Kinetica is an interesting concept for a racing game that deserves a look if
you've never had a chance to play the game. Kinetica starts out as a futuristic
racer, which we generally know how the premise will turn out. Fast vehicles
try to fight for first place while using weapons at their disposal. When you think
of futuristic racing games, WipeOut, Extreme G and F-Zero come to mind. While the
later never really relied on weapons, all three do share a similar bond. Kinetica,
in a way, is no different. You've got a futuristic backdrop and some weapons at your
disposal, but instead of using a vehicle, you use your body outfitted with a special
kind of suit that has wheels at the arms and legs.
The supposed story behind this game is that the racing done in this game was
once illegal and underground. Then, an "E-Fire" occured (no idea what the hell that is)
and changed the landscape of the economy. Remaining was the illegal races, so when
a city named "Kinetica" was born, this kind of racing was a new sport, and was raced
The gameplay is rather simple. You race for first place. You can't really knock
others out of the race entirely, but you can slow them down with weapons. To help
you reach your goal, you can use the boost strips laid out on the stage or
absorb them for later use. You can aslo acquire more boost by pulling off stunts
that can be done in mid-air or on the course. There is some strategy involved on
when to use the boost and when to conserve it, and that part of the technique
can help you win races. That is, if you can keep yourself from falling off course
(on some stages, anyway). There is a bit of a learning curve to adjust yourself
to, since there really hasn't been racing designed such as this before. But really,
a couple of races, and I think you'll get the jist of it.
To describe the game's visuals, I'm going to borrow a term I heard of somewhere.
The visuals in Kinetica can best be described as "eye-crack". Although the frame
rate is not as fluid as it should be, the design of the game is pretty overwhelming.
Lot's of color and a lot of architecture fill the screen of this game. Dare I say
that it outshines the art style of Rush 2049? The game looks really nice. However,
as good as this looks, it will end up being outshined by the upcoming F-Zero GX,
which will run at a constant 60 fps. But for a PS2 game, this is pretty good.
The music, while seemingly like standard issue techno, is pretty good as well.
I believe the music is licensed and not just done by SCEA. Some tracks are pretty
much something you would likely hear in WipeOut, but then there are a couple of
"Fifth Element"-like tracks that stand out. The sound effects are pretty much
standard, it's nothing mind-blowing, but it get's the job done.
The only real thing that holds this game back is more replay value. There are
single races for a couple of quick trips back, but the championship races can be
completed quickly (although the third season is pretty tough). If somehow the created
an option to take advantage of the game's stunts, like Rush 2049 did, then I think
this game would have quite a bit of replayabillity. As it is, it would make an
excellent rental, and it wouldn't hurt to pick it up for less than $20. It's a
nice addition to the PS2 library that has a little something to differentiate itself
from other games in the genre.