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.
Atari finds itself in a hard position with this specialized edition of Test Drive. Does it try to appease fans of Ferrari who want their favorite Italian racing brand highlighted in every way possible, or does it concentrate on making a solid racing game that has the Ferrari license applied to it? Ideally these aims are not mutually exclusive, but this Ferrari Racing Legends cannot reconcile the two.
Racing fans will find fault with Ferrari Racing Legends' handling, despite the fact that Need for Speed: Shift series developer Slightly Mad Studios is behind the wheel. Although the various Ferraris feel different and I like that the car handling takes into account how much gas you have in the tank (the varying weight can be important), the driving lacks finesse. The non-adjustable steering controls lead to too much oversteer, making it hard to make small steering adjustments without the backend getting loose. This could be related to the fact that cars feel like they turn on a swivel.
You don't have to be a Ferrari fan to be disappointed by the license's presence in the game. It's not that the developer treats it unfairly, it's just boring. I admire the attempt to encompass all of Ferrari's history in challenges and races, but the reuse of tracks wears out its welcome. The game provides a loose story framework (including a great Magnum P.I. reference), but it's not engaging enough to overcome the overall staleness. Similarly, the online portion is pretty straightforward, and you'll want to stay away from contact with your opponents as the contact physics can spin you out really easy.
The combination of a solid racing framework with the Ferrari license could have worked out, but this is a zero-sum game that appeases nobody. Ferrari Racing Legends does not exhibit the best of what the sports car brand nor the developer have to offer.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.