Published by: TheModGod on 2004-04-26
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Not since Gran Turismo 2 have I had as much fun racing as with Rallisport Challenge. Although Rallisport Challenge does not pretend to be a true driving simulator, it manages to perfectly balance the purity of competitive racing with the depth of great car handling. Rallisport Challenge is by far Xbox's best racing game at this time.
In my humble opinion most racing games since Gran Turismo are terrible. The vast majority of available racing games keep strengthening my bias, and thus when a good racing game comes along it sometimes takes me a while to recognize it. Well, Rallisport Challenge passed the gauntlet beautifully once I realized that three hours had passed in a racing session - and I thought I was just getting started. RC is the first game in years, other than Gran Turismo 3 of course, where I felt like I was truly racing performance machines. The level of control is by far the best thing about Rallisport Challenge, although multi-player is a close second.
Rallisport Challenge, as the title indicates, is a Rally racing game. Rally racing, for those of you who do not know, consists of point to point racing on closed public roads. Racing is usually done in a time-trial format, in a race against the clock. A navigator rides shot-gun giving the driver directions on what to expect on the next area of the road. In addition to traditional rally racing, Rallisport Challenge offers rallycross racing which takes place on short circuits. Rallycross racing, in contrast to rally racing, consists of four cars racing around the tracks to the finish line several laps later.
The game play is truly top notch. Although it does take a while to get used to all the different types of racing, once mastered the sliding style of racing is one of the greatest pleasures of game racing. The Xbox controller is perfectly suited for racing games, using the two triggers as brake and accelerator. All the tracks in Rallisport Challenge allow cars to go 'out of bounds.' When this happens, the car is automatically placed back on the track. This hand-of-god can also be triggered by pressing the white button on the Xbox controller. Unfortunately, the Y-button is by default the change camera button. It can be quite frustrating to accidently hit the change-perspective button in the heat of battle while trying to activate the hand-of-god.
The only game that can top this in my opinion is Rallisport Challenge 2. For that, we have to wait. If online support was added this title would have been even more of a success. With no word on 2 having online support we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed.
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