Scaff's Sim Racing Reviews

Discussion in 'Console & PC Gaming' started by Scaff, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. MagpieRacer

    MagpieRacer Premium

    Messages:
    12,382
    Location:
    England
    I'm really hoping for just a small dot slap bang in the middle and a 30 second video of you having a crash and just stating don't buy it in your sultry tones.

    I'm prepared.
     
    Mr Grumpy and Scaff like this.
  2. Mr Grumpy

    Mr Grumpy

    Messages:
    2,096
    We might have a competitor for Racing Bros.
     
    MagpieRacer likes this.
  3. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    WRC 8

    Review


    WRC8.png


    Driving Simulation: 8
    The dev team behind the WRC series have been building on and refining the handling model and FFB since they picked up the licence and released WRC5. While that title was certainly rough around the edges, what we are presented within WRC8 is simply one of the best handling and FFB models in a rally title around. It's a clear match for the Dirt series in both areas, and while it's not quite on par with SLRE in handling, it does have it beaten in terms of FFB. In my view its also the one of the three that gets the all important handbrake feel working best. The only caveat in this regard (and impacts on the accessibility score) is that for a wheel the default settings for FFB are too high and put too much drag and weight into the wheel. WRC8 is also the only one-off the three to feature dynamic weather, and this is not just visual, it has a real impact on the tyre choices you make, as getting it wrong, particularly on tarmac, is going to compromise you a lot. Finally its on par with SLRE in terms of how important you need to take note of your co-driver calling out bumps, they will destabilise the car in a way DR2.0 doesn't manage, ensuring that required balance between caution and pace is always on your mind, and when you lose it, it never feels unfair.

    Racing Simulation: 7
    As with all rally titles its difficult to judge the speed of the AI as almost none of the gameplay is head to head, as such we only have the Super Special Stages to use as a comparison. The AI is generally competent and fair, with a reasonable range of settings to match your own ability to.

    Motorsport Simulation: 9
    WRC 8 is simply one of the best titles around in terms of how well it recreates the motorsport it's licenced from, as you would expect it has the full range of events from the WRC calendar included, with a solid amount of stage miles for each. Its career mode covers the feeder series from WRC Junior, WRC2, WRC2 Pro and into WRC itself. You have the option to run a career without the team elements, but in all honesty, you are missing out on a ton of content if you do, with a full team management structure in place, one that is a match for the depth provided in F1 2020. Not only are the staff in place to be managed, but they also have an impact on your performance and the very extensive R&D tree, manufacturers to keep happy, reliability testing to complete, historic races to compete in and rest days to manage (it's so busy your team members get exhausted and need to be cycled in and out). Add in the excellent stage design, which includes epic stages, which are the longest included in any rally title, stages that capture the unique nature of each location and are as narrow and challenging as they should be. Add in manual wipers and light, manual handbrake starts with the correct timing start as you cross the timing line, and its a rally motorsport fans dream. In short WRC8, just like F1 2020, are the current benchmark for motorsport simulation, neither are perfect, but they do set the standard for everyone else.

    Accessibility: 6
    Despite its licence, this is not a title that could be considered totally accessible, its gamepad handling it twitchy out of the box, and while this is aided by a good range of driver assists, its never 100% comfortable. Its similar for wheel users, where the default set-up is far too heavy and has a massive amount of drag when counter steering, which makes the driving far harder than it should be and results in tank slappers as you struggle to react quickly through the steering, it also makes using the handbrake in tight corners and hairpins difficult. I strongly recommend using my FFB setting video as a starting point to resolve these issues, it really does transform the drive. The devs should also get a boost for including a FOV option, its a shame it doesn't actually work!

    Content: 8
    With hindered of miles of stages, every event location in the calendar, a huge testing area (using Rally Poland as a location), a staggering number of training areas within the training programme, all the cars and teams from the feeder series and WRC, a good range of classic rally beasts to enjoy and the above-mentioned career mode WRC8 is packed with content. Add in the eSport side and online, as well as regular challenges and options as to how you run the career and you have an excellent total package of content.

