I think we all have that one game which we love regardless of its faults. If I’m brutally honest the game I am going to be discussing today is not mechanically strong at all. Japanese indie dev E-Game’s Road Trip Adventure was an RPG like no other at the time. Even by today’s standards it stands out as being a truly unique experience.
Road Trip Adventure is an open world RPG released in 2002 with one interesting twist. You play as a car. The world, based off of popular Japanese toy car brand Choro Q, inhabits hundreds of cars, all of which are unique characters with their own personalities. You can interact with these cars by crashing into them and they offer an array of both main and side quests for you to enjoy.
When broken down, Road Trip Adventure may sound like any RPG with an arbitrary quirk but you’d be surprised how impressive it can be in areas. The unique cartoon-like art style, likely created due to the lack of funds available, allows it to stand out from the usual realistic looking aesthetic games often use.
A particularly impressive element is just how diverse the array of cities available are. From the traditional Japanese city of Fuji to the floating rainbow land of Cloud Hill, the game offers a fun set of locations for the player to explore. They might not be huge environments like we’re used to now with the likes of Test Drive Unlimited and The Crew (both of which use a lot of elements present in Road Trip) but they feel far more creative. There’s nothing wrong with using real life locations but I feel that fictional worlds allow for more creativity to be shown off.
Road Trip’s biggest weakness by far is its dreadful physics engine. The cars themselves drive okay but when it comes to jumps and drops, the engine has the tendency to freak out and send you flying miles into the air. When you’re gliding through the final corner on your way to victory and then you find yourself gliding through the sky seconds later it can get annoying. Let’s not forget the AI (which you have to team up with in order to progress in late segments of the story) being hilariously poor. It’s even possible for them to DNF in a race by leaving the track due to the game’s aforementioned physics issues. RTA’s gameplay, in the later stages, turns from quirky fun to a grindy bore as you’ll find yourself exploiting the game in order to grant your teammates better parts just to win races.
Despite all these faults I still admire how E-Game was willing to take the risk of offering such an unusual experience. Clearly, it has an array of faults but the game still manages to resonate with me unlike many other titles. I’d say it’s aged well enough to give it a go (especially for arcade racing fans) as long as you are comfortable with the flaws I’ve discussed. Road Trip Adventure is a fun little innovative title which is well worth your time.
PS2, PS3 (PS2 Classics on store)
Buy it used from Amazon:Road Trip Adventure