactive.
I was very excited to get my hands on a review copy of this last week. It’s been a while since I’ve played a decent racing game, never mind one where you can cause mayhem and destruction. I had my hopes up for a really decent game, and it more than met my expectations.
In GG-ED you start out with a low-spec car. There is no overall storyline, but the mission is simple. Get out there and blow some shit up. Oh, and win some races while you are at it. As you progress through levels (stages and your own character level), you unlock new cars, vehicle upgrades, weapons, paint jobs, stickers and wheels. All this to make you the meanest, baddest death machine out there.
If you’ve seen the Death Race movies, you should feel at home here. While racing, there are icons on the road that serve either as power-ups or repairs. These power-ups go a long way in ensuring that you win the race. They include items such as boost, weapons, ammo, oil, smoke screens, grenades and landmines.
As you start the campaign, you are treated to the most basic of modes. These include normal race, battle race and knock out. As you progress, you unlock further modes, some that take place in every race thereafter or as a once-off special sponsor event. While you unlock these for the campaign, they also become available for Quick Race outside the Campaign mode. There are also the special Tournament Cups during various stages of the game which serve as your main goals, as winning these cups takes you on to the next level of the game as well as unlocks new classes of vehicles and upgrades.
In each mission, you can select one of the modes to play through. Each one has their own set of rewards, as well as bonus rewards if you manage to complete one of the side objectives. However, don’t expect an engaging story to go with these missions. You simply select that you want to continue, pick a race mode, complete it, upgrade your vehicle or purchase something new, and continue one again.
One of my favourite modes is Destruction Derby. It brings back the PlayStation 1 days of playing Destruction Derby and mashing into every other car around you. Some other modes worth mentioning remind me of most of the FPS games out there today, such as Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, and Domination. Of course, the Zombie DLC brings a mode in Quick Race whereby you use your weapons of mass destruction to take down as many Zombies as you can. And as you progress through the waves, the Zombies only become larger and harder to take down. There are at least 22 types of Zombies to mow down with your chain gun.
This is one of the few racing games these days where I actually enjoy spending time in the garage. There are 21 cars to unlock and no limit to how many of them you can own. There are about 12 weapon types that you can attach to your vehicle, which includes shotguns, rocket launchers, rail guns and more. The weapons remind me very much of Doom.
There is a steady level of progression when it comes to unlocking and customising your vehicles. I managed to make just enough money in preparation for new unlocks, although there were very rare occasions where the progression happened faster than I could make the cash. The newer modes you unlock tend to give you more cash rewards, which kind of steers you towards choosing them in each mission.
Which brings me to the sponsors. You have stickers that you can apply to your car, which is like the old vinyls from classic Need for Speed games. The sponsor stickers look way better though. Not only do they look better, but Sponsors pay you extra for winning racers with their emblems on, and also provide you will special Sponsor races every now and again which is different from your standard racing modes. I can’t imagine why one would use normal stickers when the Sponsors give you such cool rewards.
The graphics are truly magnificent. Not only are the images beautiful, reminding me of some glorious Need for Speed days, but the screen actually shudders and shakes when things explode around you. There are times when so much is happening on your screen that sensitive viewers will need to look away. I am really impressed at how much the game is able to handle at any given time, especially when the chaos ensues.
The scenery is just as beautiful, if you actually spend any amount of time looking at it through the destruction. Vehicles are provided with beautiful polish and shine, except when you take on heavy damage and parts start falling off. What I loved was the transformation of the vehicle when it is repaired. Parts don’t simply just appear back to normal. There is a warp transformation as the part kind of shape back into place.
Finally, there is the sound aspect. Besides the normal boom and bang sounds of everything happening around you, I must say that I love the voice acting. You are treated to voices like Duke from Duke Nukem and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name but two of the cast. Not only do you get their voices, but you get their catch phrases now, such as Duke saying “I’m going to rip out your eyeballs and piss on your brain”. This just really added to the fun quality of the game.
Along with that humour are the play on words with the A.I. driver names. Some examples are Jed I. Knight, Lou Briccant and Max E. Mumm. The developers really went all out to ensure you have a good giggle while blowing up some brains.
The only drawback to the game is that there is no local split-screen multiplayer. This would have been an excellent game to play with the family on the same screen, and it is such a wasted opportunity to not have included it. As great as this game is, local multiplayer would have meant more longevity to the game (took me about 5 – 6 hours to complete campaign mode) as well as endless fun.
All in all, Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a welcome addition to the PS4 family. With superb graphics, incredible chaos and some really funny moments, as well as the selection of cars, weapons and upgrades, it is truly a wonderful game to play. I would definitely recommend that you buy yourself this game. If I wasn’t given a review copy, I would have definitely purchased it without regret. However, the lack of local multiplayer really sets my level of satisfaction back a bit, as this is one of the best games to play against friends and family on the same screen. I would have probably given a higher score had this been included.
And so for me, the game gets a lovely 9/10.
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