Review – Fast & Furious Crossroads
Even though 2020 is easily one of the worst years in recent memory, there is one thing that is undeniable. So far, this has been an amazing year for games, with titles like Ghost of Tsushima, Half-Life: Alyx, and Doom Eternal. I was starting to forget what it felt like to play a truly bad game, since the amount of fantastic titles being released over the last few months was so vast. Then Fast & Furious Crossroads got released…
Fast & Furious Crossroads was initially unveiled at the 2019 Video Game Awards in the most awkward of ways. It was the final announcement of the evening, the “big surprise” before the end of the show. They even invited Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez onstage to prove how confident they were on the success of the reveal… then the trailer dropped.
Everybody I know uttered a collective and unison “what the hell?”, but I felt something different. I felt like I was finally seeing the resurgence of the crap movie tie-in game, my favorite kind of guilty pleasure. I’m attracted to these games like a moth to a flame. Now that the game is finally out, I can finally say, with a huge smile on my face, that Fast & Furious Crossroads is exactly what I expected and wanted it to be: utterly terrible.
Where to even begin? Well, Fast & Furious Crossroads isn’t based on a particular movie of the franchise. Instead it’s its own thing, a canonical spinoff of sorts. It features some of the franchise’s main actors reprising their roles, such as Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and of course, good ol’ Vinnie voicing everybody’s favorite family man, Dominic Toretto. There are brand new characters created specifically for the game in here as well, introduced in your typical spinoff fashion: “oh, (insert famous character) is an old friend of mine back in the (insert old movie reference) days”. Love it.
All things considered, the voice acting isn’t all that bad. Sure, some of the foreign characters sound absolutely ridiculous, with a bunch of Spanish/Catalan characters being voiced by people who are clearly not Spanish. Maybe that was a nod to Fast Five, the movie supposedly set in Brazil, but filmed in Puerto Rico and featuring Portuguese actors instead of locals. Who knows?
But all in all, Vin Diesel still delivers. The rookies also don’t do a bad job. Michelle Rodriguez, on the other hand, is clearly here because her contract said so. She doesn’t sound terribly ecstatic to be there. Maybe she knew this game wasn’t going to be a shining spot in her filmography.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the positives end. Buckle up kiddos, we’re in for one hell of a ride.
First of all, let’s talk about the story. Yes, I’m going to criticise the plot on a Fast & Furious product, not because it’s over-the-top, but because it is not over-the-top enough. This revenge story involving a secret gang that evolved from crossroad thugs from the Silk Road days. Unfortunately, isn’t as exciting as it should be.
We’re talking about a franchise featuring a scene where someone drives a car from one skyscraper to the other through the air. Fast & Furious Crossroads features one of the dumbest and least exciting plots in the franchise’s story, even less exciting than Tokyo Drift. Even its set pieces fail to deliver due to its incredibly poor visuals and sound effects.
This game looks dated from the second you start a new save file. Environments look bland and devoid of life. The lighting effects are so harsh that you will most likely squint whenever you drive towards the sun. The framerate is your typical unreliable mess, sometimes achieving 30fps, but never managing to provide an acceptable frame pacing. Add in the excessive motion blur effects and one of the most nonsensical (and non-customizable) cameras in recent memory, and you get a game that doesn’t look much better than your average budget Xbox 360 title. Not to mention that, with the exception of Vin Diesel, character models just look plain weird.
And then there’s the gameplay, the créme de la créme in Fast & Furious Crossroads. The game can basically be summarised as a linear, story-driven Burnout… on ice… where every single driver (yourself included) is drunk. The driving mechanics are so bad, so slippery, and so devoid of finesse, that they constantly reminded me of the driving mechanics featured in that old Pimp My Ride cash grab released for the Xbox 360.
In fact, the controls are actually less responsive than the driving controls featured in the PS4 version of Duck Dynasty. That’s right, a 2014 cash grab centered around hicks shooting ducks while talking about their past experiences in Vietnam features better driving controls than an actual Fast & Furious game developed by the same people behind Project CARS. Go figure.
There is combat in here and it’s plain ridiculous. It’s a beautiful and chaotic ballet on ice, if all the ballerinas were a bunch of angry Canadian ice hockey players who just got wasted on bourbon. The combination of an inconsistent framerate, erratic camera, and messy melee-based car combat can often result in you not even being able to understand what’s happening onscreen.
There are also some set pieces, such as jumping from a collapsing building, but the visuals are so poor that the game never manages to deliver in the action department. I used to make fun of Need for Speed: Payback‘s set pieces, calling them poor Fast & Furious knockoffs. Now I feel like I should apologize to its developers after playing the hodgepodge of stupidity that is Crossroads.
To top things off, Fast & Furious Crossroads actually has some multiplayer modes. The main one being a 3v3v3 action movie extravaganza, in which a team of villains and a team of heroes need to compete in order to capture a macguffin before the others, with another team acting as cops that need to stop them. You can already imagine that the netcode and performance in these online games are “less than ideal”. Not to mention the fact that it took me almost six minutes to find one game with enough people. This thing is more deserted than the Atacama Desert. By the way, this game actually has the audacity to sell you an overpriced season pass…
Do you remember those old “Russian driving fail compilations” on Youtube? Remember how we used to laugh at people being completely incompetent at driving in a straight line? Well, Fast & Furious Crossroads is the video game equivalent of that. It’s a masterpiece of incompetence, a game so devoid of redeeming qualities to the point that its ineptitude ends up being its greatest selling point. You can have a blast with this game, not by actually having fun with its mechanics or set pieces, but by laughing at how bad it is.
A beautiful mixture of blinding lighting effects, repetitive environments, terrible post-processing effects, and character models that reminded me of the beautiful days of the Xbox 360. But hey, at least the car models look decent.
The driving physics are so janky you will have a hard time being able to drive in a straight line. You will also have a hard time doing corners. You will basically have a hard time doing anything.
Some of the voice acting in here isn’t bad. Vin Diesel doesn’t always show up, but he tries sometimes. Michelle Rodriguez phones it in. The other voice actors either deliver very good performances or laughably terrible ones. There’s no middle ground. The soundtrack is mediocre yet functional.
You can actually have a lot of fun with Fast & Furious Crossroads… by laughing at it…
Final Verdict: 3.5
Fast & Furious Crossroads is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Reviewed on Xbox One.