While there is a good bit of variety to the missions, the action itself can get repetitive in spots. Once you get a good, solid handle on when you should be jumping from car to car and when you should be blowing up bad guys from afar, it all becomes a bit routine. The boss fights and occasional variances in the mission structure do a good job to counteract that routine, and that's not to suggest that you won't want to go back and play any of these missions again, since you'll certainly want to earn higher grades and more unlockables. But there is a degree of sameness that starts to overtake the gameplay once you get into the far end of the career mode.
Yes, leaping onto people's moving cars and shooting them in the face is as much fun as it sounds, but it also does get a touch repetitive.
Unfortunately, there's not an awful lot to Pursuit Force's package beyond the career missions. The game includes a race mode and a time trial mode, but neither of these is anywhere near as engaging as the career missions. The race mode puts you in one of several gang vehicles, presents a basic scenario--such as you driving a delivery truck for the mob, and you have to get to the end before all the other delivery trucks, or you're behind the wheel of a car leaking poisonous gas, and you have to win the race for some reason or another--and lets you race across one of the game's various stage areas. There's a bunch of these races, but none of them are terribly exciting beyond a single play-through. The time trial mode is precisely what it sounds like, without any major wrinkles or unique components.
It's criminal that a game like this one includes no multiplayer support whatsoever. It could have been pretty awesome to race against friends, jumping to their cars and blasting away at them to gain positions. Even without multiplayer, there's enough content between the career missions, ancillary modes, and unlockables to present a solid value.
Where Pursuit Force really excels is in its presentation. Technically, Pursuit Force makes excellent use of the PSP's technology. Save for the rare bouts of frame rate slow down, the game moves at a very speedy clip, giving you a sense of speed and thrill as you jump from car to car. The animations are universally excellent. Everything is done with the kind of ridiculous bravado that you'd expect from an action thriller. Your cop doesn't just jump around--he jumps in slow motion while firing his weapon the whole way across, and when he wants into your car, he'll jump over and bust right through the driver's side window. It's all very fluid, smooth animation and all done with wonderful grandiosity. The character designs are very cartoonish but appropriately so. The wackiness of the gangs is completely in line with the game's sense of humor, and the aesthetics of the characters and their cars mesh well together. All told, this is definitely one of the best-looking PSP games out there.
Fortunately, there are boss fights and rail shooting missions to add some variety.
The audio is very well done. Pursuit Force features voice acting from all of its principal characters, so you don't just have to envision the angry police chief chewing you out and saying things like "Don't die! Or you're fired!" because you actually get to hear him say it. The voices for the characters are pretty hysterical, too. Citizens in trouble will shriek with a cowardly wobble in their voice, while saltier gang members sound totally over the edge with their hard-boiled attitude, and the mobsters sound like, well, ridiculous caricatures of mobsters. The soundtrack is really great, too. It sounds fully orchestrated, and it's exactly the kind of stuff you'd expect to hear ramping up the tension in a Richard Donner movie.
Pursuit Force isn't quite a slam dunk--the repetition of the gameplay is guaranteed to creep up on you at some point, and it could have benefited from more content. But the thing about Pursuit Force that ultimately makes it a great game is that its action is quite a bit of fun, and it's paced and built in such a way that it feels like it's meant to be a handheld game. You can play Pursuit Force in short bursts just as easily as you can play it for long stretches. In a time when people seem to be getting tired of console games being squeezed for dear life onto a Universal Media Disc, only to have them not quite feel like they belong on a handheld system, Pursuit Force feels like it belongs on this system. It's a fun game with a great sense of humor and superb production values, and if you own a PSP, it's definitely worth playing.