Scrapland Xbox Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Retro Content, Retro Reviews, Xbox

The premise powering the plot behind Scrapland is a strange and compelling one. It’s all about robots and a giant database that makes death almost impossible. The so-called “Great Database” has the capability of resurrecting dead robots as long as their data is all intact. Unsurprisingly, following the thievery of the Archbishops data it results in him staying forever dead, shocking the robotic population. Things couldn’t get any sillier if they tried.

You take control of D-Tritus, a voyaging robot (with a sickly cheerful voice) whose next destination is unsurprisingly that of Chimera (or Scrapland to the locals). He soon becomes a lowly photographer and is tasked with discovering the truth behind the Archbishops very painful demise. The cheesy plot and characters certainly aren’t there to be taken seriously, what other game has camp robotic bishops around every corner for example?

The game itself can easily be described as a robotic version of Grand Theft Auto on initial inspection, but it’s just as easy to be reminded of Jak II at the same time. You’ll find yourself flying ships around Chimera and stealing others from convenient parking areas, but comparisons with the aforementioned titles are then simply extinguished.

Aside from the travelling, ships can also be raced, used for combat and even built or modified. The building part is a fairly strong aspect of the game, allowing you to find ship and weapon blueprints and then take your new found knowledge to Rusty’s garage. You’ll soon learn to build ships that are required for widely different situations, taking into account everything from the onboard weaponry to the weight of the craft.

Missions involve flying ships and also taking control of D-Tritus on foot. The aforementioned sections have some nice ideas, but feel like nothing more then a device to move the plot along. Walking through large buildings with little to do is quite a big annoyance, but the beautiful style of the game does give less to grumble about in this aspect. You can also take the form of inhabiting robots, which each possess unique abilities, although this is an illegal activity and the police robots will be in hot pursuit if they know anything of your wrongdoing. It does provide more freedom to objectives, but the ships are definitely the meat of this futuristic show.

We’ve got to give Scrapland full marks for style, as Chimera is a gorgeous, stylish and imaginative world. This robotic metropolis is a well-realised environment to journey through and is definitely the games major perk. Graphically the game is extremely sharp and flying your ship through Chimera is a mightily impressive sight. The crisp and dreamy style collectively result in truly bringing it all to life.

A serviceable multi-player mode for up to four players is present. In split-screen it retains the fast and smooth action of the single player game. An array of gaming options, such as death matches and capture the flag assures that there is always plenty to do. Those expecting an online mode will be disappointed though, as Scrapland is all about the offline.

It’s just a shame that we found D-Tritus’s adventure becoming dull all too soon and not particularly excelling in any single play mechanic. Sure there’s beautiful potential to build up on in the future, but for now there’s plenty of other similar action titles that could upstage Scrapland in their sleep.

6/10

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