Scrap Metal review

Block Party continues this week with Scrap Metal, a solid mix of RC Pro-Am Racing and Vigilante 8  features.  Does the latest work of Slick Entertainment end up in the winners’ circle, or is it destined to end up in a scrap yard?

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Scrap Metal offers a variety of missions in its campaign mode, including elimination races, protection runs, and of course the destructive demolition derby. Although there is no plot with Scrap Metal, the game has just over 60 missions to play through. Unfortunately, the number of tracks in the game are  limited and you’ll see them being used multiple times in different events. There are slight changes to keep them from getting stale too quickly, such as different lighting effects, and weather effects.  Still, you’ll be left just wishing there was a little more variety.

In  terms of graphics, the game falls short, and textures are muddy looking. The vehicles aren’t notable quality either. Tracks are decorated with barrels, crates and random barriers. The overall user interface isn’t too bad though, each main ‘area’ in clearly defined and events are listed within them, along with your current medal on every given event. Lighting effects are decent and some tracks look much more impressive when they are set to look like a night track. While you won’t find anything extraordinary in terms of visuals, we can say the game ‘s graphics fit the general theme of the game. In the sound category, Scrap Metal offers us a small variety of metal background tunes, and the soothing sounds of guns, grenades, and many others. Sound quality isn’t really awe-inspiring but its effective.

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Although the game may not be the most visually appealing, it succeeds in being an enjoyable title to play. Majority of missions allow the user to choose their vehicle, and perform upgrades to its armor, firepower, speed, and grip. Upgrade points are earned in every event and the number of points is reflected by whether you earn bronze, silver, or gold in the events. Vehicles are rated by a class number, as are events, so if you plan to take a higher class vehicle into a low class event, you will not earn a medal or any upgrade points. However, even with an upgraded vehicle in the proper class, you will soon come to find that it’s easy to earn the gold in early events, and you can replay any event multiple times and earn a solid thirty points in under two minutes.

The difficulty curve is somewhat unbalanced and it becomes noticeable in some events where you will require multiple upgrades if you want the gold medal, while others are an easy run without any changes. Some events require the use of a specific vehicle, and these events seem quite difficult to earn a gold medal on, as opposed to standard events in the game where you have control over what to drive. You start off with one vehicle and whenever you defeat a track boss, you inherit their vehicle and it can take a spot in your garage. As you progress, the vehicles are higher classes and you replace the older ones. At any time you can hang onto a total of four destructive vehicles. In terms of weaponry, each vehicle has a specified weapon and it cannot be changed. You’ll encounter machine guns, grenade launchers, saw blades, and much more.

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A good measure of the game difficulty is due to the controls. There are two controls schemes to choose from, a basic method where you push the left thumbstick where you want to do, and advanced, where you steer with the thumbstick and use RT for the gas. While that doesn’t sound complicated, the difficulty arises on the corners. The game works on a fixed camera, but you are driving from the perspective of being in the vehicle meaning  you will have to invert the direction you hold the stick on the corners, otherwise you’ll quickly slam into the walls.  Confusing controls combined with the extremely slippery tracks will often have you cursing at your TV, as well as restarting events to try it all over.

Whilst the campaign mode allows 1-4 players, Scrap Metal allows players to jump onto Xbox Live for racing, king of hill, and demolition derby fun, also supporting a maximum of 4 players. Loading times online are quick and matches appear to be extremely smooth with no lag issues. The game is much more satisfying when you can chat with other players, and then leaving their wreck on the track as you continue to wreak havoc. While a minimum of 8 players would have been appreciated, the game remains fun at its current form.

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In the end, Scrap Metal falls short of expectations, and while the game is still enjoyable to play, the 1200 :MSPoints: price feels slightly too steep. The game feels more deserving of $10 price tag, so unless you’re a big fan of vehicular combat racing, you might want to wait for a sale on Scrap Metal. Regardless, head over to the Marketplace to grab the demo and get more information on the game.

Review by Bryan Tremblay


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