After seeing some of the screenshots for this game, I had high hopes for this title. For weeks now I have been twiddling my thumbs just waiting for the day the game would land on my doorstep to then be swiftly opened and gently inserted into my Xbox console.
The time has finally arrived and here is my review on what should be a great title.
First thing that hits you right from the off when playing any of the game modes is the amount of graphical detail. The cars do not look like poor plastic representations and instead sport the sort of refinery you expect from the power of the Xbox. The scenery also has your jaw dropping and people tripping over it. With waterfalls, skyscrapers and all manner of environments including lush countryside, racing through mountains, zooming in the large cities and even enjoying the thrill of the proper race tracks.
There is just that much scenery in the background as you drive around, you actually find yourself crashing if you try and take it all in. It is one of the few games I enjoy watching someone else playing so I can look around and see what I have been missing in the gorgeous graphics on screen.
As its an Xbox Only title nothing has been spared like you would generally get with a poor port. Lots of Xbox trickery and visual effects are all present and enhance the game realism no end. The screenshots do not mislead you in any way, it really does look this good. Little things like car damage where your rear bumper drags along the floor causing the odd spark to fly all makes for an engaging game.
There are two main game modes. Arcade and the more interesting romp on Dream Mode. This Dream mode allows you to start from a dusty old garage and over time, building new cars and winning races expanding your little empire to become one of the major leaders in the car industry. You see your little dusty worn out garage building become even something Bill Gates would be quite happy to work in.
This mode is certainly not short either. With course after course and then the odd championship coming your way you are really spoilt for choice. Also as your car empire expands so does the type of vehicle you get to drive. Getting faster and more refined the older tracks are beginning now to get that much more cunning. You are given options to decide which cars you would like built, but this is very limiting and other then changing the colours at the very start of your car’s life, the idea of you building your cars is not entirely accurate.
Each level of car gives you the option of three cars, but you end up with all three anyway nearing the end of that division of class of car. You can tweak the cars to your liking but a bit more control would have been nice. Although limiting it is tremendous fun and this is where we analyse the actual racing.
Dream mode is quite forgiving allowing you to come in third place to be able to progress to the next track. However this means you do not get as much attention for selling your range of cars as it is you who determines the success of sales meaning more cash to develop new vehicles.
Controlling the car is also a major plus for the game. Although not perfect, it is a refreshing change to be able to feel the control of each corner. The AI cars are quite impressive, but sometimes are let down when they insist on staying on their own racing line and pretty much ripping off your front end on your car if you are in their way. A good thing though is if you are in first place, you are constantly pressured from the two cars behind meaning even a course that is easy becomes a challenge and makes an attempt to learn your pace and give each person who has a go on the game a challenge.
There are more then 50… yes that’s 50 international tracks to race on with the four environments including City, Mountains, Speedway and last but not least racetrack which all exist on three continents. There are also 40 real licensed cars including the Aston Martin, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lotus, Chevrolet, Corvette, Ford Mustang and Dodge Viper.
The menu interface is also something games should look at and learn from. All the game has that touch of class that insists you play many an hour on. The sound is also good but seems a little loud and harsh at times. The music is also good and certainly enhances the game, but nothing ground breaking here.
If you ever needed proof of what the Xbox is capable of, this is a game to grab and showcase. Just shows you we need more class games like this to show what the Xbox is all about for those non believers.
With over 50 courses and 40 real cars there is so much to do and enjoy in this class game. Graphical delights that make your jaw drop are here with fun to match. If you love racing games get this now!