    Value: 7
    For a full price release WRC8 provides a solid amount for the money, only getting points dropped for the fact that some of the historic content is locked behind a day 1 special edition or via paid DLC for those who get the standard edition. However with WRC9 just around the corner at the time of writing, the complete package can be picked up in sales regularly.

    Full WRC 8 Video Playlist
     
    MarcoM, Morbid65, MrCrynox and 3 others like this.
  4. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
  5. McLaren

    McLaren Premium

    Messages:
    39,364
    Location:
    United States
    Disappointing to hear about the initial inconsistencies found with the cars; details, sounds, physics. Sounds like it's going to influence a mixed reaction to the game depending on how one's favorite car has been modeled. Looking forward to your full review if things are still generally good or get worse.
     
    John Wells and Scaff like this.
  6. FrankieStail

    FrankieStail

    Messages:
    156
    Great review scaff, pretty much sums up what I’ve been able to gather from previous information and reviews so far.

    It really makes you wonder how this was ever born with the title of “project cars 3”!?
     
    r_outsider, John Wells and Scaff like this.
  7. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

    Messages:
    936
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Simple: a cash grab. I don't think there is any intention of a PC4, the series is finished therefore it doesn't matter of you dirty the name for sales :(
     
    John Wells and FrankieStail like this.
  8. FrankieStail

    FrankieStail

    Messages:
    156
    Jeez, I really hope your wrong about no pc4 as the base for a great successor is already there in pc2.
    I do however agree with your thoughts of a cash grab, milking the last bit out of current gen consoles, although to be fair to sms, that’s just business.
    Their mistake was in the title project cars 3!
     
    MrCrynox and John Wells like this.
  9. MagpieRacer

    MagpieRacer Premium

    Messages:
    12,382
    Location:
    England
    Doubt that very much. Codemasters wouldn't have bothered buying them otherwise.
     
    John Wells likes this.
  10. Tired Tyres

    Tired Tyres

    Messages:
    10,716
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Gran Turismo for boys? That takes me back. You should have called this Project Cars for boys.
     
    Darla Starch, John Wells and Scaff like this.
  11. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I was tempted, but youtube comments can be hell even without a click-bait title. :D
     
    John Wells and MagpieRacer like this.
  12. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Project Cars 3

    Full Review

    PC3 6.png



    Intro

    Project Cars 3 arrives as one of the most divisive titles to hit the market in a long time, with claims that it will be the title to unite sim-racers and those who love racing titles but are put off by the 'dry' nature of traditional racing sims, including past Project Cars titles. It’s a bold claim to have made, and as more information emerged in the weeks leading up to launch, one that faced growing scrutiny and concern, particularly from those on the sim-racing side of the debate. So now it’s here, what is the actual reality behind the hype, claims and counterclaims?
    Driving Simulation 6.5
    While Project Cars 3 is laying claim to having improved on the physics engine of the engine and tyre model used in the past two titles in the series, the truth is that the locked core temp values and I suspect more has had an impact on the physics. That impact has not, in terms of pure simulation, not been for the better. That's not to say that the physics are poor, but they have certainly taken a step backwards when compared to the two past titles, with a lack of the nuance and subtle detail present in the past now noticeable in its absence. The end result is a certain homogeny across the vehicles based on drive-train, with the majority now being of a tail-happy nature.

    One area that has improved is the impact a very wet surface has on tyres when you start a wet race you are automatically on wet tyres, and the effect of deep puddles in now closer to that of ACC, and as a result more accurate, this, however, is undone on races in which the weather changes to dry. It’s not undone because of any core physics issues, but rather a deliberate design problem, the contentious choice to automatically change from wet to dry tyres while you are driving means you don't know at what point that change has been made. This results in puddles suddenly becoming a game of chance, 'am I still on wets and OK?' or 'am I now on dry and the puddle had to be avoided at all cost?'. The only way to know is to try it, and if you are wrong then you going to be facing the other direction. Not only does this feel unfair, but it's potentially confusing to those the title is trying to attract, it’s a loss of agency that simply wasn't needed, and I suspect will be seen by some as a bug, particularly given that the automatic tyre swap is not explained at any point when you are playing.

