Here you get to race over 35 different ways, in about 70 different licensed vehicles, which is just a massive amount of options
Let's get something straight here, I love car racing games. I think they're awesome. I am also technically inept, and if you give me a mountain of ways to mod my car, then I'm likely to remove the traction control, lighten it to the point where it's actually hovering rather than driving around 80 percent of the track and fuck with the gearbox until its unusable. Toca 3 gave me the chance to indulge my idiot passions, and yet still enjoy the game.
For one of the most extreme racing experiences this year...
Here you get to race over 35 different ways, in about 70 different licensed vehicles, which is just a massive amount of options. You also get to choose whether or not you're going to be a mechanic extraordinaire, or simply race what you're given.
Codemasters have put the emphasis on fun and playability, but haven't skimped on the more technical aspects if you have a taste for that sort of thing. You begin the game slam bang in the middle of a race, with almost no idea what you're doing and Sean Connery's grandpa giving you driving tips, which you'd better listen to, or you'll end yourself up in a wall. It's a strange way to begin things, rather back to the futureish, what with materializing in a car and all, but if they were calling it reality then you'd need millions of dollars to create the experience that Toca gives you for less than a hundred.
Like all good driving games and sims, you will need to develop some level of skill when it comes to choosing lines and knowing how a car actually drives.
To begin with, you choose from one of three different modes. There is World Tour, Pro Career and Simulation to choose from, and each offers a different experience.
World Tour consists of working your way up through the ranks, choosing from a different array of motor sports. There are Indy cars, Super trucks, GT cars, go karts, off roaders, and much much more. Learning to drive all these various machines is a hell of a lot of fun, and the variety ensures that you don't get bored.
Race the old greats...
The wickedly fast...
In Pro Career, you specialize in a particular style of motor sport, which means that you have the chance to perfect your skills in your chosen vehicle. Finally Simulation mode is mostly about time trials and tinkering around with cars that you've unlocked in other modes.
Codemasters have put a lot of effort into making everything seem realistic. The various vehicles are not just differently skinned versions of a few cars, each of them seems to handle differently, and they respond to environmental changes as well. Crashing will effect your vehicles performance, as will going off the track when you're not supposed to. There are a range of difficulty levels available as well, which can make things a bit more challenging if you're a battle scarred old hand at car racing games.
If you're just looking for some metal on metal contact, there are some great crash effects to be found here, though don't expect to win after taking damage from a head on collision. You'll be leaking oil and brake fluid all the way back to the pits I'm afraid.
The AI is pretty impressive too, those cars sure have their lines carved out, and they'll catch you out if you get sloppy with your driving.
You can play this multiplayer and online and it's pretty decent. You can play with up to 12 players online, just remember, as always, that real people aren't as smooth drivers as AI ones. You can penalize those who are just making trouble if you wish, by setting the points system to adhere more or less closely to the rules.
Just watch out for those barriers...
As you prepare for the race of your life...
This really is a great, diverse game. It's not purely arcade and it's not purely sim. The move away from sim seems to have made some of the graphics a little lower end than competing products, but it is still a very solid experience anyhow, and you're unlikely to give a damn about a dodgy looking texture on a sign as you flash past it as 160 mph anyways. There are still some very impressive effects to be had, and the graphics are really very far from shoddy. Aurally it's not bad either, there are some nice sound effects, but once again, they suffer from a similar lack of refinement as the graphics.
Top Game Moment:
TOP GAME MOMENT
Exploring the sheer plethora of options available in World Tour Mode, that, and utterly destroying a perfectly good car by tinkering with it too much in Simulation Mode.