It’s time to look at a driving game that I’ve had on the backlog for a long time. I’ve tried playing through it several times in the past but I could never get past the first level. I’m not really sure why since when I played it this time I didn’t find the level to be challenging. Ah well, I’m guessing I just didn’t understand the objective of the game. It’s a pretty decent title, but one with no real replay value and the lack of content holds it back a star.
There is a basic plot in the game. There is a big motorcycle contest coming up and the 4 main characters each want to build a bike to win the contest. Naturally none of them get along which leads to a lot of bickering among them. This contest is the way to prove who has the best plan and strategy towards winning. Will it really be that simple though? There are little cutscenes before most of the levels which is pretty fun. I like the voice acting here as all of the characters are a bit over the top with their monotone voice, but it’s really what stitches everything together quite nicely.
One thing that will take you out of the plot a bit is the fact that the final contest is apparently a team one. So this means that everyone gets to win and team up together. That kind of defeats the purpose right? At least to me it felt that way. I guess it gives us the happy ending this way though as now they all get along and look forward to the next season. I do admit that I probably wouldn’t watch this kind of show, but maybe I would pick up a sequel game if the price was right.
So for the gameplay it’s your classic driving title. You’re on a motorcycle and you either have to win a race, collect objects, or make it to a specific destination in time. You don’t have to worry about falling off the bike unlike most other game of this genre so that is appreciated. It lets you focus a little more on the actual driving and just having fun. That’s always the preferred option if you ask me. The driving is very simplistic so you should have it mastered pretty easily. The levels are never all that difficult and the only times you will have trouble is when the directions are vague.
One point against the game is the fact that you can never look at a full map. This will result in you taking the wrong path sometimes in the level and then you’ll lose. One annoying thing about how the levels are set up is that if you lose a mission in the level you have to start the whole thing from scratch. Some levels are fairly short so it’s not really an issue but others can be up to 10 minutes. You never want to have to restart such a large portion. It would have been a lot more annoying if I had actually been losing. Since I only lost a few times it wasn’t too bad, but it’s one of those design choices that I can’t say I’m a big fan of.
The graphics are definitely pretty good. It’s got that classic Gamecube feel to it which has always aged well. The character designs are on point and I like how the bikes look. Once in a while you’ll get a character model that doesn’t load in time so you have to count on your reaction times to dodge. That’s to be expected I suppose. The soundtrack is definitely not great though and the songs aren’t even properly set up to last for the whole level. As a result you’ll come across parts of a level that are completely silent which is always a bit iffy. Music should always last for as long as it needs to.
There are 24 levels in the game as each of the 4 characters gets 6. After that you will end up playing the “Final” level where you have to play as all 4 characters in the game. I’m thinking this story will take you around 2-3 hours tops so that’s not very long. After that there really isn’t anything to do. Sure, you can go back to replay the old levels again and have fun doing that, but is it really what you want to do? It’s not like you’ll be unlocking any more stages or any of that so there isn’t much point. That’s what hurts the game, there is 0 replay value so the question is simply whether you even want to buy this one when you can get Need For Speed.
Again, I do have to stress that the gameplay is pretty good. The racing controls are on point and even if the game may seem a little too easy, I do think some good work was put into the controls. The story is pretty entertaining and you’ll like all of the characters pretty well before long. It’s a quite solid game, but I just wish there was a little more to it. Throw in a map and more specific instructions and then you’d have really had a winner here.
Overall, American Chopper is definitely a pretty wholesome experience. It’s better than some of the other motorcycle games that I’ve played and I am glad that it does actually have a story. Some of the missions are so outlandish that it makes them work even more than you’d expect. You never really know what the main characters are going to do next and maybe that is how it should be. They keep you guessing all the way through even if you ultimately might end up rooting for someone else instead. Can’t root for the heroes every time right? With this game done I don’t think I’ll be playing another racing game for a bit. Then it’s probably time to delve back into the world of Need For Speed!