    SMS does deserve credit however for the improvements in FFB feel and ease of set-up with wheels (despite some not working at launch) as the out of the box feel is demonstrably better, and easier to tweak (despite no explanation given as to what the values you are adjusting actually do). The end result is the more vehicles I try in PC3, the more this becomes apparent that the physics have not overall moved forward, with the end result being that it now falls into a middle ground between the likes of GT/FM and past PC titles, AC and ACC. Oh, I almost forgot to add, the damage is now purely visual, and has no impact on the cars handling at all.

    Racing Simulation 7

    The AI in Project Cars 3 has improved over the past two titles, despite the very granular sliders being replaced by a simple set of steps from Easy to Legendary. The nervous, twitching found in the past title is now almost totally absent, and the pack will race both you and itself and will make mistakes. However issues still do remain, some of which I suspect is down to the bizarre car groupings, and some down to issues that remain with the AI itself. This is most evident at the start of races and at any very slow corner, with Cadwell Hill is an ideal location to see it. Here the AI will slow to a standstill through the very tight chicane and shuffle about as it works its way through. Much has also been made of the AI's slow pace early in the career, however, this does seem to be deliberate, as when you move up in the career and in free-race, the AI pace picks up noticeably, however, they are also far quicker in the wet in comparison to the dry.
    Motorsport Simulation 5
    Unfortunately the Motorsport Simulation element of Project Cars 3 takes a major step back from its roots in the last two titles. Gone are pit-stops, tyre wear and fuel use, and as a result, so are the strategic choices that are core to motorsport simulation. However, the cull doesn't stop here, the removal of timed events, even in free race removes a very common form of race type and one that's not reserved for the likes of 12 and 24-hour races, anyone who has been to a club level race day will know that a good number of races are run under 20 or so minute durations. It’s the same with the maximum lap count, which is now limited to 99 laps, removing the option of recreating the Indy 500 for example. Now while the new audience SMS is targeting may not need or understand those who do use they options, it’s a strange design choice to make, given the claimed Motorsport focus of Project Cars 3 in the pre-release marketing. I have however saved the worst offender until last, and that's the utter mess that the new car groupings have resulted in creating. Project Cars 2 was arguably the best title on the market in terms of getting this right across multiple motorsport disciplines, that all gets thrown out of the window with GT4 cars mixed in with classic race cars, Stock Cars, Touring Cars and a sole WRX car, right across the board it’s an utter mess. Now don't get me wrong, some people like to mix odd classes together, but in PC2 we had the option to create multi-class races that matched motorsport reality, and it was a choice you made, now it's forced on you and the result is an unbalanced mess, and once again removal of player agency. Finally, we get to the weather and the four slots we had in the past are now reduced to two, reducing the range of conditions you can include in a race, as well as exact date and time is reduced to simply picking the season and Morning, Afternoon, etc. Oh well, at least we can now pick the staring track condition such as dry, wet, sodden, etc.

    Accessibility 8

    An increased level of accessibility was one of SMS's stated goals with Project Cars 3, and in that regard they have managed to hit the target, the wheel and gamepad use out of the box are both good, with gamepad being a major change for the series, in that it is now truly pick-up and play. Gamepad accessibility does need the caveat that this has been achieved by putting in place locked assists for countersteering and steering, not that this is any different to the likes of GT or FM in that regard. Personally I would rate the gamepad use as just below GTS, which given how tricky it was in past Project Cars titles, is a significant step forwards.

    The new career mode is also far more accessible to those moving over from more arcade focused titles, with a focus on a gamified progression, rather than something akin to how career progression works in motorsport, giving the advantage of being able to sample lots of different tracks all over the globe form the start. The balance of reward and money gained in the career to unlock, buy and upgrade cars seems well balanced at the roughly 15-hour point I am at. The ability to be able to still run any car on any track (in stock, un-upgraded form) still exists in both practice and free-race modes, which provides a nice balance between the two directions. Accessibility is, however, let down by a lack of explanation for some areas, as already mentioned no explanation is made of the tyres changing from wet to dry during races, leaving the player to either work it out or remain confused. Now do many of the settings get explained either, with the FFB settings as one example getting zero explanation.

