Review by Namakol

Reviewed: 04/04/04

R racing or Poor Racing?

When you first put the disc into the drive it's immediately apparent that this game has the essence of a good racing game. The intro movie alone is testimony to this, very polished CG trailer that is typical of a company like Namco. But what is the actual game like? Well it's different. I come from a background of Ridge Racer and believe me the game does deserve the title ''Evolution'' cause that's what the game has done. It's evolved and adapted to modern 21st century gamer's demand. Flash real cars, speed and real life tracks.

Now as we all know real cars and tracks has been done for some time now the most famous game being of course Gran Turismo, so what does R racing have to offer to stand out from the crowd? R racing offers a storyline to the races, pit crew that talk to you, both circuit and rally courses and a system of pressuring computer drivers into an error. Sounds good? Well let's find out.

The presentation is very good and although the graphics are exactly ground breaking it's clear enough so you can make what's going on. I didn't manage to slow the game down so that's another good thing. The CG movies are extremely well directed and add extra excitement to the game, something that today's racing games lack. Detail to the car models is fine and the tracks are close to their real-life counter-parts.

All good racing games have the buzz of powerful engines and tyres screeching at their limit. R racing is no different all the cars clearly have distinctive sounds from small cars to pure racecars. What's not clear is the sound of the other cars, it's like they don't make noise at all or maybe its cause I'm always using the racecars that drown out the engines of the opposition. Where R racing separates itself from the other games here is the pit talk, now it's not the Ferrari pit crew giving telling you how fast you are but the pit does talk, telling you to when to pass, giving out when you spin and complementing you when you take the perfect line through the bends.

The audio and the visual are good but how does the game play? Well it's very weird, what's definitely gone is the old ridge racer drift around everything. Now you have to slow down and driver proper. While the developers did a good job of this it wasn't enough, a majority of the time the car is too twitchy and then suddenly you get massive understeer. What’s with that?
My pet hate of this game is the fact that the brakes lock up too much probably every time I brake, even with the ABS in the game at max I can still lock and spin the car. I was also disappointed to find that the analog buttons on the PS2 controller don't work with the game so it's either full brake or No brake. After a while you do learn the tricks of getting round these problems and a few ways to cheat the system.
The rallying and drag racing are a nice touch requiring a different driving style. However these new modes feel very rushed and put together quickly to make the deadline.

R racing is a good polished game with some neat ideas but there is vast room for improvement. The many races and challenges are similar to the Moto GP series and offer a good replay value even when you're finished with the short story mode. However don't expect real life physics cause it's far from it, I would class this as an arcade racer. It's shines from the usual boring driving games but it's by now means the next big game. Get it to kill time while you wait for GT4.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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