Pseudo Interactive's Full Auto is a not-bad car combat game that combines Burnout-styled vehicular mayhem with tons of onscreen chaos and destruction. But what seems like a winning combination yields only mild results.
Full Auto is all about racing through a variety of different environments (city, mountain roads, docks, freeways, etc.) in a series of multi-lap races using ficticious vehicles with weapons like gatling guns, rocket launchers, hood-mounted shotguns, and grenade launchers strapped to them, and blowing the heck out of everyone and everything. Vehicles are rated in categories like speed and strength, and winning races unlocks more of them.
The race events are fairly standard, consisting of circuit races, point-to-point showdowns, knockouts, and events where you have to destroy a certain amount of enemy vehicles and/or property to win.
What sets Full Auto apart from most other racing games is the amount of onscreen destruction; there's a lot of it. Burnout reveled in the graphic destruction of automobiles, whereas Full Auto takes joy in not only shredding cars, but everything else too: a typical Full Auto race will see not only cars crumpling and exploding, but also glass smashing; lamp-posts, parking meters, and street signs getting uprooted; tanker trucks and gas stations erupting in massive fireballs; roadside detritus getting thrown all over the place; monorails exploding in showers of sparks from missile hits and then falling onto the track; and entire buildings crashing down. Toss in lots of weapon effects, fire, smoke, loads of civilian vehicles that have no business being on the streets, and set it all to some decent-but-generic hard-edged techno music, and that's what Full Auto is all about.
When playing Full Auto it pays to drive like a maniac and smash and wreck as much as you can since doing these two things feeds a turbo boost meter, as well as your "Unwreck" meter. Unwreck is basically a rewind feature which allows you to reverse time if you make a mistake and/or get destroyed. It's a pretty handy feature to have, and you'll really miss it on the final series of the single-player campaign when it's taken away from you and you have to drive a murderous gauntlet where getting destroyed even once sends you back to the reload screen.
It sounds exciting, but Full Auto is only intermittently thrilling; the game just never creates a great sensation of speed or danger, which is a must for a game like this. An inconsistent frame-rate doesn't help, as Full Auto frequently stutters when there's lots of onscreen activity. The destruction looks cool at first, but the awe factor wears off fairly soon.
That said, Full Auto is quite playable and you may find yourself coming back to it from time to time.
Full Auto's visuals won't win any awards, but they get the job done. The frame-rate could be better but considering how much is going on at any one time, you can live with it. The cars look okay and the special effects are serviceable, albeit over-the-top at times.
The audio in Full Auto is alright: the engines, squealing tires, explosions, weapons fire, and smashy-smashy noises are solidly implemented. As mentioned, the music is generic but not terrible. With the exception of a couple of tracks that are pretty good, you probably won't even notice the music most of the time.
If you're looking for achievements, the majority of Full Auto's 50 achievements can be picked up by playing through the career mode, with only a few of them being relatively hard to get. There are several multiplayer-only achievements as well, but scarce online competition will make getting them hard, unless you know someone who has the game and will play with you.
Full Auto isn't a great game, but is an okay one. It's good bargain-bin fodder for racing fans looking for a cheap thrill.