    Core features have also been removed, such as seat adjustment and UDP, while others such as camera shake, look to apex have been reduced to simple values or on/off options, rather than the granular options we had previously. Thankfully at least FOV adjustment is still in place. One of the most important issue with accessibility, however, is in the lack of balance that exists between the single-player and on-line scheduled events, as the career runs at 2 to 5 lap duration and as a result the AI opposition for many will be an inconvenience to be muscled past, the scheduled events are in contrast 8 to 15 laps in duration, running an average of 15 to 20 minutes and will not work if the same approach is taken, and nothing in the title exists to bridge that gap for the player. Now it’s currently not an issue, but that may well change as the full launch date arrives and more 'casual' players get on-board.

    Content 7

    If you are coming to Project Cars 3 new to the series, then it looks to have a massive amount of content, however, once you look at the previous title that starts to become a little less clear, as despite new tracks and cars appearing in this iteration of the series, more has actually been removed. In particular, the loss of all rally-cross locations, all but one of the rallycross cars, the ice arena & track, Spa and LeMans are significant. The result is actually fewer cars and fewer track locations than Project Cars 2 had at the end of its life! That certainly bucks the expected trend of a series within a console generation. Plenty has been added to this iteration however, from the largely throwaway driver creation, which in reality at launch, has very few real options and results in a rather lower-resolution driver present in the car.

    The upgrade system is however solid and functional, one issue it does have is, despite being a spiritual successor to the Shift series, this version actually lacks a lot of what was good about upgrades in that series, no engine swaps and no visual changes for aero-kits or other similar modifications. The livery editor is, however, a basic, but very functional addition, and does allow the creation of good looking liveries quickly and easily. Photo-mode has been improved and is significantly easier to use now, even if it does lack the final edge of the best on the market and the career made is undeniably expansive in its size. So overall a lot of good stuff added, but I can't help feeling that this is closer to a new take on Project Cars 2 rather than a true next iteration in a series, as such the muddled identity of Project Cars 3 once again bites itself.

    Value 7

    I'm coming at this as a fan of the Project Cars series and as such any value score has to be tempered by the sheer volume of recycled content it contains, as well as despite the inclusion of new cars and track, the fact that the final count for both is lower than Project Cars 2. If you are however coming to this new to the series then feel free to add an additional point to the value score, as taken in isolation Project Cars 3 offers a massive amount to do with a great track roster (despite the loss of Spa and LeMans) and a well-curated car list, its career is traditional in a 'game' sense and the on-line works and works well, with the addition of daily, weekly and monthly challenges adding to the lifespan.

    Summary

    Project Cars 3 is an enjoyable racing title that sits firmly between the likes of GT and FM and 'dry' sims like AC, ACC and most significantly the past two Project Cars titles. It’s this latter point that is its potential downfall, as the confusion that has been created in marketing this as a numbered title in the series rather than a spin-off title, along with the marketing claims (that do not hold up) of it being all the sim you could want, have potentially harmed the success of what is, in fact, a title with a lot to do, and what it does do is enjoyable. Only time will tell what the success of this new direction will be, and what the future of the series itself will be,

    I just can't help feeling that had this have been approached correctly in its marketing and communication, this would be a title that was being praised as a more accessible Project Cars spin-off title, rather than as a confused, poorly communicated title that has not brought sim-racers and non-sim racing race fans together, but if anything has further divided them, and entrenched that divide. Turning that around now rests with SMS, if they are able or willing to do that remains to be seen.
     
    SDSmurf, Corsa, Gr8_Lakes and 13 others like this.
  13. Tired Tyres

    Tired Tyres

    Messages:
    10,716
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Nice review. I'll pick it up when it's in a sale. Maybe
     
    John Wells and Scaff like this.
  14. MikeV27

    MikeV27 Premium

    Messages:
    2,334
    Location:
    Canada
    I really like how you score different parts of the game. Your reviews are very good, thank you.
     
