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The Sega Rally series has long been providing petrol heads and casual gamers alike with quality titles usually found on Segas own systems. Since Sega quit the hardware market and began producing games across multi platforms previous series which have long been neglected were revived and thankfully the Sega Rally series has been one of those and that's good news for us all!
The latest game which appears on PS3 and XBOX 360 keeps the traditions of previous games by sticking to its pure Arcade roots whilst providing a stiff atiff challenge. Although it's a very accessible game and can be enjoyed by gamers of all standards and interests, it has to be stated that this is one tough game. Good on Sega for not ditching its principles of testing even the most hardcore gamer and it works a treat.
The single player mode involves winning sets of races to progress and earn points to unlock more tracks, cars, skins and tournaments. It eases you in with a teasingly easy opening set of races but then it starts to crank up. The AI becomes increasingly tougher, more brutal and more unforgiving and the tracks more testing and trying. It's a joy to play a game where the AI has obviously been given time and its not simply "elastic band" following. The AI races and if you don't make the grade youll be chasing dust for months, Tire selection and car selection is vital to success also and it can take time getting a car you are used to as they handle very differently. Once you are about 5 stages into the game its controller to the floor time as a few mistakes and youre done for. In the final stages of the game one bad corner, or failing to come off a bend right could cost you victory. And to make it even harder you could have two good races in the series and muck the third up and then end up having to re do.
However being tough means that the sense of achievement is great and it feels good to conquer a track or race that has been giving you hassle.
The controls are spot on and the car feels totally in your control. If you do something wrong its your fault not the controls and that again adds to the enjoyment.
The game also boats a few online modes, the time trial mode is competitive enough as you battle to better mates times and earn your way to the global top 100 but the head to head mode is even better. Using all tracks and all cars, even if not unlocked in single player, its an out and out battle between online gamers and its heeps of fun. Barging and shoving galore it's a great online racer.
All in all every gamer should be glad Sega Rally is back. There have been imitators, followers, copiers and those who have tried to reinvent the genre but having the classic title back is all that we need. Long live Sega Rally!
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Whether through the absence of a cockpit and pedals, or a failure to fully replicate the rush of speed, SEGA's racing legends Outrun and SEGA Rally have never quite managed to repeat their arcade counterparts' heroics on home consoles. 2008 saw a somewhat surprising HD rebirth for the latter, though the end result is once again something of a disappointment.
It's a case of style over substance; visually vibrant, with overly simple gameplay. Granted, arcade racers are meant to have an immediacy to their style, but SEGA Rally just doesn't have enough gameplay to keep the player engaged. Genre stalwarts such as Ridge Racer and Burnout use accessibly as a base, allowing the gameplay and rewards to develop as the player learns the cars, tracks and powerslide mechanisms. Though SEGA Rally delivers nippy fun on attractive courses, they require comparatively little input, meaning it often lapses into brain-on-hold fare.
Once you've realised that the car rotates about half-an-hour after you steer on the disorientating external camera and switched to the superior bumper view, you find a game that despite its multi-surface tracks and co-driver commands, actually requires very little use of the brakes at all. You can drive over 100mph on snow; take hairpins in fifth gear and bounce off other cars and barriers with relatively little loss of speed and not so much as a scratch to the paintwork. Realism definitely isn't high on the agenda here.
Compared to its predecessors, the opening phase of the game is significantly less punishing, and thus the early tournaments are quite enjoyable as it's easy to wrack up some victories and thus gain a foot hold in the game. The handling is responsive and the sliding pretty good too; there's a lot more tournaments to tackle than in previous SEGA Rally games, although they're highly unimaginative, consisting almost exclusively of a trio of standard three lap races, with tenuous competition descriptions suggesting that the developers ended up bundling as many combinations of the courses and their reverse versions together as possible, without experimenting with any other format variations. Given that all the games extras are geared to reward perfect points hauls rather than championship standings, dropping points in one race can result in you having to redo an entire series (including the races you've already won) just to rectify a single result, which is irritating and time-sapping if you're trying to unlock everything.
You could see it coming a mile off, but the inevitable problem that develops when the difficulty starts to ramp up is that, due to the fact that most of the courses are taken flat-out for 95% of the time, it becomes very difficult to catch the leaders if you make a mistake or get stuck in the pack. This is further compounded by A.I. that have an annoying habit of blocking, driving super-quick in a straight line but then sitting on the apex of corners and preventing you from turning in until the last second. There's isn't a tangible difference between a normal lap and one where you're on a do-or-die blitz to make up time, and in this respect it isn't a particularly rewarding experience.
The frame-rate isn't quite as smooth as either Motorstorm or Ridge Racer 7, the PS3's early racing benchmarks, though bright menus and colourful, varied track locales mean there is a likeable vivacity to SEGA Rally's visuals, with fine-looking cars and particularly impressive track-degradation physics. Running over certain surfaces will alter their complexion, so not only will they appear different to look at, it also has an impact on the grip and how they are to drive on, meaning each lap may offer a slightly different challenge to the last.
