Review by FZadeh

"A brilliant racing sim with lots of value, but it doesn't try too hard to improve over the original"

GRAPHICS

It's obvious that this game wasn't done in a high resolution, the graphics look incredibly grainy and rough, and when compared to games like Wip3Out and Ridge Racer 4, the graphic don't do a good job competing. That doesn't mean they are bad, they are actually pretty good, just a little disappointing when compared to other racing games. Nothing has been done to improve the graphics over the original, the only addition is probably the cars that have been given a bit more shine, for better or for worse. Considering the fact that the PlayStation is over five years of age, the significant similarities between this and the original are not surprising, just a bit of a let down. What I can say is that the game does run smoothly, with little slow down, scenery pop-up is evident, but it's much better than a game like F1 99 for example. Two-player mode does suffer from a bit of slow down, but it certainly is bearable. Overall, this may not be the best looking game on PlayStation, but the graphics and presentation are very complete and polished. (7/10)

SOUND

The game really excels in the sound department. Never have I heard the sounds of car engines sound so satisfyingly real, from the acceleration to the screeches and the brakes, the sound revving out of the cars are very much like the real thing. A good job. The game also boasts an impressive soundtrack featuring famous rock bands including: The Cardigans, Garbage, Beck and Foo Fighters. While the tracks may not appeal to everyone (hip hop fans), they do a good job setting the mood and the pace of the game. The only disappointment is that the tracks are far too limited and can become tiring to listen after hours of play. (8/10)

GAMEPLAY

The gameplay is the hardest topic to write about and really depends on what type of games player you are. What I can say is that no other racing game even come CLOSE to matching the incredible amount of depth that this game has. The game could honestly be an encyclopaedia about cars if it didn't feature the game modes. The information provided about the cars is outstanding. And the cars featured are from all the big names including: Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ford, Dodge, Honda, Mazda, Lotus, Aston Martin, Alfa Romero and countless others. The only disappointment is that famous sports cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche are not in the game, however there is an alternative version of Porsche called the "RUF". But what about true gameplay? Well the game handles and plays very realistically, there are no crazy crashes and power slides, it's all very life like. This is good and bad. It's good that it's so lifelike and so similar to the real thing, but it's bad that it doesn't give the same level of enjoyment and adrenalin rush that Arcade racers do. As an Arcade game alone, this game falls short, as you'll find games like V-Rally 2 and Colin McRae a lot more playable. There is a rally mode to enhance playability, but it hardly feels the same as the opposing rally games. And as an Arcade game alone, it wouldn't be as successful as it has become. It's the simulation mode where the game really shines, with so much depth and so many hours of gameplay involved, this is what saves the game from being a mediocre racer to an essential one. And this is the mode where the realism actually helps the game. Simulation mode will no doubt keep you hooked for endless hours. (9/10)

REPLAY VALUE

No game has ever had the insane amount of replay value that this game does. You will be coming back to this game over and over again. Why? Simulation mode! To finish simulation made you will be playing for over 100 hours. That's almost three times longer than it take a fast gamer to complete Final Fantasy VIII! And if you want to get all the cars, you'll be playing for months, but I doubt anyone has the kind of patience to collect all 500+ cars and to compete in all the tournaments available. But you never know. Expect sleepless nights in this department, the size of the game is ridiculously huge, so patience is a MUST! But when you do complete the game, the feeling is ultimately rewarding. (10/10)

OVERALL

One of the best racers to grace a console, and arguably the best racer ever, although some may disagree. It's just a shame that it doesn't feel like a true sequel and more like an upgrade. Nevertheless an essential buy.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/00, Updated 01/02/00


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