  15. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Many thanks both, glad you like them.
     
    John Wells likes this.
  16. MagpieRacer

    MagpieRacer Premium

    Messages:
    12,382
    Location:
    England
    Excellent review. Even if I do think you've been very generous on the motorsport simulation score.
     
    r_outsider and John Wells like this.
  17. doblocruiser

    doblocruiser

    Messages:
    5,765
    Location:
    France
    I enjoy your reviews Scaff :tup: Excellent work. Are you considering to review Dakar'18 too?
     
    John Wells and MikeV27 like this.
  18. Jezza819

    Jezza819

    Messages:
    1,624
    Location:
    United States
    I can't watch the video until tonight. But I'm a little surprised at the racing simulation score because it sounds a little high to me based on what I've seen from videos. Not only in yours from a few days ago but in others I've seen, it looks like you just beat and bash and bulldoze your way to the front with almost no penalty or negative consequence from it. In other games somebody is going off track or spinning out with THAT much contact. Also kerbs don't seem to have much effect as other games. I think it was in SMS's own preview videos of the Corvette race car and the Mercedes GT3 where the cars were just riding all over the kerbs then going on like nothing happened. One of my biggest bad habits in racing is hoping on the throttle while I'm on a kerb which loses the car. That doesn't seem to happen in PC3. Again I'm basing this on just the videos I've seen so far.

    Maybe I'm nit picking too much right now and 7 is sort of lower middle of the road which might be right, I don't know.
     
    Pfei and John Wells like this.
  19. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Thanks, I think the five is about right, and quite a drop from PC2.

    hanks, yep it’s on the list, just need to get WRC out of the way and I can start working on the backlog and retro titles again (may sneak a retro one in between).

    Most of the videos have focused on the Road E and D in career, which are very slow and passive, once you get past them or use free-race, it’s a lot more challenging.

    Curbs would fall under the driving simulation rather than racing (as that’s just AI), and while not perfect at all, they can upset the car enough to lose it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  20. NLxAROSA

    NLxAROSA Premium

    Messages:
    7,841
    Location:
    Netherlands
    With regards to the automatic tyre switching: I think there's an audio cue from the Crew Engineer along the lines of 'it's getting wet, we can make some changes to the car, blah blah'. Same when track is drying up. Of course you're screwed if you turned the Crew Engineer off. :lol:
     
    Scaff likes this.
  21. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
    NLxAROSA, twoskodas, sirjim73 and 2 others like this.
  22. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Which I do, as its very annoying.
     
    MagpieRacer and NLxAROSA like this.
  23. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    WRC 9

    Full Review


    WRC9 6.png





    Intro
    Just days before the actual WRC restarts again, following the chaos of Covid-19 we have a new WRC title to go with it. What new does it bring over last year’s title, and is it worth picking up? Let's take a look.

    Driving Simulation: 8.5
    The team at KT have once again further refined the handling model and force feedback for this latest version of the WRC series, and once again managed to raise the benchmark. They have improved upon the feel of weight in the cars, provided better feel from the tyres and improved the suspension model. On top of this, the handbrake seems to have been tweaked to give an even more progressive feel. The end result is a series of small, but significant improvements in the physics engine that has resulted in a clear improvement in terms of the physics engine. These improvements feed into the FFB excellently and the way WRC 9 communicates the level of grip, as well as the change in grip across different surfaces and over the course of a stage is a benchmark for rally titles, despite the need to tweak the FFB settings from the default, as certainly for my T300 they are too heavy and have too much drag as standard. However, combine these changes with the dynamic weather system introduced in WRC 8, the impact that bumps and undulations have in unsettling the car as speeds rise and you have, in my view, the new benchmark for handling, physics and Force Feedback in rally titles. One of the only issues is that, while improved, collision detection can occasionally be off.

