The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo is the third rally title out in four months,
and you could be excused for glazing over this one in particular. It's neither
the officially licensed WRC title nor a title from racing luminaries
Codemasters. Regardless, it has a style all its own; while this game is not supremely
satisfying from a pure racing perspective, its journey through Loeb's career,
along with the amount of content, give it something to call its own.
The way the game handles Loeb's career isn't unique. Players can play through a
gauntlet of greatest moments from the legend's life in racing in various
scenarios. A tier of the titular events also unlocks when you reach a certain
ranking in the career mode's internal leaderboard. What impresses me – as
someone who's not familiar with Loeb and his many accomplishments – is the
video footage with Loeb himself. He walks through the different eras, races,
manufacturers, and situations from his life (complete with archival footage of
the races themselves), giving insight into what he was going through at the
time. It may sound strange that I'm taken by this non-interactive part of the
game, but Loeb is engaging and informative. His commentary gives weight to the
challenges, making me want to tackle them and see how I measure up.
A traditional career track allows you to race in rallies to earn
credits to buy cars, which in turn unlock other racing tiers with their own
entry requirements. This structure gives you enough to do without having to
grind, and plenty of tracks and the occasional non-rally stage-based event
(elimination on a rallycross track, sector battle, rally drift, etc.) mix
You race in locations around the world – Italy, Australia, Sweden,
Finland, Wales, Monte Carlo, and others – each with their own stages and
factors such as day/night and weather. Similar to the Sebastien Loeb career
challenges and videos, context makes the career mode's feature set notable.
Currently, it constitutes more content than the other rally titles on the
market, and while the career mode's collection of races isn't revelatory in and
of itself, it's good to see that Milestone didn't skimp.
Multiplayer adds to the docket, consisting of simultaneous racing
against other players, but the real-time ghost cars representing them are
distracting when you've got two or three competitors piled up in the same
corner. These races have a range of day/night options, but they are also
restricted to being single-stage rally races and rally cross.
The racing itself is not as robust as the quantity of content. The
game tries to be more sim-orientated than arcade-inspired, but the vehicle
physics can be unsatisfying. Your car can bounce around the track too much
after striking some roadside objects (some you expect to be able to plow
through, while others you can't), and it flips and spins wildly when doing so
at higher speeds. When you crash you can use a limited number of rewinds to
allow yourself a second chance, but the feature became inexplicably unavailable
at times. Finally, I found the default handling similarly touchy. I adjusted
this in the car settings by introducing more understeer, but I was rarely
satisfied with how the car felt.
I half expected this game to be a shallow vanity project, but it's got
more substance than that. The number of tracks and the career structure expose
you to more content than most rally titles, even if the racing itself isn't
tight enough to compete with the top dogs.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.