Vin Diesel … Dominic (voice)
Fast & Furious Crossroads Review
Few could have prophesied that 2001’s The Fast & the Furious — in which a police officer (played by Paul Walker) must infiltrate a gang of semi-truck hijacking street racers (led by Vin Diesel) — would morph from a by-the-numbers action franchise that had all but stalled out by its second sequel to a global phenomenon capable of producing billions of dollars at the box office.
You would also think such a franchise, one featuring muscle cars, street races, and the type of action typically reserved for a James Bond flick, would easily lead to a number of high-profile video games. Instead, fans have endured the likes of 2006’s The Fast and the Furious, 2013’s terrible Fast & Furious: Showdown and now the latest installment, Fast & Furious Crossroads — a game that sputters under poorly rendered graphics, shotty controls, and antiquated gameplay.
Too harsh? Ok, the storyline, in which a pair of racers named Vienna Cole and Cam Stone must team up with Dom and Letty to thwart a secret underground gang known as the Tadakhul Syndicate, is ridiculous enough to stand alongside even the most ludicrous Fast flick — at one point you must destroy a massive rocket! — which is a compliment, believe it or not, and fans will get a kick out of listening to Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson rattle off the series’ trademark silly dialogue and attempt to connect the plot fragments into something resembling coherency. Plus, any game featuring Peter Stormare as its villain at the very least a massive pat on the back. All of this is fine and would work much better if the gameplay followed suite.
Instead, we get a video game that looks like a lost relic from 2010 featuring frustrating gameplay that is neither fun nor exhilarating. In a world where The Last of Us Part II exists, what with its spectacular graphics and open-world style gameplay, how can the makers of Fast & Furious fail to match (at the very least) the latest Gran Turismo or even 2018’s Burnout Paradise Remastered — especially considering the $60 price tag?
Here’s the gist: gamers are thrust behind the wheel of any number of cars and must drive from one point of a map to another. In-between, chaos often ensues as the roads are so densely packed with construction equipment, buses, and, at one point, randomly placed boulders that it makes the already shotty handling even more difficult. Even more bizarrely, the map is built like a racing track. Meaning, rather than let the player choose the best route to get to said obstacle, a series of walls (some invisible, others decorated with arrows) forces them down a specified path, which seems like a direct contradiction to the ride free or die mentality of the Fast series.
Most missions culminate in some sort of wacky showdown — read: cars v trains, cars v tanks, cars v more tanks — during which players must switch between characters depending on need. Letty, for example, comes equipped with harpoons; and so, when harpoons are needed, players must switch to her character in order to complete the task. This device is actually rather simple to execute and does lend the game a bit of spark as do the various weapons at your disposal, including the ability to perform a side-swipe takedown, but the meandering driving to and from the set pieces often kills the energy just as it begins to spike.
Why not design a game more like Burnout Paradise in which players search an open map for races and the occasional action infused side mission? Or even something akin to Just Cause where players can choose to participate in over-the-top action on foot or engage in straight-up vehicular carnage? Or, Hell, just take Need for Speed and remix it as a Fast & Furious spin-off.
As is, Fast & Furious Crossroads lacks the punch required to make it anything more than a fleeting bit of entertainment. The ambition is there, but the results simply don’t match the level of quality found in recent game offerings and — even worse — contrast sharply against the high production values of the more recent Fast & Furious entries.