    Racing Simulation: 7
    As with last year’s edition of the series, judging the speed of the AI remains difficult, as almost none of the gameplay is head to head, leaving just the Super Special Stages to use as a comparison. The AI is generally competent and fair, with a reasonable range of settings to match your own ability to.

    Motorsport Simulation: 9
    Fundamentally unchanged from WRC 8, the motorsport simulation element of WRC 9 is simply one of the best around in terms of how well it recreates the motorsport it's licenced from. As you would expect it has the full range of events from the WRC calendar included, with a solid amount of stage miles for each. Its career mode covers the feeder series from WRC Junior, WRC2, and WRC3 and into WRC itself. A full team management career is the centre of the single-player, and while you can run a career without it, you would be missing out on quite a bit in doing so. Not only are the staff in place to be managed, but they also have an impact on your performance, combined with a very extensive R&D tree, manufacturers to keep happy, reliability testing to complete, historic races to compete in and rest days to manage. In fact, it's so busy your team members get exhausted and need to be cycled in and out). Add in the always excellent stage design, which includes epic stages, which are the longest included in any rally title, stages that capture the unique nature of each location and are as narrow and challenging as they should be. This is particularly true of the three new locations, Japan, New Zealand and Kenya, with New Zealand being the standout for me. Add in manual wipers and light, manual handbrake starts with the correct timing start as you cross the timing line, the ability to run seriously heavy damage, with a 'perma-damage option that will stop you restarting and it’s a rally motorsport fans dream. In short WRC9, just like F1 2020, are the current benchmark for motorsport simulation, neither are perfect, but they do set the standard for everyone else.

    Accessibility: 7
    Accessibility has improved for this year's edition, with gamepad support better out of the box, and new 'hints' added to key sections of the title, it’s small but much-needed improvements. However, the default FFB settings are still too high and have too much drag. One area worth mentioning is that it still runs at 30fps, which I know is an automatic 'no' for some, however, it is a locked 30fps, with zero screen tearing and excellent frame-pacing and I certainly have no issue with it at all.

    Content: 8.5
    It seems odd that we have got used to the hundreds of miles of stages across every event location in the calendar that has become the hallmark of the WRC series. Combined with the huge testing area and the staggering number of training areas within the training programme added last year and of course all the cars and teams from the feeder series and WRC itself. This year the number of legendary and special rally cars has increased and a challenge mode has been added, using training locations, and special events to build a tiered series of challenges to complete. Add in the career mode, eSport options, and online, as well as regular challenges and options as to how you run the career and WRC 9 offers a simply staggering amount of content. Alone it’s enough to keep you busy, but we also know that it will be added to via DLC with more stages being added to Finland and Portugal, as well as a new concept car and photomode, all of which will be free.

    Value: 8
    WRC 9 offers a huge amount of content for the money, add in that the upcoming DLC is free and it offers excellent value for money, while a single legendary car and Super Special Stage (from Spain, which is no longer on the calendar) is locked behind the early access special edition, this does little to dent the impressive value it offers.

    Summary
    The hardest question to answer around WRC 9 is if it offers enough over last year’s edition to warrant picking up? I personally think it does, with the improved physics and Force Feedback, along with the new locations, challenge mode and upcoming DLC offering sufficient to be worth the price. That does, however, need to be measured against the fact that I'm a massive rally fan and fan of the series. Only you can decide if it offers enough over WRC 8 to be worth it, but if you do go for it, I would be surprised if you ended up disappointed.

    Full WRC 9 Video Playlist
     
  24. MagpieRacer

    MagpieRacer Premium

    Messages:
    12,382
    Location:
    England
    Excellent review as ever. Sounds like one I'll have to be picking up at some point soon.

    You touched on it in the review regarding pad control, do the physics improvements translate well through the pad? I really struggled with WRC8 on a pad compared to Dirt Rally 2.0 which felt a but more weighty and jntuitive to me personally.
     
    Scaff likes this.
  25. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    They certainly seemed to for me, but I’m not the most experienced pad user these days.
     
