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Anonymous wrote:SEGA RALLY – XBOX 360
What is it that separates the two categories into which we love to place the racing game? The arcade and the simulation. Is it a question of difficulty? Perhaps. Immediacy? Probably. Fun? That could be it. One, we respect for its attention to detail, depth and technical accomplishment. The other we seek to derive fun from above all else. Adding to the burgeoning racing genre is SEGA Rally. A highly anticipated reimagining of the fondly remembered arcade racer. Sega; wisely neglecting to suffix the game with any link to the underwhelming Sega Rally 2. With the racing game being one of the few genres that isn’t neglected on the current platforms, what does Sega Rally offer to distinguish itself from the competition? The answer unfortunately. Not enough. The 15 car, 4 track single race model of old is replaced with a much more familiar championship structure, requiring series wins to unlock other championships and vehicle classes. It’s pretty standard stuff if rather charm less. Sega have pinned their hopes on the appeal of their track deformation feature where racing lines made by the cars remain from lap to lap, encouraging a different approach on each attempt as these tracks offer improved grip. As impressive as this is, this feature of extreme realism seems at odds with the unashamed arcade elements that dominate the game, creating an awkward halfway house between Sega Rally’s roots and the current racing scene. The hot air balloons and giraffes beyond the invisible walls at the edge of the race track further highlight this bizarre juxtaposition. This deformation feature ultimately quells the satisfaction derived from shaving a tenth from your personal best because the race surface is altered each lap and any claim to a definitive lap time is likely to be the subject of debate. The racing experience itself is pleasantly familiar with the cars back end stepping out and requiring constant adjustments, leading a skilled player to think two corners ahead. A desire to race in such a style is quickly undone against human opponents however, when you discover that it’s possible to floor it in 6th gear and bounce off walls to achieve similar results. The tracks are varied enough, both visually and in terrain. In championship mode you are required to approach a set of three different courses with one setup where maximum points are needed for advancement. Something which can evoke a feeling beyond frustration when your off-road setup sees you undone on a final arctic stage after having romped to victory in the jungle. The Colin McRae series. Sega Rally’s most apparent competition is hardly arcade racing in the traditional sense but the series has altered recently to broaden its appeal. An example which Sega seem to have ignored. While the likes of DiRT and PGR offer great depth and challenge, they also offer an accommodating difficulty curve and a career mode where progress unlocks fresh challenge. This is another area where Sega Rally is inadequate with little extra to be seen beyond what could be accessed in the first couple of hours of play. Whether Sega could’ve got away with selling the old format today at a next gen price is a relevant question but you can’t help but think it would have been more enjoyable. The famous wail of ‘Game over, yeeeeeeeah’ evoking feelings closer to relief than any kind of one more go enthusiasm.