Iceberg Interactive and Reverb are handing out free promotional codes for Gas Guzzlers: Extreme. They want the press to – any press at all – at least play the game. You know they've hit rock bottom when they've crawled our way and tossed us a review code, but that's just the way the dice falls.
The game has a fairly robust career mode, a multiplayer mode I haven't been able to get much time into due to not a lot of players being on, and a quick race mode. Majority of my time has been spent in the career mode and doing some other races just for the kicks. While I haven't put in enough time to give solid impressions of the career mode, I have put in enough time with the game to talk about the combat mechanics: they're orgasmic.
The thing is, while the cars handle only ever-so-slightly different from the next car over, the weapons have a marvelously distinct sense of individuality. You can practically feel each and every bullet that pelts the car and you can literally see the results from shooting a car at close range with the dual shotguns.
Speaking of the dual shotguns... holy snaps are they amazing! When used on smaller vehicles the shotguns will actually blast a car off the ground and into the air. I can't tell you how awesome and rewarding it feels spin a car using a pit maneuver and then once you get it on its side, unload several rounds point blank into the car. The results are absolutely 100% entertaining. Depending on the track a car might fly clean in the air, tip over on its side or just get blown up in thoroughly satisfying way.
The driving itself may not require the most die-hard sim skills on the planet, but the shooting does have a prerequisite of knowing how to aim while drifting or knowing when to lay down a mine and combo it with firing a rocket propelled grenade behind you.
A lot of the vehicular combat also feels a heck of a lot like Unreal Tournament and the smooth 60fps really helps bring some cohesion to the experience.
My only gripe with the combat is probably that the car damage models aren't entirely accurate, so there's a general damage model for the cars losing life as opposed to something like GTA IV, where you shoot up the side of the car and you see the side panels lined with bullet holes. Nevertheless, it's still pretty awesome and works well enough.
The skill offset reminds me almost of a first-person shooter on wheels... dare I say, Call of Duty meets Mario Kart.
The thing that really stood out to me, though, is that this game's core mechanics are just really, really solid. I was shocked at how well the game also scales as you unlock higher tiered weapons, vehicles and upgrades that help add additional layers to the core mechanics. In a way, this game works better than a lot of other big brand name racing titles, especially some of the Need for Speed games, where titles like Shift and Shift 2 had broken handling physics.
My only concern with Gas Guzzlers: Extreme is how well the game will scale later on and what the content will be like near the end-game of career mode. I'm also skeptical that the multiplayer for this poor game may not ever pick up a strong following given that the servers are almost universally empty at most times of the day.
Gas Guzzlers: Extreme is available right now on Desura and Steam for just a little more than $20. For more information feel free to pay a visit to the official website.