review – sega rally revolution

i’ve remembered playing the sega rally revolution demo some time ago but it wasn’t really made for my notebook. so this came to my mind as a game which i should test on my new game rig. getting the demo from the internet and later ordering the full game for just 10€ from amazon wasn’t a tough taks. since i really loved the screamer series several years back, i found myself in a similar mood while playing this rally game.

installation:

there wasn’t something really different, a huge amount of data is copied to the harddisc and a patch from the web and the game is ready to run. setting up my momo race wheel is painfull and fails often, so i gave up and went for my gamepad. graphic settings were adjusted to max, nothing else would be interesting for this game ;), for a lc-display i recommend a fixed frame rate and v-synch, but nothing more has to be adjusted

first impression:

there is no doubt that this game is available on a console as well. the main concept aims at controller usage instead of mouse and keyboard. this is not bad at all, the navigation thru the game via keyboard or controller works kind of fine, just going thru whatever level of menues is sometimes a little bit confusing and slow. the navigation is based on pictures, like an album of photos, which may not everybody makes smile. jumping into quick race or just starting a cup isn’t a very sophisticated task, there is hardly something to set-up, pick a location and a car and start the race.

graphics:

from my perspective, the graphics are nice. not sure if the developer was aiming at a photorealistic look or not, the sceneries are nice and detailed and the overall style is a nice mixture between reality and the former screamer titles. it is not comic but it isn’t as real as RBR or the latest McRae titles. the cars coming with a solid touch, they doesn’t look like toycars but like real cars neither, even if every car reflects an existing model. but maybe that’s due to the missing damage system. depending on the track, the cars get dirty, by mud, sand or snow and even if you change from a very wet and mud area on the track to a part where dry sand is dominating the scene, the car finish changes from wet to dry, which adds a nice effect to the game. the particles, emitted by the cars, like mud, water, sand or snow are a little bit clumpy to my taste, especially in mud you’ve got the impression that someone is throwing fist-sized rocks at you. what i really like is the water which started to appear in the tire-tracks or the ice which is covered by snow at the start of the race. which leads to one of the impressive features of the game, the tire tracks. on surfaces like sand, mud or snow, the tires of the cars are leaving deep treads at the surface which affecting the handling of the car as well. the scenery is lovely and detailed, the gras is shaking when the cars passing it and the tracks are detailed as well, there is a lot of variation and even details like broken tarmac at the border of the road or floated areas giving the game some nice touch. everything is really colorfull, this is absolutly not comparable to nfsc nor motorcity.

physics:

well, to talk about physics is maybe not the right approach. sega rally is as close to real world physics as a street car to a race car. there is something which could described as physics but sega rally is a trully arcade game. the different cars behave a little bit different, so there is a difference between front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or all wheel drive and i’ve got the feeling that some lighter cars jump more over the treads than the bigger cars but i won’t bet on this. there are some effects which forces you to drive on some kind of best line, since water, gravel, walls and deep mud slows down the car and if you cross the tire treads the car starts to jump and losses steering ability. there is some small amount of load balancing, so the car reacts to the steering wheel better if you are off throttle, refuses to steer if you are on the brakes and tends to understeer when you are on the throttle. the two main setups, gravel or tarmac, are kind of subtle on mixed tracks, on tarmac-less tracks you won’t go for the tarmac setup and twice versa.

sound:

hm, i’m not sure if it is related to my xfi card but i wasn’t able to get out 3d sound, neither from my onboard nor my xfi card. the sound of the engine isn’t bad, the gravel sound is kind of synthetic and too loud and the environmental sounds requires some attention to details. the sound is not bad but compared to burnout or rbr, it is not outstanding.

 overall:

it is a funny game, it looks nice, it is easy to drive but not too easy to win on certain tracks, it sounds like a classic game and the tracks varies enough to keep driving for a while. the long term motivation is muted a little bit by the lack of settings on the car, just 3 laps per race and kind of short tracks. if you got the pc to handle the game (or the 360) and the game for a few bucks, go for it if you are a fan of arcade racers. if you are looking for colinmcrae, rbr or gtr2 like games, never mind, this is something completly different. nfsu1-2, nfsc, nfsmc people will desperately looking for tuning and pimping.

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