    MagpieRacer likes this.
  26. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Inertial Drift

    Full Review




    6.png

    Intro
    Inertial Drift is a retro alternate future drifting title, set in an alternate version of the '90s in which all cars are electric, can phase-shift through each other to avoid crashing and are capable of absurdly huge angles of drift at the drop of a hat. Oh and everything in cell-shaded!

    Driving Simulation 1
    So given that its fairly safe to say it's not a sim, and you would be bang on the mode, so for Driving Simulation we will give it a 1 and move n to talk about how it drives rather than how accurate it is. Inertial Drift's unique selling point is its twin-stick control, with the left stick used for steering and the right stick used for drift angle, in reality, you will actually use the drift stick to steer, sideways, a lot; and the steering stick exists to fine-tune the drift once you are in it. You certainly can't actually steer using it. What raises Inertial Drift beyond this basic concept is the genuinely different way in which the cars in it not only handle, but how rapidly the initiate drifts, the maximum angle they can attain ad what you need to do to bot initiate and recover from a drift Each and every car needs a very different approach and you will need to get to grips with each and master them as individual challenges, something that raises the unique control and handling model above a simple one-dimensional arcade model.

    Racing Simulation 7
    The AI offers a solid challenge while remaining reasonably fair, as you can imagine, Inertial Drift does feature rubber-banding, but its actually quite mild and never really obvious. This does mean you can't go pinballing down the track and expect to have them reeled back into you.

    Motorsport Simulation 2
    Once you get past the fact that Inertial Drift was never going to offer a simulation of any traditional motorsport besides a passing similarity to togue battles (hence the rating of 2) and embrace the alternate world its set in, you have a solid range of activities to experience. The career portion of it is based around a group of friends on a road trip to try out five different locations on the 'World Grand Prix' before competing in it, which is actually a separate menu option to the career. You get to experience free-runs, drift style events called 'style', ghost battles and 1 v 1 races.

    Accessibility 6
    Accessibility is mainly going to initially boil down to how well you get on with the twin-stick approach to driving and drifting, I found it gelled quite quickly, but I can imagine that for some it simply will not work, hence the score of six. If you are able to adapt to it, you then have the added challenge of the different approaches each car takes to being driven, and again some of these you may adapt to immediately, others you may struggle with and simply just not be able to get to grip with at all. I do have one massive gripe as well, which may seem petty, but for a title as utterly stunning to look at as Inertial Drift, the lack of replays is a staggering oversight, I want to see what this looks like from as many angles as I can, and this omission irks me a lot.

    Content 6
    With 20 tracks set across five different locations, featuring a mix of circuit and point-to-point variants, combined with a similar number of cars, all loosely based on models from our reality, Inertial Drift offers a reasonable amount of content, and you get plenty to do with it, with the career mode telling a different story for each of the friends, an arcade mode and the Grand Prix mode, it provides a decent about of depth for an arcade racer.

    Value 7
    With prices seeming to range from £15 to £20 across different platforms right now, Inertial Drift offers reasonable value for money, the main question to ask yourself is it cheap enough to risk the love/hate split that I suspect the twin-stick controls may end up creating.

    Summary
    In summary its rather ironic that a short while ago I was lamenting that no-one had done a solid cell-shaded arcade racer since Auto Modellista, and out of the able (well to me anyway) one pops up. I have to be honest the aesthetic of it won me over from first sight, and it does look stunning and runs incredibly smoothly. The twin-stick controls and the adjustability when drifting are for, me, sublime with some cars and utterly frustrating with others. Now that may just be something that I learn to master with other cars, but it could also be balancing issues. As such its difficult to outright recommend at full price, but given the relatively low-cost point, for many, it will be worth a punt. Now when it gets to sale prices, I would suggest jumping straight in, I can pretty much assure you that you will not have driven anything like it before. Oh one caveat to all of that is if you are a big drifting and manga fan, you may as well just buy it, you will almost certainly love it just for the aesthetic alone.

