ChoroQ Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
PlayStation 2
Release date:
November 1, 2004
Publisher:
Takara
Developer:
Atlus USA
Players:
1 - 2
Genre:
Racing
ESRB:
RP

ChoroQ

It's like Micro Machines in an quirky, RPG world; well, not quite. . .

Review by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
October 27th 2004

To earn the best parts and to open up harder competitions, you'll have to work your way through story mode, set against the backdrop of three car-occupied towns. You assume the role of a new racer on the ChoroQ circuit, shooting for the top spot in the grand prix, in a tale that's clearly been written to be kid friendly. This mainly consists of receiving letters that lead to various mini-games, which will earn you prizes, and then lead to more letters. Oddly, the game doesn't mark the tasks you've completed, making it hard to tell if you've accomplished a given goal when your pile of correspondence grows. The mini-games themselves are a mix of odd tasks other cars will ask of you. Everything from taking on the role of a trucker making that long haul over a winding highway to playing chicken against another racer on a narrow peer. Some of these are great fun and really increase the variety of the game, while others are downright tedious, like rotating analogue sticks to simulate a tune-up.

Exploration? You can forget it, unless you have an intense fondness for loading screens and conversations consisting of two lines, which like all dialogue are written out a character at a time. You'll see the loading screen more than enough in story mode anyway, since one is required before and after entering a location, as well as before and after any mini-game or race. It's odd that a game like Vice City can get by with so little loading, while these tiny little hamlets need to be loaded at every instance. Driving around just to trigger these events can sometimes be a chore in itself, though not at tedious as navigating poorly designed menus, which you'll have to deal with when doing everything from buying new parts to setting up a race. All of this is set against music that feels two console generations out of date, and nowhere near the best example from that era.

ChoroQ overcomes some of its shortfalls in multiplayer friendliness. Besides the standard race against your rival, there are a host of mini-games, which tend to be more enjoyable than their single player versions. Though someone needs to learn that slot cars, even virtual ones, aren't really able to skid all over the track like that. Three save files can happily exist on a single memory card, and players can trade parts and even their monetary winnings with others, allowing parents to give their struggling young ricers a boost, or vice versa.

While there are a number of hiccups in ChoroQ, mainly due to the awkward menus and even more cumbersome story mode, there's a solid racer to be found here, and one that really shows its value when not played alone. It's also a game that both parents and kids can both enjoy together without either group feeling too bored or too frustrated. That's a rare thing, especially at a budget price.

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