The inclusion of online features is a bit of mixed bag. Racing others is dull even when you're winning, for much the same reason the one-player game ultimately fails to engage - there simply isn't enough margin to catch up, pull away or alter a race outcome through skill or taking chances. Nevertheless, the ability to do Time Trials and place yourself on the world leaderboard makes for an enjoyable diversion.
Perhaps the games best asset is actually its cars. The tracks may not live long in the memory, but the array of authentic rally cars, both modern and classic, is absolutely fantastic. Things kick off with the familiar modern-day racers such as the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer which sport nippy handling and are easy to get to grips with. Oddly, these are followed by the less inspiring Modified class which sees performance regress slightly with less heralded rally-cars such as the Golf, Punto and Octavia, all of which proving a bit trickier to handle. Still, persevere long enough with this and your efforts are rewarded with the unlocking of the Masters class, which includes such icons as the Toyota Celica, Audi Quattro and Peugeot 205, all of which prove scarily powerful.
As a rally game made strictly in the arcade spirit, and in the absence of a HD-generation V-Rally, it does perhaps have its place in the scheme of things, but SEGA Rally is unlikely to convert fans of DiRT or Motorstorm. Despite great presentation and accurate handling, it fails to deliver the adrenalin-fuelled excitement present in so many arcade rally-racers of the past two generations. There's a couple of days fun to be had, but beyond that, the shine quickly begins to fade.
Sega Rally simply oozes arcade brilliance, which means bright beautiful graphics, fast paced adrenaline fuelled action and in the case of the Sega Rally series, the concept of sliding around corners which can be as frustrating as it is rewarding. On the easiest difficulty setting, the game packs a serious punch and should offer a challenge which will last quite some time.
On the downside, the game is a few tracks light despite the option to race backwards (and compete in time trials, etc) and more notably, the online options are slim. This is perhaps levelled out by the games 'real time' terrain which degenerates in 'real time' over the course of a race.
Add to this 'real time' water and mud effects on the host of fully licensed (but sadly not upgradable) cars are there's plenty of fun to be had with this - especially as the game can be picked up for next to nothing now. While there are a few short comings here and there is is without doubt an enjoyable and entertaining Sega Rally.
I got SEGA Rally for free after buying it with my GAME Reward Points and I have to say it was a good decision. The game is very easy to play and very casual. The controls are very easy and the game is just like the SEGA Rally arcade games from years ago. However, the game also has various problems.
The graphics are very good and the soundtrack is good to listen to when racing round the tracks. The framerate is perfect and the game runs very smoothly.
The game has alot of cars to use but the tracks are very similar and not very hard to complete. The Championship mode is very hard and gets alot harder as the game goes on.
The game is good as it contains a two player mode and it is very fun to play against your friends. The first player can change controls but the second person can't meaning it isn't fair and shows the developers laziness.
I think this game is worth buying at a cheap price but only if you want some fun and not a advanced racing game. It is a great buy as it is like the arcade games and one of the only 2 player racers on the console.
I used to play this on the Sega Dreamcast (shame they stopped making that console, it was superb). There was nothing better than hacking around the tracks with my mates. This version for the PS3 was just £17.99 when I purchased it and it offers 1-2 players split-screen. You can race up to six players online. It displays the graphics at up to 720P and is rated 6+.
The graphics are pretty sharp on this one. The cars have a lot of detail, but the tracks are sometimes a little rough around the edges. Gameplay is fun... what you have to remember is that this is not a simulator. When you crash into the the sides of the track you just bounce off. Yes, the cars get damaged, but it does not relate accurately to real rally driving.
On-road feeling is good though. Drive on the tarmac and your car sticks to it (to a certain degree). Move onto the loose gravel and you get some great speed and skid action. The slippery icy and snow laden tracks have you really struggling to keep in a straight line. It is this difference in road surfaces that keeps me interested in the game. Without this the game is quite a weak offering.
In summary, if you want a fun pick up and play for 20 minutes, driving game, then this is a good 'un. If you want something a bit more in-depth and rewarding, then look elsewhere.
Everyone remembers this game at the arcades; the original Sega Rally arcade game was a revolution, as a child sitting in that bucket seat gripping the steering wheel like your life depended on it. So when I see this had been released you on the PS3 I immediately went out and bought it.
And that's about where the excitement ends unfortunately, the game is a real disappointment, yes there's plenty of cars to choose from but I found the track were rather predictable and the game play was not as good as it should have been for a next generation game, the championship mode is fairly difficult to begin with and gets even harder as you progress and unlock more races.
One good thing about the game is the head to head mode (as many racing games on the PS3 are one player unless you're prepared to go online.) There is definite fun to be had racing against your mates and this does take to back to the original version - although one thing to say is if you don't like the default controls you can only change them for player 1 & player 2 has to stick with what they're given.
All in all as a two player bit of fun this game is ok but I wouldn't recommend it to any hardcore racing fans out there.