    Full Pure Arcade Titles Playlist
     
  27. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Art of Rally (PC)

    Initial Looks

     
    Whitestar, John Wells and NLxAROSA like this.
  28. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

    Messages:
    24,551
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Art of Rally

    Full Review




    AoR 6.png

    Intro
    Art of Rally comes from the sale developer behind the wonderful looking, but exceedingly tough Absolute Drift. While sharing a very similar aesthetic, it’s a much more accessible title that looks wonderful. The minimalistic, but colourful look, great sound design and overall charm make for a title that from an aesthetic standpoint ticks a lot of boxes, but what does it play like?

    Driving Simulation 4
    The driving simulation behind Art of Rally has far more depth that I had initially thought it would offer, the 'hard for the sake of it’ feel of Absolute Drift has been replaced with a model that offers a lot of depth and is based heavily in the basics of real-world physics. Let’s be honest it’s a rare arcade title that makes you consider understeer. This depth combined with the well-implemented handbrake adds a lot of depth to Art of Rally and also means that a one-size fits all approach to the cars and stages will not work.

    Racing Simulation 7
    Art of Rally doesn’t have you racing head to head with any AI, so all I have to judge this against is the stage times and the AI difficulty level. These offer a wide range of challenges allowing anyone to progress and making it easy to match the AI's pace to suit your own skill level, the AI will also make mistakes that end up in retirement, some of the explanations for which are fun, as they include the likes of retiring due to lack of caffeine.

    Motorsport Simulation 4
    Offering a stripped back and minimal approach to rallying suits the Art of Rally's whole vibe, and while it is minimal it has more than enough to offer a good degree of simulation. It groups the progression and rally’s into years, with the car classes changing as you move through the years to match and providing a brief history for each car and year, add in a multi-stage approach with repairs being needed and Art of Rally, for me, manages to provide the exact level of Motorsport Simulation that it needs, any less and it would feel too shallow, any more and it would be at odds with the whole feel of the title itself.

    Accessibility 9
    Simply put Art of Rally is incredibly easy to get into and feeds you the content and challenge in a very well balanced manner. It combines great controls on the gamepad, with an easy to get into but challenging to master physics model and a well thought out user interface that just works. You also have the choice of automatic or manual gears as well as a range of driver aids to use if you want. Even small things such as how anything blocking you view from the top down camera turns transparent is just so well-considered and implemented. As a package, it puts many AAA titles to shame in terms of how it provides the right balance to draw you in and keep you playing while providing a range of challenges that can be adjusted to suit just about anyone.

    Content 8
    With 60 stages, half of which are reverse versions, and a good length to all of them, taking in locations in Finland Germany, Sardinia, Norway and Japan you get a good range of surfaces and layouts to experience with your chosen rally car. And what a choice of cars you have, with 50 cars spanning the 60's right up to the 90's present, including both Group S and Group B. They may be using made-up names (which are all excellent little puns - The Volvo 240 is the Turbo Brick), but you will instantly recognise the likes of the Mk1 and Mk2 Escort, the RS200, Lancia 037 and original Mini, I will pop a link to the full list in the comments below. Add in a range of game modes, a nice replay tool and an excellent photo-mode and you have a massive amount of content, with only more modern cars missing from the car roster.

    Value 9
    Given how polished the whole package is, the range of cars and stages, the game modes and the depth it offers that it’s available for under £20, Art of Rally just offers excellent value for money. It’s an easy nine for value.

    Summary
    In summary, I can only think of two things that could be held against Art of Rally, the lack of post 90's cars and that it’s currently only out on PC. These are both things that could change, the first by DLC< which I personally would not hesitate to buy, and a console release is given good hope by the fact that Absolute Drift did get a console release. Neither of these factors, however, take away from Art of Rally simply being a wonderfully complete, utterly charming and accessible title that offers a heap of content for a low price, and as such deserves to be a success. It's may well be, for me, one of the finest racing releases this year, it’s certainly the best arcade one by quite a margin.
     
    sausageman54 likes this.
  29. sausageman54

    sausageman54

    Messages:
    105
    Looking forward to a console release for Art of Rally!
     
    Scaff likes this.