Review by FallenFear

"Could have been better."

I want to make it clear, I went into this game expecting nothing. I was not hoping for the next big thing in racing games, I was however expecting a good game.

Plot Overview:
You take on the role of Rena Hayami, an EMT who drives an ambulance. You are given a chance to become a Pro-Racer. You must prove yourself and become top of the game.

Graphics: The game looks great, if it was on the Playstation One. The backgrounds are poor, there looks to be no use of anti-aliasing at all and they feel very dead. The cars themselves are also poorly made but are slightly better than the backgrounds. It seems the game was going for a realistic look but fell short.

FMV movies are better, they look like something you would think you would see in a newer PS2 game.

There is also no depth to the graphics, I've found myself many times thinking I'm farther away from a turn than I really am. I've smacked a few walls because of the misjudge of distance.

There is no feeling of speed to the game, this is unforgivable in a racing game. You need to be able to judge your speed to set up for turns and hair pins, but you don't get this with this game.

Sound: The sound was O.K., but again, not great. The cars all seem to sound the same to me, a high annoying revving-like sound that should be on a Go-Kart, not a Charger. The wheel screech sounds are realistic, but aside from that, nothings stands out.
The music is better, very techno-ambient with a few songs standing out as good; for a racing game though, this just doesn't fit. The music is apart from the action, it doesn't get you pumped up for the race.

An up note to the sound, there is in-race talk, the Pit boss will talk to you, inform you of great use of breaking or good turns. Opponents will taunt and bad-mouth you as you pass them or pressure them. Something I've never seen before and something I liked very much.

Gameplay/Controls: The modes of play are as follows;
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Race Life: The story mode of the game. Here you will unfold the story of Rena and her life as a racer. Pretty basic, do missions to move the story along.

Event Challenge: Here you can race to win cars in differing types of races such as Time Trial, Tournament, Single Race, and so on. You can also buy and tune cars here.

Arcade: Basic Arcade style race, pick your car, the lap number, your opponents car class and so on. Race to better your skills or test out new settings.

Time Attack: It's what it says, a time attack, beat your best times.

VS Mode: Play against a friend.
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Something this game has, that I have never seen before in a racing game is called ''Brake Assist'' This basically brakes for you at the turns. For a game that is trying to be realistic, putting in something like this is just beyond my reasoning.

The cars handle like they are on a stick, like those plastic toys that have a small paper map that spins around and you turn the small plastic wheel to make the blue plastic car turn.

The AI in this game is a joke. At first it seems like they are pretty good, they take all the corners perfectly, and never mess up, they also always seem to get a jump off the starting line and pull away from you. That is, until you catch up to them. After passing the opponents, you'll find that you're finishing the race a good ten seconds ahead of them. They never seem to be able to catch you after you have passed them.
You can also draft the AI cars too, this however is unrealistic as it allows you to draft them from too far back.

There is no Reverse for the game, if you hit a wall, you're just going to hope you can turn and powerslide out of it.

The game allows you to customize the controls, but only as they see fit. For each action you can select a pre-made choice of what button to use. This doesn't set well with me as I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist, not allowing me to set up the controls to adjust for the CTS causes me pain. There is no forgiving the lack of customization of the controls.

Overall:

This game isn't for a hardcore racing game fan, you'll think it's a joke. However, if you are looking for a game that will maybe lead you into such games as Gran Turismo, this would be a nice start.

This game is a rental only, use the money you saved to buy some fussy dice for your rear view mirror.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 12/19/03


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