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Old 12-15-2010, 01:49 AM   #13
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Sega Rally - Xbox 360
Also available on PS3/PC

Having owned a Mega Drive, 14 years ago I shelled out for a Sega Saturn. I received 3 games, Virtua Fighter 2, Euro 96 and the best of them all... Sega Rally. Never before had I seen such beautiful 3D visuals! Ok there were only 3 cars and 4 tracks but I would spend hours trying to shave that last second off of my Desert track time. Following an average Dreamcast sequel and the terrible Sega Rally 2006 and we arrive at a new Sega Rally who's aim is to recreate the feel of the original whilst giving the game a much needed update on 7th gen hardware.

For the most part Sega stays true to the original. The in-game HUD certainly brings back memories and the Delta, Celica and the Stratos all return to the substantial lineup. The game also has a distinct arcade feel to it. However this could be where its biggest downfall lies. Whilst it is great that elements of the game stay true to the original in terms of HUD, cars and environments it is also important for games to evolve. In keeping with the arcade feel there is no damage and hitting the edges won’t slow your car down. It often means the best tactic is simply to use competing cars as barriers to go found corners and sometimes it can be faster to take a turn by smashing into the sides. You also almost never have to break, instead releasing the accelerator is enough to negotiate most bends, this makes for an adrenaline charged experience but in keeping with the arcade feel the game concept also shows its age. A little bit of damage thrown in and a few corners which required breaking points and skill would have helped the game evolve whilst keeping its arcade roots. Visually the game is breathtaking. The game zooms along smoothly in various rally scenes, Tropical, Alpine, Safari etc and the game does show some innovation as it features the ability for tyres to shred up the terrain which looks pretty special and will make you really notice the changes in grip on the road from the deformed track.

The game however despite this comes with its issues. The first is the championship difficulty; there is no career mode to speak of. Instead you must simply race through championships: Amateur, Modified and Expert. However rather than each championship getting progressively harder the end of the amateur championship is painfully hard!! Arguably as hard as the end of the expert championship. Then when you finish this the start of the Modified Championship reverts to easy again and you repeat the difficulty curve. It is clear what Sega was trying to do here. Allow you to have varying difficulty levels for each of the car classes. If however like me you are a methodical player who plays through games in an order then this can be a bit off-putting. You build yourself up to race on limits and finish the amateur races before going back to easy races which makes them seem dull on the modified class. Of course this may be just me...

Sega Rally does an awful lot right and is a great tribute to the original. But gaming has come a long way in 14 years and it lacks the depth of Forza / GT and the sheer fun of the likes of Burnout and Need for Speed. Despite the 20+ tracks the replay value isn't there and you won't want to spend hours shaving vital seconds off of your times like the original. Because of this Sega Rally is somewhat lost and doesn't know what it wants to be. Racing games are simply not as popular as they once were and other games simply saturate the Market. This means I can only really recommend this to nostalgic Sega Rally fans and die hard racing buffs. It's a real shame because I challenge anyone to find me a better game on the 360/PS3 that has sold less than 250,000 copies. Sadly, that is the sales category this game fits into, if you see this game in a bargain bin give it a try as it just may surprise you!

Pros - great graphics, dynamic terrain gives the game something different, style of the game stays true to the original...
Cons - …but the original is a 14 year old game and gaming has come a log way since then. No career mode. Strange difficulty curve

Overall - 78%
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