How do you break a bad game? Ask the developers of Pimp My Ride for the PSP, as they have achieved this dubiously wondrous feat. Based on the hit MTV car-customization show starring the self-proclaimed Mr. Black Bruce Willis himself, Xzibit, Pimp My Ride was originally released late last year on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2. Mixing a lousy driving game with completely pointless minigames that barely tied everything together into something that vaguely resembled the concept of the show, it was a poor piece of work. Now the game has come to the PSP, and it is with no amount of exaggeration that we state that Pimp My Ride is, hands down, the worst console-to-PSP port to date. Think of every single issue that's ever plagued a console game translated to the PSP, combine them all with a game that was already no fun to begin with, and you'll have a pretty good idea of where this game stands. Toss in the fact that Activision is charging $40 for this busted piece of junk, and Pimp My Ride goes from merely awful to outrageously abysmal in a split second.
This is actually a video clip. The frame rate is just so atrocious that it makes it look like a screenshot.
Pimp My Ride takes place in the glorious metropolis known as Pimp City. The residents of Pimp City like to drive pimped-out rides. So, what's an up-and-coming car-customization nerd like you to do when tasked with making the unpimped rides of the town's more hapless citizens into full-on works of pimp-flavored art? Why, drive around doing lame ghost riding and cruising minigames to earn cash so you can drive around in the customer's clunker to get new parts and make it into a gaudy monstrosity, of course. And then you do this exact same sequence of events over and over and over again until the game concludes, or you simply can't stomach the lame gameplay any longer.
Odds are, the wrecked frame rate and abysmal driving controls will cause you to give up long before you get anywhere near the end of this thing. Pimp My Ride has the worst frame rate of any game in the PSP library. It stays somewhere in the teens at its best moments and drops into single-digit territory every chance it gets. It's so bad that at times the game actually becomes nauseating, even if you're not the type to get that sensation from games. As if that weren't enough to ruin the driving aspects of the game, the steering controls make matters significantly worse. They were already loose enough on consoles, but the PSP version is 10 times as squirrelly. There's nothing even remotely resembling actual physics here. When you wreck into an object, your car will start doing the electric slide for several feet before spinning around for no reason whatsoever, or it will just dead stop with no reaction or movement. And that's with the same object. Simply trying to steer around turns is equally unpredictable. Sometimes you'll start sliding around like crazy, and sometimes your tires will play like they're glued to the street. There's no rhyme or reason to any of it. Making Pimp My Ride any form of a driving game seems like a bad idea to begin with, and when you consider how bad the driving mechanics are, that decision seems even more ill-advised. And if for some reason these problems aren't enough to completely sink the game for you, how about having the game crash on you on a semi-regular basis while loading or autosaving, thus corrupting and killing your save file? That ought to do it.
Even apart from this port's specific and mind-blowing flaws, nothing about the game's progression makes any sense, nor is it any fun. When you're driving around trying to earn money, you're limited to a specific section of Pimp City but can take part in specific events around the map for which there are a few icons. When you go to a ghost-riding event, you take part in an idiot-simple rhythm minigame that isn't all that rhythmic. You just press a displayed sequence of buttons as quickly as you can for each stage of the game, and all the while, your dude dances alongside the car like all those horribly awesome Internet videos you and your buddies used to think were hilarious but stopped caring about back when it was still 2006. There's also a hot steppin' event, but in actuality, that's just a new name for yet another ghost-riding event. You have to press buttons with a different sense of timing--but that's it. The worst part about the ghost-riding games is that they never change. The game slowly and surely tries to ramp up the difficulty, but it does it so slowly that you'll barely even notice. The game can't even be bothered to change the hip-hop beat that plays behind you--it's the same beat every time.
The other minigame, cruising, is almost not worth mentioning, except that it's so hysterically stupid. You drive up to a group of gawking hip-hop kids, holding down a button to put your car into 10mph cruise mode. As you drive by, you press a quick series of buttons to send the kids into some kind of spastic frenzy and earn yourself some cash. That's it. It's even less fun in practice than it sounds on paper.