There's some suped up cars, a girl's been kidnapped and it all leads to the slippery slope of illegal street racing. Sound familiar? Well, it should as it sounds like the script for the next Fast and the Furious movie. However, that's how Anarchy: Rush Hour starts out and it never looks back, quite literally. Players are thrust into the Russian street racing scene as they try to find answers about who's kidnapped their girl, but in order to do so they end up doing some extremely crazy things - anarchy is a very apt word to use.
Despite setting the scene with an extremely weird introduction that's comprised of low-res CG, comic-strip panels and some really odd sounding voice acting, the game never really gives the story much focus. Sure, players can read short messages from the various street racing groups around Moscow, and the player's buddy, ChaCha, but most of the time they're really boring and pointless. It does help to give the game some meaning, although there isn't really much that can be done to explain just how crazy this game really is.
It's supposed to be about street racing, and players will really get that feeling after playing the game for a short while. They'll have to take part in circuit races or point-to-point races around Moscow, all while avoiding traffic and trying to beat AI opponents. However, after a while the game starts to take a slightly different turn. Players will be involved in Anarchy races, where they have to cause as much vehicular damage as possible, stunt races, where they have to do barrel rolls, drifts and end over end flips and demolition derbies. And that doesn't even begin to talk about the modifications players can start making to their cars.
Ok sure, street racing cars require nitro to enhance their acceleration, but there probably haven't been many street racers who attach rocket boosters too their commercially available cars. It's very possible to reach speeds of 999 km/h on street roads and when this is the case, it's clear the game has a bit of an identity crisis. When players are suddenly shipped out to Dubai to take part in a track race at said speeds, it's then confirmed.
The scary thing is, that even though the game makes very little sense, it's really quite fun. Players will quickly learn that there isn't really much point attempting to turn corners and driving normally, because the handling of the cars isn't actually that great. Instead, they should just boost like crazy, plough through as many cars as possible, smash into the wall next to said corner and then reset themselves onto the track and use the real-time repair upgrade to make sure their car is spick and span.There are also other upgrades available, like a shockwave that sends nearby cars flying, a shunt move which gives the car a short, sharp boost forwards, extremely powerful front brakes and the ability to alter a car's orientation while in mid-air. Each can be upgraded to a fifth tier, although it can get quite expensive to do so, but the differences are very apparent. This is where the game's replay value starts though, as there are literally dozens of cars for players to purchase. All of these cars are then very customisable - with players able to change their colour, window tint, vinyls and there's even the ability to add accessories, like a huge spider or deer horns. What's strange, is that despite all these modifications coming in the "tuning" section, the only tuning that can actually be done is altering the type of wheels the car uses.
There are also a ton of races for players to go through, as they attempt to unlock the mystery behind their girlfriend's disappearance. There are plenty of side-races which can be done to store up cash, and these appear alongside challenges from the street racing gangs, and ChaCha's personal errands. It makes the game way longer than the standard PSN title and when online multiplayer is thrown into the package, it really has some legs.
Unfortunately, there are a few issues regarding the game's presentation. The graphics are HD, but they aren't really that spectacular and the same can be said for the game's soundtrack. It really feels like a game that came out maybe 5-6 years ago, that's managed to be upgraded to HD somehow. There are also quite a few glitches that appear - the squealing of the tires when there's no real reason, and random boost effects appearing where there are no cars around. Despite this, the game does shine in other areas. It features a full day/night cycle, and some really awesome looking weather effects - it's a real mixed bag.
Anarchy is a word that perfectly sums up Anarchy: Rush Hour as the game is an amalgamation of so many different things. It's trying to be a realistic street racing game, but then it's also trying to be an over-the-top street racing game which sees players reach speeds of 999 km/h and take part in destruction derbies. However, despite all this, it's actually oddly fun and given how much longevity the title has, it should be worth checking out for people who want to explore a slightly different side of racing.