What you have come to expect from the Road Rash series is exactly what you will get with their latest installment, Jailbreak. The racing has not changed. The graphics have not improved. The control is still the same. What has changed is all of the options. By slimming down the designs in the game (there are only two gangs now) the creators have made more room for more play modes. There are no Big Game and Thrash modes anymore. Just your basic racing and a bunch of little divergences.
Road Rash Jailbreak has come under much criticism for the lack of one solid game. It is true that the one-player be-first-on-every-track mode is a little less exciting than on previous games. The track design is recycled (race through the city, race through the woods) and the characters are very one-dimensional. What has improved is what makes Road Rash different from all of the other racing games out there, fighting. There is a good amount of fighting now and the game keeps track of hits given and taken and rewards you accordingly. Plus some of those pesky other racers will not stay behind your racers when you pass them and you have to completely knock them off of their bikes to win.
What has changed are all of the different modes that round out the game and fill in the holes that previous motorcycle racing games have left empty. There is the now-obligatory cops and robbers mode where it is up to you as Sargent whatzhisname to go into an angry mob of bikers and beat their leader until he falls off of his bike. This can be played against a person or the computer. There is also a co-op mode. This is the most original part of the game and probably its main selling point. In this mode one person steers the bike and the other sits on the sidecar and takes pop shots at oncoming chumps. Be careful that you do not get too excited and level your own partner though.
There seems to be a good deal of new stuff in this game, but the actual gameplay becomes very reminiscent very quickly. Even with all of the new options and characteristics that the game possesses it does not really go beyond the type of racing found in the typical Road Rash game. Race and fight is pretty much the basis of the game. And like always it takes a lot of skill to beat one person down while staying on the road. Another problem is the characteristics of the actual racers. I must say that the racers in this game have a lot less personality than in previous Road Rash games. Hells Angel or Sport Racer? Those are your only options.
There are a couple of other minor changes like having to guide the racer back to his or her bike after falling off. There is also the option to choose a racer that starts with a weapon. But even with all of these new options the game is still the same old Road Rash, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you are a fan of the series. At least there is enough difference to make the game worth getting. They could have just gone the route of making the same game with different tracks but instead they made a similar game with an abundance of new play modes. There is already a solid Road Rash game for the PSX so it is only fitting that Jailbreak should be more focused on new options. If you want straight racing and fighting then Road Rash 3D is your game. However, if that has gotten old and you want some new choices and excitement then definitely check out Jailbreak. It is not the prettiest game but then again motorcycles racing isn't pretty.
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