FAST & FURIOUS CROSSROADS
Gameplay 4
Graphics 5
Sound 5

Fast & Furious Crossroads had plenty of potential but somehow manages to squander all of it. Despite some over the top scenarios the game offers very little challenge and the whole thing can be completed in one session. The multiplayer also appears to be dead on arrival, which means there is nothing to return to after completing the short campaign. Considering the success and popularity of the movie franchise it’s baffling to see how poorly the license was handled for this game.

Gameplay: Short, easy, and full of baffling design choices.

Graphics: The cars look fine, but everything else has a very low budget look and feel.

Sound: Considering the involvement of some of the big names from the movies we expected a lot better

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FAST & FURIOUS CROSSROADS

Developer: Slightly Mad Studios | Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: Action / Racing | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

With the next installment of the blockbuster movie franchise delayed due to COVID-19, fans of Fast & Furious could at least look forward to Crossroads to tide them over in the meantime. With Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson lending their vocals as well as likeness to the game there was hope that it could actually be decent. The fact that Slightly Mad Studios, developers of the Project Cars series, was involved also bode well for the game. Unfortunately, despite how all of these things could have worked in favor of the game, Crossroads somehow managed to mess it all up. Whether it’s due to greed, time restraints or the good old curse of videogames based on movies, very few fans of the franchise will want to have anything to do with this wreck.

The game starts promising enough with Dom and Lettie encountering a secret underground criminal organization called the Tadakhul. These guys have a lineage that stretches back all the way to the highway robbers of old, but these days their antics are a little more high-tech. Once this is established the story switches over to newcomers, Vienna Cole and Cam Stone. Apparently, Vienna ran into some trouble while part of the Miami racing scene and it saw her leaving it all behind to try and make a new start in Barcelona with her non-binary friend, Cam. However, while trying to make a living in Madrid with their towing business, they also get dragged into the crosshairs of the Tadakhul. Fortunately for everyone involved, Vienna calls on her “old friend” Lettie for help, and before you can blink the whole family is out defying the laws of gravity and plausibility with their vehicular antics.

The Fast & Furious franchise has seen incredible success after jumping the shark and deciding that instead of street races audiences would rather watch cars falling out of planes or jumping across skyscrapers. This is a philosophy that the game embraces as well, so players can expect very little in the way of actual racing. In fact, there’s only one mission in the game that requires actual racing around a track with the rest mostly involving getting from point A to point B while listening to the crew bantering. Some of the more action-packed missions also call upon players to use the “special” abilities of characters to accomplish objectives. These can range from using a grapple to rip weapons off enemy vehicles to using rockets to shoot weapons off enemy vehicles. One of the characters is even talented enough that she can hack the weapons of enemy vehicles while engaged in high-speed driving. Unfortunately, all of this sounds way more impressive than it really is.

In most cases using any of these abilities involves waiting for a cross-hair to appear on a target and then pressing the relevant button. This is made worse by the fact that the game has no difficulty settings and most missions are so easy you’ll breeze straight through them with no sense of accomplishment.

As much as we enjoy a good challenge we know that not everyone shares that sentiment, but being easy doesn’t mean Crossroads is not frustrating. Not only is the game extremely short, but half of it consists of cut-scenes featuring characters that look like animatronic versions of their real-life counterparts. Dom looks like an extra from a zombie movie in half the scenes with his dead-eyed stare and the rest of the cast doesn’t fare much better. Sonequa Martin-Green and Asia Kate Dillon, step into the roles of Vienna and Cam respectively, while Tyrese Gibson returns as Roman and Peter Stormare takes on the mantle of the villain. Players who squint will find everyone recognizable enough, but the quality of the animations won’t fool anyone. It’s no exaggeration to say that we’ve seen Playstation 2 games do a better job with believable character animations. This is definitely not a good thing in a game where players spend half of their five hour playing time watching these puppets lurch about.

All of this would have been forgiven if the actual driving was fun, but somehow even this was botched. We were certainly not expecting any type of accurate vehicle handling from a Fast and Furious game, but Crossroads appears to exist in a universe of its own. The arcade handling is fine while driving in a straight line, but taking corners at high speed feels like playing a pinball game. Even the AI in the game appears to struggle with driving as they will usually smash into everything in sight during missions. It’s actually quite funny to take part in a mission where you are told to not attract attention while the rest of your crew mows down every piece of scenery along the side of the road. Crossroads was clearly designed with consoles in mind as it doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that players might want to play it with anything except a controller. This wasn’t much of an issue for us as we prefer using a controller, but players stuck using keyboards will have to figure out what the button prompts mean on their own. The game also lacks any type of option to customize the controls.

The install size of Crossroads is quite baffling as there is virtually nothing in the game that justifies it. The maps you drive on seem to be quite large, but any attempt to stray from the marked route you are given will reveal how exceptionally linear they are. There is virtually no room for exploration, which is something the game emphasizes even further by not providing players with an overworld map. Instead, players are simply thrown from one set piece to the next with a cut-scene to try and tie everything together. Even with these lengthy cut-scenes, the whole thing feels very disjointed.

The human characters in the game look bad, but at least the vehicles and surroundings fare slightly better. Some classic cars from the movies make an appearance and the game also draws inspiration from some of the movie scenes for certain missions. However, the game immediately shoots itself in the foot again by only offering a single camera view. Not only is this view restricted to the back of your vehicle, but it’s zoomed in so close that you have practically no peripheral vision. There is a button for looking behind your vehicle, but a wider field of view would have been appreciated in a game that asks you to perform Burnout-style “takedowns” on enemies. Even the ability to switch between different members of your crew to make use of their special abilities feels pointless as the game will make very sure to tell you when to do it.

The final nail in the coffin of Crossroads is that the audio also feels sub-par for what players would expect from such a big license. The deliveries from most of the voice actors are very flat and wooden while the soundtrack has very little in common with how the movies sound. Throw in some uninspiring vehicle sounds and one has to wonder how much effort went into this game. The multi-player, which could have been its saving grace is also so deserted that it might as well have been committed from the game.

We did have some fun while playing Crossroads, but most of it came from showing other people just how embarrassingly bad the game is. Of course, fans who have to cough up the frankly ridiculous asking price for the game might find it a little less amusing. Overall, Crossroads might be worth a look when it hits bargain bins, but as it stands even the most ardent fans of the franchise will only find disappointment here.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 x64
  • Processor: 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5 3450 or 4.0 GHz AMD FX-8350
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GTX680 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 50 GB available space
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 x64
  • Processor: Intel i7 8700k or AMD Ryzen 7 2700x
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVidia GTX 2080 or AMD Radeon VII
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 50 GB available space

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