| The Good
Controls easy to get into
Real life driving teams
Nice graphics package
| The Bad
Controls and car damage are handled inconsistently
"Tweaking" the car seems useless
Lots of time wasted in menus
I had a really hard time sorting out my feelings of this
game. The good was always matched with the bad. On the one
hand, the controls were easy to get into and made the driving
exciting, giving you the feeling that you were pushing the
cars to their extremes.
But the way the programmers achieve that feeling by making
the controls of the car extremely inconsistent. The car will
take the same turn multiple ways. One time through you can
fly through it at top speed. The second time though, you'll
have to slow down to a near crawl. Also, the steering seems
to float from time to time.
Another good enhancement was the inclusion of all of the
real life driving teams for each car. So not only do you have
the driver, but also the navigator. Both are rendered in each
car, giving an air of authenticity. And don't think that the
copilots are only window dressing. During each run he'll be
calling out the twists and turns of the course to you. This,
too, comes with a negative, as he is late making the calls,
at what seemed the most inopportune times. And if you are
trying to keep your 2-3 sec lead in a rally, it can get frustrating.
As for the Rallies themselves, this game comes with all 14
rallies spanning the entire world. Each one mapped on the
actual courses, from Monaco to Great Britain. This gives you
plenty of game to play (which you'll need to get used to the
controls). The courses themselves are really hard to differentiate
from each other. Spain looks like Argentina, which looks like
Kenya. Making it easy to slip into the dreaded driving trance.
You'll also be provided with the cars from the seven makers
that took part in the 2001 Rally season. Each car has a different
HUD to give a little variety to the racing. And with that
you'll be provided with multiple camera angles to race in.
Included in the set are two inside-the-car views. One of these
is a cool first person perspective that really gives the feeling
of being in the race. This is one aspect I'd like to see in
the next Gran Turismo. The other view is a third person
over-the-shoulder angle. Allowing you to race seeing both
the driver and navigator. In this view you will actual see
the driver shift gears and fight to keep control of the car,
and the navigator checks his map and calls out instructions
to the pilot. Great effect, but kind of useless for racing
for it creates a couple of blind spots.
Also before each race, you will be briefed as to the weather
conditions, and given a shot to "tweak" your car. Be it the
gear differential, to the tires to use. But you might have
noticed that I had put tweak in quotes. That is because the
game seems to put you in the best set up before each race.
Making the tweak feature almost moot. As a matter fact, the
car will actually perform worse if you meddle with the set
ups at all! Also, although you have a wide variety of locations,
and weather conditions to race in, there is not that much
of a difference between a snow/gravel course and a wet/tarmac
course. Most of this is due to set ups the game puts you in.
The cars also take damage if you are not careful with your
driving. This damage is not just cosmetic either. If you do
damage to your steering column for example, the car will be
extremely difficult to control. Or if the gear box is what
is damaged, the acceleration of the car will be hampered.
This too seems to be half-heartily implemented, for the damage
comes across as completely random. I have been able to flip
the car several times in a race and suffer no damage at all.
Then at other times, I would slide into a rope barrier and
trash the whole car.
Graphically, the game would be what is expected from the
PS2. Plenty of particle effects, dust and grime build up on
the car during the race and beautiful scenery during the replays.
Also damage is shown during the race, as you will acquire
cracked windshields and smoke bellowing from under the hood.
The game suffers from very little slow down, which it shouldn't,
only being seen while using certain driving views. Generally
a pretty good looking game. The one thing that really impressed
me was the amount of road you could see. While completing
a turn at the crest of a hill, I was able to see the road
I would soon be traveling on far into the distance.
Sound wise the game is very good in the FX department. While
in the first person view, you can hear the gravel hitting
the inside of the wheel wells, and the window wipers during
rain or snow stages. The cars all have subtle variances in
motors, and what set up you are running. BMG is only heard
during the replays and in the menus. Which brings up another
bad point? Expect to spend almost equal time between racing
and navigating the menu screens. The game comes with what
they call an automatic save feature. But all this saves are
you game settings. You must be sure to save after every race
or lose any progress you have made during the game. I found
this out the hard by finishing the first rally, only to find
out I had to run the whole thing over again. Very annoying.
Overall the game comes with many good ideas that just aren't
executed fully. I did find it easy to get into, but that was
because I had played other racing simulators before. I would
not recommend this to anyone new to the genre. Play GT3:
A-Spec instead - it costs the same amount and is a much,
much better experience.