The Need for Speed series has struggled to find an identity for years, despite takes by numerous developers. Between the forgotten titles, we’ve had the Fast and the Furious-inspired Underground, the cops vs racers of Hot Pursuit (twice), the straight-faced track racer Shift and the open-world attempt by Criterion in Most Wanted.
This latest game has had an extra year of development, breaking the habit of releasing a NFS game every year. The subtitles are gone, 2015’s game is simply Need for Speed. Although, given the nature of the game, EA must have been pretty tempted to call it Need for Speed: Underground 3. Continue reading Need for Speed Review – Burnt out
Rallying used to be king of the racers in gaming, but just like real rallying, it’s seen its audience dwindle to a fraction of the glory days. A fact not helped by Codemasters bastardising their own franchise by unleashing Ken Block’s show-ponying over actual racing.
The second wave of WRC titles (Sony had a WRC series on PS2) performed admirably last-gen though, despite always being in the shade of Dirt 2. Milestone were a bit cheeky though, recycling some tracks in their annual release and stripping down the career mode to its bare bones. Continue reading WRC 5 Review – A dirty old clunker
It’s all about speed and control. Speed is that vital ingredient to racing games that has us coming back for more. Just how fast can we go and stay in control? Maintaining control of the car, holding a fragile grip on the road just long enough to hold the line around that corner is all that matters. Speed and control make every corner a fight, a neck-and-neck paint-trading tussle between you and your fear of flying off the track or braking too soon and losing ground on the chase and that all-important speed. Forza 6 nails speed and control.
There’s a sweet spot to be found in Forza 6, where you’re challenged just enough by the AI and the driving aids are tuned to ensure every race is an exhilarating adrenaline rush. That’s not to say the AI difficulty options are completely reliable though. Sometimes you’ll go from winning multiple tight races in a row only to find the next one has the two lead cars are so far in front of you, you’ll think you’re in first until you notice the 3/24 indicator in the corner. Continue reading Forza Motorsport 6 Review – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Bikers get a seriously rough deal for video gaming thrills. The late 80s and 90s teased us all into getting bikes when we grew up with classics like Road Rash and Super Hang On and then the genre just up and died. Sure there have been Moto GP titles and a smattering of MX titles, but the genre’s glory days have long gone. And booting people on Vespas into oncoming traffic is generally frowned upon in real life.
The last decent pair of wheels seen on PlayStation was the free bikes DLC in Burnout: Paradise. With Road Rash seemingly presumably dead in a desert ditch somewhere, we’ve had to look elsewhere for two-wheeled fun. Milestone (of recent WRC and Moto GP fame) are taking another swing at the sim-side of the genre, something akin to Riding Spirits. We’re not quite ready to call this the Gran Turismo of bikes either though. Continue reading Ride (Review) – More than a fair weather rider
DriveClub’s online issues have been well documented since release, and it was only fair that we held off publishing our review until Evolution had time to iron out the kinks and we could actually play it online. Two weeks since release and it’s ‘pencil’s down’ time.
First up, single-player. The campaign is a lengthy selection of events in which you earn fame points that in turn level you up, unlocking more events and faster vehicles. The events themselves have a heavy reliance on time trials over multi-vehicle racing, making it seem like a very lonely game at times. There are drift events too, but the less said about those the better. There are three star awards for each event based on criteria like finishing position, clean laps, lap times or beating racing line or drift challenges.
Continue reading DriveClub (Review)
Little Cars, Big Smiles
Racers, start your engines! Well, charge up your PlayStation Vitas first, as I’ve no doubt many of you haven’t had a reason to put it on for a while unless you’re a fan of niche Japanese titles. But that’s about to change and for a no-excuses price of £4.99 too.
Table Top Racing is an arcade racing title with healthy influences from the likes of Micro Machines and the weapon-sporting Mashed (but not Wrecked, thankfully). You race miniature toy cars across a range of tracks that include sushi restaurants, picnic areas and tables full of junk. Every course is fantastically designed with lots of tight turns and sudden shear edges that keep the racing pack together throughout. Continue reading Table Top Racing (Review)
I’d never make it as a WRC driver. Mainly because my first thoughts to hearing the words “Don’t cut” from my co-driver are “why not?” Which makes the rewind feature an invaluable tool in the boot of my rally experience, as once again Milestone encourage me to take my favourite Colin McRae inspired approach to rallying: “If in doubt. Flat out.”
