V8 Supercar Race Driver 2 or TOCA Race Driver 2 whichever you like to call it, was one of the finest racing games released last year. The game was initially released on the XBox and after six months it appeared on the Playstation 2. The Playstation 2 version sported all new features such as new cars and tracks. Obviously not content with just the console versions, Codemasters have ported the game to the PSP, and it is right there beside the PSP on launch. But, with a flooded (and this is an under exxageration) PSP racing title launch, is V8 Supercar Race Driver [i]2 any good? or have we been there and done that before?
It's worth noting that with or without our recommendation this game is going to sell huge in Australia. Just like AFL anything featuring V8's becomes instaneously popular, and to have a title like this available at the PSP's launch is a clever marketing strategy from Codemasters and it also says a lot about the PSP, this game alone could justify a purchase for some people, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is any good.
The game itself is a little different to your traditional racing title, the game actually provides a fairly decent storyline, where players have to work their way up through a wide range of championships. Yes, believe it or not, despite the name there are plenty of other championships for players to race through.
However, most people purchasing this game for the V8's and Codemasters have ensured that they don't disappoint on this front. There are a total of fifty-two tracks in the game, and ten local V8 tracks including the almighty Bathurst. This is a bit better than the game's predecessor which was seriously lacking in tracks. All the official cars have also made the cut, and they are completely updated, current up until this year's championship.
The main mode of the title (and the one where players encounter a story) is the simulation mode. Players start from the very bottom and must work their way to the top championships. Codemasters have thrown a few novelty championships into the mix as well, such as big truck races, so the game doesn't take itself too seriously.
There are a few novel modes in the game, such as a free race option (which is always good for those quick V8 races where you want to simulate the latest V8 round) as well as a time trial mode. Codemasters have also included wireless support, so gamers with two copies of the game can indulge in some head to head V8 racing. Overall, the package feels more complete and less rushed than the game's predecessor.
The gameplay of the title has made the transition to the PSP relatively unscathed. One of the most commendable aspects of this game is the damage model, that is only really beaten by Burnout 3 and there is no shame in this. Codemasters have secured the license so every car included in the game can be completely demolished. When a car becomes too damaged to drive the game will end and the player will suffer "terminal damage". To an extent we wish Codemasters had left us keep going with only one wheel and no bonnet. The damage is just as comprehensive on the PSP version, so you can flip the car and cause massive carnage. The damage is one thing that is featured in this game that is simply not matched anywhere else (except possibly Burnout Legends in three weeks time).
Codemasters have also significantly improved the handling of the game, the original V8 title featured poor, uncontrollable and seemingly random handling at times, we're pleased to report that the handing feels much better now, and makes the car easy to control. Whilst the game itself looks good there is unfortunately one trade off and that is the loading. There is a large lot of loading between the menus and about a two second delay between menus. The game features a fairly clunky menu system, so getting into a race isn't as quick and portable as we'd hoped.
However, once into a race the graphics are brilliant. Codemasters claimed that the title visually looked the same as the Playsation 2 version, and whilst this isn't true, it is damn close. When you start to consider that there are also twenty one cars on track at once that is when you really start to appreciate the quality. We simply cannot believe that Codemasters have developed a racing title with vast tracks, twenty one cars on track at once and a comprehensive damage model, and despite our fears there is absolutely no slowdown.
The sound in the game wouldn't have recieved such a high score if not for one feature, the custom soundtracks. Gamers have to download the custom soundtrack application off Codemasters website (suggesting this was either a very late inclusion to the game or it would be a good way to navigate people to this site) and install it, once done the game will automatically run MP3's through the game. ACDC + V8 Racing simply cannot be matched. Hopefully this tool is popular, and some developers will start including this into their games, or even release the tools for some of the first PSP titles. We commend Codemasters, as this is a truly brilliant feature that will be utilised a lot in the future.
The game itself could last a decent amount of time, this doesn't necessarily mean the game features that many challenges, but the challenge is hard. This is not a game you are going to sit down and play through in four hours, it requires a lot of time and effort, and frustration. Add to this the multiplayer (which is possibly never ending) and the free race options and you're definitely getting value for your money.
V8 Supercar Race Driver 2 is a good game, it was great last year when we hadn't played it, but instantly we had a sense of de ja vu, did we really need another racing game? Thankfully the game actually brings something different to the table, with custom soundtracks, an incredible damage model and a good career mode. Despite the familiarity, fans of V8 will love this title, those who have played every racing game out on the PSP so far won't be as impressed initially, but a good game is always a good game.
This review is brought to you courtesy of Infinite Gameplay, with unlimited game rentals starting from $19.95 a month.
16 Sep, 2005
16 Sep, 2005
V8 Supercar Race Driver 2 Review
PSP Review | Another PSP racing game?
|V8 Supercar Race Driver 2 is a near flawless port of an eighteen month old game. The PSP launch is littered with racers, so think carefully before picking this up, but if you're a fan of V8's then you'll definitely want to get this game.||7½|
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.
Currently Popular on PALGN