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Fast & Furious: Legacy delivers surprisingly solid cinematic street racing

Andrew Hayward | April 7, 2015
Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it's difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we'll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it's really worth your time (and money).

Much of the action unfolds through a story mode that bounces between Rio, Miami, Los Angeles, and Tokyo as you complete the various events. Challenge races ditch the narrative to provide extra ways to earn credits, plus special ranked events pop up from time to time. There's quite a bit here to play, although if you want to dig deep into the storyline, you'll need to get into the cycle of constantly upgrading your ride(s) to meet the rising challenge. Which is where freemium elements come into play, of course. 

The catch 

Make no mistake about it: While skill has some part in the proceedings, Fast & Furious: Legacy is very much a numbers game. Got a car that's rated higher than your opponent's, due to how much you've upgraded it (or how impressive it was in the first place)? You're likely to win, assuming you don't intentionally bash into traffic, miss your shifting cues, or leave your nitrous tank untapped. 

The game will even tell you how difficult the upcoming event seems based on your car rating, as if to nudge you into the shop to better prepare your ride. Like, "You don't really think you're going to win this one with that hunk of junk, do you?" Legacy doesn't have any competitive online play, but working your way through the story means facing new and better-equipped computer rivals in the various events. And that requires continuously pumping your earned gold, silver, and repair tokens into upgrades. 

Luckily, there are consistent opportunities to earn all of those currency types if you play slowly and steadily. You're given currency for advancing the story, completing challenge races, joining a crew, and logging in daily, and if you're patient enough to play little chunks here and there, you can probably play for a long time for free. 

Legacy does have some convoluted freemium elements, however, which are here only to stymie anyone eager to play large amounts without paying. The most obvious of them is the need to perform an oil change on your car after five events, which takes two or more hours of real time. You can own multiple cars, luckily, but if you're focusing your money on upgrades for one, chances are the others won't be as well equipped. Elsewhere, you'll need to shell out gold for extra mechanic slots to repair multiple rides at once, plus "parts" and "upgrades" are two different elements for some reason, which only leads to confusion and frustration. 

Eventually, I hit a wall a few chapters into the story mode, where I ran out of coins for upgrades but the drift events ahead were clearly designed for faster cars. I could loop back into the challenge events for a few days and build some capital there, or I could spend real money to buy more gold for upgrades.

 

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