Milestone has produced two of the best rally experiences I’ve had on this generation of consoles. Admittedly, WRC 2 was something of a version 1.5 over its predecessor, but the vision of the series has always been pure rallying, which is more than can be said of Codemasters’ recent efforts. Codemasters took the great Colin McRae series and produced the first impressive Dirt game before absolutely nailing it with Dirt 2. Then they got a big old man crush on Ken Block and started to make us drive our cars like poledancers. Sad times.
Continue reading WRC 3 (Review)
This is not a traditional rally game. It’s an important point to remember for fans of Codemaster’s epic Dirt series. What it is though, is fun. Car smashing, exhilaratingly arcadey fun.
While Dirt 3 seemed caught in two minds as to whether to carry on with the impeccable rallying from the near-perfect Dirt 2 or try and turn your car into a demented pole-dancing skateboard, Showdown feels much more focused, admittedly more towards a Mad Max meets X-games mashup.
Gone are A-B timed stages in favour of a full on festival of car on car violence and general, well, pissing about. Think back to games like Destruction Derby and Twisted Metal, but pretend they were never crap.
Continue reading Dirt Showdown (Review)
Gaming’s best kart track editor on a portable device? Damn straight we’ll have some of that. The PS3 game suffered from long load times and some miserably tight (and cheaty) AI, but here’s a chance to really push the game into a contender position.
Diving straight into the now cutscene-bare (yay!) Career mode, I was pleased to see new tracks galore. With the series having such a large focus on its impressive track editor, it would have been a shock if they had just reissued the PS3 ones.
Continue reading ModNation Racers: Road Trip (Review)
As the next generation of portable gaming steps forward, the WipEout series returns to its roots. 2048 is the first official season of WipEout’s familiar antigravity racing league, with a compelling intro video showing the Feisar team’s growth from traditional racing in the 1960s and through the generations and more advanced vehicles all the way up to the vicious arrowhead-shaped beasts we know and love.
Just because the game predates the others in the timeline doesn’t mean it’s particularly different. A few tracks start at street level, complete with road markings and tarmac, but it isn’t long before you’re racing up the sides of skyscrapers. The developers have featured wider sections of track in some areas to encourage combat, but in reality most of the tracks are still tight, especially when you’re coming into a corner at top speed amongst a pack of rivals. There’s a larger emphasis on skillcuts, difficult shortcuts that will give you an advantage as long as you don’t bounce wall to wall all the way through them. All the AI opponents seems to know about them and don’t blunder their way through like you will for you first dozen attempts. With no difficulty sliders available, there’s no getting around that this is one of the tougher WipEout games.
Continue reading WipEout 2048 (Review)
PS3 gamers already know of Joe Danger’s brilliance and now XBLA customers finally get to see what all the fuss was about thanks to this Special Edition. For those of you not in the know, Joe Danger rocked onto PSN last year to unanimous applause, combining motorcycle stunt riding, platforming, speed runs and item collecting into one incredibly slick experience.
The game plays across 2D planes, left to right. On your way to the finish line, there are multiple objectives for each of the 100+ levels. Collect all the silver stars, beat a par time, grab coins, hidden icons, land on all targets and maintain a combo for the whole level are some of the tasks at hand. You’ll only need a couple ticked off to progress, but mastering a stage is where the fun really starts.
Continue reading Joe Danger: Special Edition (Review)
Late movie tie-ins are bound to raise suspicion from any gamer, especially from a film that’s clearly one of Pixar’s poorer efforts. Unless the UMD fires out of the PSP and blinds me, this should be a better experience than the film. Maybe. The retail version isn’t yet available in the shops (next year apparently) but the PSN version is available now, albeit at an optimistic price.
After expecting a few standard races around the film’s locations, I was surprised to see that they’ve changed the racing format a little. Instead of having full steering control from a rear camera angle, you’re locked into lanes. You swap between them by flicking the analogue stick left and right. The camera sweeps around throughout the race, attempting to provide the best cinematic angles.
Continue reading Cars 2 (PSP Review)
After hearing Dirt 3 would be making a return to proper rallying, I couldn’t help but feel let down by the final product. So much of the game was left to the demented machinations of Ken Block; I was relieved they’d taken McRae’s name off the box. A rally car is not a BMX or a skateboard as the clumsy gymkhana sections proved.
