Review By: Eric Rehm
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Enter Pimp City, where diamond bling, custom cars, and poor mini games are king. Based on the popular MTV show, Pimp My Ride, the game looks to pimp out the 360 with its blend of car customization and driving.
The premise of the game is the same as the show; take some lucky person’s crapped out car and pimp it with unnecessary gadgets. Host of the show, Xzibit, helps your unnamed character start his pimping career. Your job is to first gather money, then the items to pimp your client’s car, while trying to beat your competition who is also pimping your client’s car. To get money, you play a series of mini games or hit other cars. That’s it…really. The mini games aren’t engaging, engrossing, or even well thought out. They’re simple button combos, matching to the bumping beat of the abundant rap music supplied by Xzibit.
The game is split into two modes, getting money, and then pimping the car. Gathering money is done by “Ghost Riding” the car, letting it run while you walk beside it, and pressing the buttons on screen before time runs out. Or, by cruising by a crowd…then pressing the buttons. There are better mini games, of higher caliber out there (Grand Theft Auto, ect), but that’s all this game is: mini games. After gathering the cash, you take your client’s car out to get parts, but unlike the show, you’ve got competition. So you’re timed, and need to pick up all these parts that are spread (weakly) across the map. Frustrating, to say the least, were the pimping challenges. You get a limited amount of time (about 2 minuets or so), to go all around the car, while trying to make the car better than the other pimp-er. Xzibit drops hints here and there about what would make the car good for the client, but it doesn’t matter; the choices are basically made for you...you can’t really make a wrong decision.
The controls are terrible. I’m coming right out and saying it. The driving/steering is shotty, at best, often overshooting turns or having your car hit an impenetrable wall, and having to back out, costing precious time in the Pimping mode. You’d expect a game that’s main focus is driving to have good controls, right? Eh, apparently not with this game.
One would expect the 360 version of this game to have next-gen type graphics, or at the very least a graphical upgrade. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Pop in textures, poorly created car designs, and an abrasive amount of the exact same “Pimp” t-shirt in the crowd really distract from the mindlessly easy mini games. There’s an unnecessary amount of shine added to the game as well, with everything (chromed out or not) glaringly bright. All of the areas look similar, with reused graphics and map designs. The maps themselves are poorly designed, often having pointlessly inaccessible areas right in front of a pimping point, which sucks when you’re timed in the pimping mode. The navigation system is no different, often leading you into houses or hedges. The arrow doesn’t work very well with the streets; in one such instance I was pointed towards a shop to pick a part up, and couldn’t reach it without going all the way around the street to the other side of the park area, even though the arrow said it was right there. The mini map and PDA navigation system also were poorly designed. The locations for pimped item pickups are overly large, so you can’t even grab the concept of what building the part is in (even with the giant “Pimp” signs). There are markers on the PDA map that, for no reason, can’t be selected. You can select an event location, but not these, which is frustrating to say the least.
Host Xzibit follows from the show to the game, providing voiceovers for, you guessed it, himself. Sadly, that’s the only good thing to say about the voice acting. One would expect that a big name rapper like Xzibit would like to have good voice acting in a game that stars himself, or at the very least have the voices match up semi-decently to the characters’ mouths on screen, Apparently not, considering the sad state of the voice acting in this game. Along with the already shoddy graphics, the voices are plain terrible. The characters move their mouths more than a poorly dubbed Godzilla movie, with repetitive and annoying replays of the same sound over and over again. One pimpee was a squealing girl whose voice never changed; it was the same squeal repeated at least six times. One good thing to note is the soundtrack. Songs from Xzibit, as well as other rappers, are played through the car stereo. The soundtrack is rather robust, considering the other parts of the game that are weak. The music seems to have been the main focus for the game during development, considering it’s the best part of it.
Even with Xzibit’s blessing, this game is terrible. I wouldn’t even recommend this to someone trying to farm out achievement points. While the points are easy to get, they’re often redundant and annoying, making you wonder “didn’t I do this in the last area...” on more than one occasion. This could have been a decent game, if Activision had made up its mind what they wanted it to be, a customization game or a driving game, and focus on doing one of those right. Instead they muck up both. I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone; there are by far better games out there that pull these concepts off; even Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had better driving and customization in that game, and that wasn’t even its main focus.
The bottom line? Watch Pimp My Ride, don't play it. Terrible controls, voice acting, graphics, and all around gameplay do a disservice to fans of the show, leaving nothing but a "what the hell?" taste in your mouth after playing it.
Posted: 2007-05-12 14:49:13 PST