3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I'm playing this using a Logitech Driving Force GT steering wheel.
This is a rather small racing game, with fewer tracks and cars than most other games, but considering the rock-bottom price it's going for these days, I thought it would be a good deal. And overall I guess it was. You've got 4 different modes of play, the primary one is probably the "Challenge" mode. This has three sets of races: European, Italian, and North American. Each location has 7 races, and you have to use the exact same car for all the races. You also have to do the races in order, 1, 2, 3 etc. You can't skip ahead or go back. You can set the length of each race for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or longer. You cannot restart any race, you can only exit the race, resulting in a last place finish, and then go on to the next race. Winning races in this mode unlocks tracks for use in the other parts of the game, as well as unlocking cars which you can then purchase - but still not use in this part of the game, only the other modes.
The other modes are Time Trial, where you drive around a track with no other cars on it, simply trying to set a good time. Then there's Trophy mode, where you can race the cars you've purchased. There are three races for each car, and I believe they last 10 minutes each. You have to race on the 3 tracks available for that car, you can't choose. Then there's Arcade mode, where you have 4 races each in beginner, intermediate, expert and legend difficulty. Once again, you can't choose the tracks, you can't skip ahead or go back, you just have to do them in order.
The handling physics are very realistic in my opinion, of course I don't drive a lot of Ferrari's in real life. And after playing this game, I wouldn't want to. These cars have gigantic amounts of both oversteer and understeer. Go into a corner at what seems like a very slow speed and the car will plow straight ahead. And plow, and plow. Once you finally get the front tires to hook up, stepping on the gas will send the rear end spinning around in front of you, so you have to use extremely mild and progressive throttle application. And forget about stepping on the brakes if you're going around a corner, as you'll spin out instantly. Eventually you settle into a routine of entering corners at an agonizingly slow speed (the speedometer says you're doping 40 mph but it sure looks more like 10 mph), then oh-so-gently get back on the throttle at the apex. Of course you can turn on the driving aids like ABS brakes, traction control (keeps the tires from spinning under acceleration) and stability control, but that tends to limit how far you can push the car and makes it impossible to keep up with the AI cars. You cannot upgrade any cars with performance parts, and you can only tune the one car that you use in the Challenge mode.
And those AI cars. Oh...My...God. These things are imbecilic. They are literally programmed to behave in exactly the opposite manner of real-life race drivers. They move to the inside edge of a corner as you approach, blocking your passing attempt. You can try to pass on the outside, but they'll just swing back to the outside as they exit the corner, drive straight into you, and then continue driving straight into you until you've dragged them halfway down the next straightaway. It's absolutely maddening. And they're always swerving all over the place. As soon as you get used to trying to pass them on the outside (which is usually impractical), they'll decide to swerve over there and block you. Coming up to a corner with two AI cars in front of you is always good for a laugh - the first one will take the corner normally, but the second one will move to the inside to block you, resulting in them running into each other just about every time. The only reasonable solution is to play the game like a demolition derby, cutting inside corners and slamming into the side of the car ahead of you, which will almost always result in an easy pass.
Between the abysmal AI and the rather small number of tracks, together with the extremely restrictive nature of the career mode, this game gets old pretty quick. The good physics are fun, and as long as you're not battling the AI it's enjoyable to drive around the tracks. The graphics are actually quite good considering the age of the game. But if you're planning on playing this for more than a handful of evenings, you'll find yourself pretty bored and after too much time battling the AI, you'll be swearing at your TV screen like there's no tomorrow.