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I picked this game up as I had already purchased World Rally Championship for the PSP and been really impressed with this game and recognising that Colin McRae is the best known name in this genre I decided that it only fair to give this a chance.
Colin McRae Rally 2005 is another in the line of successful rally racing games to carry the Colin McRae name but was the first one I felt let down by (having previously played other versions on the PS2) as I felt the graphics were not as good as they could have been (I am aware that this is on the PSP but having played World Rally Championship on this it does not compare well to this) but this was not what I felt let the game down as it is when you play the game you discover a control system that makes this game a true challenge and more difficult than it needs to be or probably should be. There are some positives in the game which are the sound effects, over 30 cars and 300+ stages the game does have a true depth to it but this is all let down by the gameplay itself being so poor.
Whenever anybody hears the name Colin McRea we instantly thing of the highly successful and popular rally driving series (rather than the once successful actual rally driver). This particular game in the series is colin McRea 2005 on the PSP and is a direct port of the Ps2 version.
As the game is a direct port from another source it automatically devides the gaming community into two halves, those that have played it or those that have not. Now for those that have played the Ps2 version all I will say is that if you liked it and want to play it on the go then buy it, you know exactly what to expect. For everyone else, well in my opinion this is a good, in theory playable game, but be warned it has some frustrating down sides.......
Firstly this game has managed to encapture the true essence of rallying which is essential for this type of game. The handling of the cars is amazing, if a little difficult to grasp at the beginning. However after a few stages you will be throwing your car around mud slides and tarmac streets like an expert. The game features a number of different surfaces including road, dirt track, gravel etc etc all with remarkably different characteristics that dramatically effect the cars handleing.
The graphics should also be commended with realitic, detailed environments, a good draw distance and little fogging. No two stages are the same and the designers have put the effort in to make each one seem unique. The frame rate is also of a high quality so the illusion of speed is effective and realistic.
The sounds should also be commended with realistic engine sounds that alter on the different surfaces. you can also hear your engine deteriote as you damage your car in each stage. The co-driver navigation is also clear and accurate.
However there are some down sides to this game.....
The first major issue is not particually aimed at this game but rallying games in general. Due to the nature of rallying each stage is effectivly a time trial where you simply aim for the best time rather than actually RACE other cars. It can be argued that you should expect that from a rally game but i feel i should warn you all the same.
The second problem is that the loading times are very very very (very) long for this game to the point that it does interrupt playing. This coupled with the general game play and style of the game means that overall Colin McRea 2005 is not really a hit on the PSP. It does not lend itself to the pick up and play style needed for a portable console game.
Personally I would like to see a Unique McRea game designed for the PSP with a more "arcade" style that would make it far more playable in short sharp blasts