KOEI Fatal Inertia

KOEI Fatal Inertia
  • Expert Rating

    2.75 / 5

Pros

  • The circuits have movable and breakable obstacles

Cons

  • The game lacks real personality and originality

Bottom Line

Troublesome oversights get in the way of enjoyment, such as the bizarre lack of a health meter, and the notion that tons of fast-moving metal can be brought to a screeching halt by straw-thin branches. These issues are all symptomatic of Fatal Inertia's crippling unwillingness to strike far enough out into new territory to find fresh rewards. However, Fatal Inertia does not sink to the bottom-of-the-barrel status, but neither does it ever manage to rise above merely average.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 89.95 (AUD)

Ever since the WipeOut series petered out on home consoles, fans of futuristic hover-racing have had to content themselves with top-drawer simulations of current technology. Fatal Inertia clearly aims to end that drought.

Float like a 10 tonne butterfly

The first big difference between Fatal Inertia and its most famous predecessor is the environment collection: there may only be six of them, but they range from dusty canyon hills to tropical rain forest, are more naturalistic than WipeOut's glass-smooth surfacing, and are each broken up into nine different circuits. Though devoid of wildlife or moving parts, each features open spaces packed with movable and breakable obstacles, making each lap different from the last.

Unfortunately, these relatively detailed organic environments are carved into tracks that seem more concerned with causing crashes than promoting a desperately needed--but only sporadically delivered--sense of speed, and the frame-rate stuttering that accompanies crowded action doesn't help. Straightaways sometimes lead to tight blind corners and narrow outlets, and challenging "navigator" variations ramp up the difficulty even further. While the piloting scheme offers serviceable control mechanics, with barrel rolls and strafe-turning, they don't allow enough precision to elevate learning to recover after a screw-up from frustration to satisfaction.

Learning the ropes

Most of the weapons you can launch against your seven competitors, whether you're competing in the tiered career mode or playing on Xbox Live, are predictable, though the ability to choose whether to fire a rocket for damage or use it for added thrust is intriguing. Magnets fired onto opposing vehicles disrupt their handling, EMPs disable everything in their blast radius, and force fields shield from harm. By far the coolest options are a time dilator that slows the temporal dimension for everyone else, and the game's one truly inspired feature: an elastic cable that can do everything from tether two opponents together to rubber-band you into the lead, thanks to the Unreal Engine's (mostly) convincing physics simulation.

That sole innovation can't save Fatal Inertia from its biggest problem, though, which is an overwhelming lack of personality. A "magnet mayhem" mode enlivens things with infinite ammo, and "velocity" events dole out speed upgrades exclusively, but every craft feels hopelessly generic, no matter what unlockable engines, wings, and cockpits you slap on it. Enemies never do anything particularly cunning, and a generic breakbeat soundtrack thumps along dispassionately in the background. There's just not much soul in this machine.

Middle of the road

Other troublesome oversights get in the way of enjoyment, too, like the bizarre lack of a health meter, and the notion that tons of fast-moving metal can be brought to a screeching halt by straw-thin branches. These issues are all symptomatic of Fatal Inertia's crippling unwillingness to strike far enough out into new territory to find fresh rewards. KOEI's next-gen racer does not sink to bottom-of-the-barrel status, but neither does it ever manage to rise above merely average.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?