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10/29/2007 10:36:00 AM
Review: Sega Rally Revo (All systems)
SEGA Rally Revo
Reviewed By Paul Ulane
SEGA of America
Things We Like
Race to the Races: Few driving games make it this easy to jump right behind the steering wheel. Obviously, you can get going immediately in the Quick Race mode, but even starting the game's central Championship Mode is as simple as choosing your ride and hitting the first tournament. From there it's nothing but races and unlocking new cars and tracks. No stops in the garage, no design screens, no profile building -- just pick a car and go.
Steers for Fears: During your maiden voyage around the track, the steering will catch you off guard. The wheel is sensitive, and you'll no doubt spin out through your first hairpin turn. But after a couple last place finishes, you'll settle nicely into the driver's seat. Once you master the art of letting up on the gas, each turn becomes a game itself -- how far can you skid without losing control. Brakes, naturally, are optional.
Lap It Up: The three lap format serves as a nice learning tool for each new unlocked track. There are arrows to point you around each bend, as well as a voice directing you through traffic, but both are inconsistent (see below). With three laps, you can scope out a course the first time around, figure out the best approach in lap two, and then make a push for first place during the final lap.
Groove Thing: Visual flourishes like muddied bumpers and skid marks aren't just for show. The more you race, the more you'll notice a distinct advantage in following the treads left by the racers in front of you -- especially in the tropical courses, where you can settle into groove marks on the dirt roads that will steer you through the turns at the best angle.
Check-up: The Game Status screen keeps it real simple. While it's not the most complex game, it's still nice to check in on anything from how many championships you've won to the total number of miles you've raced.
Six-Axis Control: Using the PS3's Six-Axis control as a steering wheel adds another dimension to the racing that helps extend replayability. Throw in the first-person perspective and you're instantly transported from your couch to the driver's seat…
Revo in action:
Things We'd Change
Six-Axis (Out of) Control: Unfortunately, the loose controls mean the slightest tilt of the controller sends your car careening off course and into the foliage lining the track. What could've been a fantastic addition turns out to be scarier than carpooling with Billy Joel and Halle Berry.
Walls of Shame: Speaking of wildly erratic driving, you... um, can't do it. Sure, beginners will be swerving back and forth across the tracks, but once you reach the side of the track, you'll hit an invisible force field wall that keeps you more or less heading forward. You can barrel straight into any of the game's side animation, like animals and camera-happy fans, without the fear of flying off course or damaging your car. What's the point of off-road racing when you can't go way off the road?
Camera Shy: Faulty camera angles hurt two separate areas of the game. In single player mode, if you're using the third person perspective, the camera has a difficult time keeping up through turns. The problem is worse when your car has a larger spoiler, which completely blocks your view of the road at certain angles. Another problem is in the multiplayer mode, where the screen splits vertically down the middle, giving you even less visibility. This hurts one of the best aspects of a racing game -- taking on friends sitting next to you. Most racing games split the screen horizontally, Revo should follow suit.
Lack of Track: Five environments, three tracks each. We know this is a throwback to a simpler, arcade-like racing game, but that's just not going to cut it when it comes to a title that's supposed to be played at home for an extended period of time.
GPGuess: While arrows navigate you through each turn, there's also a voice spitting out lines like "hairpin turn" and "long, easy turn left... maybe." Sometimes you can trust the advice, other times, you can't. There is a wide variety of turns classified as "long easy" -- some of which you can burn through with your foot on the gas, others of which you need to slam on the breaks to survive.
The streamlined approach to Revo brings out both the games best and worst qualities. On the plus side, you have a racing game that concentrates on just that: the racing. On the other side, the game's lack of depth is exposed, limiting its replay value. This is the kind of title that is perfect for the gamer who likes to pick up a racer and hit the road.