Toca Race Driver Xbox Review

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Yet another racing game has entered the Xbox arena and this offering from Codemasters takes us through a racing career with a story.

Can this possibly work for a racing game or is it just a gimmick that makes no sense in a racing game?
Well let’s find out shall we.

With a rather morbid start to the game, you are presented with an intro video where you see your character lose his father on the racing track. After completion of your father’s last lap another racer in his frustration nudges his car and off in a ball of flames your father goes. So straight away you are meant to feel some emotional tie to your character. Whether this works through-out the whole game we will soon see.

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You are Ryan McKane. A young man with high hopes to be a great racer, but with your father’s giant footsteps and racing legend hovering over you, you are left trying to find an identity for yourself. To start your career you have to choose your racing team which also chooses the car you get to drive and the bonuses if any you get when completing certain tasks like getting so many podium finishes or harder 1st place wins.

This is all done through a computer like system where you can also check your E-mail for challenges with individuals who also want to prove themselves against a worthy opponent. Once choosing a driving team you are shown a few very short cut scenes just to give you an idea of what your new racing team expects of you. This is where the story slowly progresses aiming to take you along all the way. All the cut scenes in the game are short and certainly not boring. The characters look well detailed making them seem a little more real and the voices for the characters are convincing, but a story with a racing game seems very odd. Racing Evoluzione tried such a feat, but not as strong as Toca Race Driver.

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The rest of the game graphically is silky smooth and very pleasing to the eye. Although nothing screams amazing at you, it is certainly no lack lustre game visually. The cars themselves all look very life like although the weather effects are a bit dull. When you do race in the rain, there are no great effects happening such as you would find on Moto GP 2. Even within the car view your windscreen doesn’t seem to gather any rain.

This aside there is nothing awful and everything fits into place nicely. Control of the car is a little shall we say floaty. It is very easy to slide off the edge of a corner and prepare to totally lose any steering control when you do as you crash into the side. The car AI is quite interesting especially when you see from your rear view cars also loosing control and taking other opponents with them.

Racing is made more fun by this and be warned, they will cut you up on straights if you try and be too cheeky. You can edit your car settings to try and put a fix to this floaty feeling sensation you get when racing. You are able to alter and adjust your Gear Ratios, Downforce, Suspension, Brake Bios and Tyres.

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If career is getting a tad too slow for you, you can also have a go at Time Trial, Free Race and if you have a few friends around treat yourselves to the Multiplayer split screen option. Although Split screen is fun, the fact more and more games are adding Live support in some way, it is a shame that this game hasn’t had the treatment. I could imagine this to be pretty special online.

So back to this story line idea. Is it worth buying this game for the story? Well put simply the answer is no. Think of the story as something to ease you on to find out more about the progression and who you are dealing with. It is not something RPG’s would be proud to show off and the story is pretty weak and only meant or at least comes over as an added extra to make the game a little different.

I have no real gripes about this game, although something at the back of my mind makes me ponder that something is indeed missing. After careful thought I may have put my finger on the problem. Although the racing is mostly entertaining, the career mode even with the story backing it up feels rather stale and pointless and there is very little incentive to bring you back over and over again to get further on in the game.

Conclusion

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Silky smooth and some nice graphics to boot. An attempt at a story line to add something extra to the game is an interesting addition, but not something that really helps the game improve its fascination. Although a pretty solid racer, the career mode feels rather stale long term.

Rating: 3.5 / 5