WRC 2 lives and breathes for proper rallying though. Traditional A-B stages dominate, with a few Super Special Stage duels thrown in for good measure. All the big names like Loeb, Solberg and Hirvonen are here along with their official WRC rides. The lower rally leagues and the infamous Group B cars are also present. You can race individual rallies with the stars straight away, or get started on the lengthy career mode, The Road to the WRC.
Continue reading WRC 2: FIA World Rally Championship 2011 (Review)
Not the best time to release a rally title as Dirt 3 is power-sliding into stores on Tuesday. But if you can’t afford that right now Sega hope you might drop a few points for their bite-sized rally release.
This really is a small game though. Five tracks are all you’ll find here, along with 13 cars and modes. The initial tracks are a tropical jungle with mud and sand, a canyon with dirt and tarmac, and an alpine mountain pass with tarmac and snow sections. The time limit between sections returns, but never actually presents anything resembling a challenge, unlike the older games.
Continue reading Sega Rally Online Arcade (Review)
These games keep surviving, despite never really amassing much acclaim, even after merging the two world of motocross and ATV quad-bike racing, which at least saved fans of both a bit of money. So is there enough here to warrant a purchase rather than another indifferent shrug two laps into the demo? Let’s find out.
There’s no a typical career mode in place, either by label or structure, which is initially off-putting. But at least there’s no terrible story. You can choose to ride an MX (bike) or ATV (quad) around a small handful of tracks while earning experience points for yourself and for each vehicle.
Continue reading MX Vs ATV: Alive (Review)
After smashing vehicles and racers to bits across deserts, tropical islands and Arctic tundras, where else in the world is there left to race for MotorStorm? How about the end of it? Or more specifically a city that is absolutely not (it is) San Francisco, during a series of earthquakes and storms.
The setting might be a little close to the bone in regards to the recent tragedies in Japan, but in fairness the game was almost shipping when that happened and Sony sensibly decided to delay the release.
Continue reading MotorStorm Apocalypse (Review)
All good things come to those that wait. Not just an adage for the long wait that’s preceded this much delayed game, but a piece of advice for getting through a rough start with Polyphony Digital’s driving simulator.
There have been a few patches already to fix the online issues, such as packed servers infecting the single-player game. So now after the storms have settled following GT5’s release, we can provide a proper verdict of the game as it stands today. Continue reading Gran Turismo 5 (Review)
With the successful rebranding of Need for Speed as something a bit more serious with last year’s NFS: Shift, EA might have wished they hadn’t already tasked Criterion Games with taking on the old brand instead of working on a new Burnout game. But hell, we were all more excited than we’d like to admit at the possibility of a Burnout/NFS hybrid even if EA couldn’t be arsed coming up with a new name. But is it a Brangelina or a three-thumbed hillbilly?
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit straps you into the seat of some of the world’s hottest cars as both a racer and a police officer in the fictional US location, Seacrest County. Sea crest consists of many, many desert roads, beaches and mountain passes. But mainly deserts. While the races take place on tarmac there are loads of shortcuts you can take to gain an advantage. Often they’ll be more hazardous and over rough terrain, so you’ll have to judge which ones work best for you and the car you’re driving. There are even a few that may take longer than the original route, you’ll have fun checking them all though.
Continue reading Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Review)
It’s been almost five years since we last saw an official WRC game. The name is now in the hands of Milestone, the team behind the SBK motorbike games. Turns out they’ve been dying to get on four wheels all-along.
The full list of official WRC Rallies have been included. Sweden, Mexico, Jordan, Turkey, New Zealand, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Japan, France, Spain and GB all make the cut supplying 78 tracks between them. For those of you that don’t follow the WRC, the tracks are for single cars only, with everyone getting one shot to get the best time over a series of stages. The road surfaces change between tarmac, dirt, gravel, mud and snow; with the car handling changing for each. Some tracks are backwards versions and many of them often share some sections too, so the 78 number can sometimes feel a bit padded.
Continue reading WRC: World Rally Championship (Review)
If Demon’s Souls was like getting your head kicked in and asking for more, Joe Danger is like waking up in hospital the day after with Katy Perry sat by your side telling you she’s murdered Russell Brand and everything’s going to be just fine.
360 owners have been enjoying Trials HD, but Joe Danger has leapt over the competition – and a few school buses and shark tanks for good measure to top the podium. Boost, jump and trick your way to the finish line racking up gloriously brave combo multipliers on the way. The game works on multiple 2D planes like Little Big Planet, but with set points for ‘changing lanes’. Continue reading Joe Danger (Review)