The Beautiful Letdown of Auto Modellista

2,424
United States
Heaven's Fence
Anathema-Kure
Justin Jectlol
I do have to say this is one of my favorite racing games of all time. The art style isn't for everyone, but the game has an inescapable charm to it. If my copy hadn't gone kaput (along with my PS2 and now my PS3) I'd try to finish it 100%.
 
1,737
United States
Massachusetts
Ettick_
I love this game. I know it has faults, many in fact, but I just can't get over it. It's just beautiful. I mean look at it. I don't know of another racing game that looks this good, and especially one that has aged this well.

I actually really enjoy the handling model. I think it's a great compromise between realism and ease of use. Sure, it's a little slippery, and you can slide a ton without really having to worry about spinning, but sliding isn't really fast, and to go fast you really have to be precise and careful of how much slip angle you take into corners. It feels almost like a game designed for a wheel, perhaps in an arcade cabinet, than for a pad.

But few people have actually tried setting competitive times, as that's not really what the average gamer would do, so nobody really knows how this game is on the limit, and how it's actually a lot of fun when you get used to it. It's really intuitive if you're used to more realistic handling models. And it's much easier and requires much less knowledge on how cars handle than more realistic handling models.

Basically, I think competitive driving is actually what feels best and most fun in the handling model, and, since this game wasn't really aimed at competitive drivers, it ends up being misunderstood a lot and given a lot of hate, and it ends up just having the wrong handling model. It's not a bad handling model. It's just the wrong one. I think this game would have been much better received if it was released in and designed for an arcade setting, in arcade cabinets, where people might care more about getting good at the game, like they do with the Initial D arcade games. That would have been much more fitting for the handling model.

So yeah, it's a letdown in some ways, but I think it's more beautiful than letdown. Definitely worth playing.

P.S. If anyone wants to compare times my convos are open ;)
 
1,281
Italy
Naples
niroxxe
NickRoss98
I remember I cleared the GameCube version of this game on the Dolphin emulator. It does have its faults like its slippery handling, but it's a great racing game with lots of style and flair, fun gameplay, really good customization, and an absolutely gorgeous graphical style that (unfortunately) few developers have bothered with.
 
19
United States
Mississippi
This was one of the main games I played as a kid. I still enjoy it to this day. I have the Gamecube version, which is the best version. I've never played the PS2 version, so I don't know how bad the physics are in it. On GC, they're certainly unique. I actually enjoy it, and this is coming from somebody who constantly complains about physics in racing games. Auto Modellista was a spin on the genre, so I'm not expecting it to be similar to anything else. I do agree that there's hardly any challenge to the game. But the physics are fun and obviously car customization is as well. I really wish Capcom would come back and release a sequel, since there's been nothing like it since. It struck a balance between regular arcade racers (stuff like Ridge Racer) and "arcade" racers (Need for Speed).

You're gonna go the whole review without even mentioning how you can customize your damn garage? Come on, @glassjaw :)
I used to do this all the time in the game. This truly is a unique feature.

I don't care what anyone thinks, I loved it!

I even had a poster of this game
What does it look like?

I love this game. I know it has faults, many in fact, but I just can't get over it. It's just beautiful. I mean look at it. I don't know of another racing game that looks this good, and especially one that has aged this well.

I actually really enjoy the handling model. I think it's a great compromise between realism and ease of use. Sure, it's a little slippery, and you can slide a ton without really having to worry about spinning, but sliding isn't really fast, and to go fast you really have to be precise and careful of how much slip angle you take into corners. It feels almost like a game designed for a wheel, perhaps in an arcade cabinet, than for a pad.

But few people have actually tried setting competitive times, as that's not really what the average gamer would do, so nobody really knows how this game is on the limit, and how it's actually a lot of fun when you get used to it. It's really intuitive if you're used to more realistic handling models. And it's much easier and requires much less knowledge on how cars handle than more realistic handling models.

Basically, I think competitive driving is actually what feels best and most fun in the handling model, and, since this game wasn't really aimed at competitive drivers, it ends up being misunderstood a lot and given a lot of hate, and it ends up just having the wrong handling model. It's not a bad handling model. It's just the wrong one. I think this game would have been much better received if it was released in and designed for an arcade setting, in arcade cabinets, where people might care more about getting good at the game, like they do with the Initial D arcade games. That would have been much more fitting for the handling model.

So yeah, it's a letdown in some ways, but I think it's more beautiful than letdown. Definitely worth playing.

P.S. If anyone wants to compare times my convos are open ;)
Exactly this. And sure, you can compare times with me.
 
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377
United Kingdom
London
fatkidgoblin
fatkidgoblin
Still got a Japanese copy of this, as I had Japanese PS2 to play GT3 on as soon as possible. Loved the cel-shaded take of real life cars - thank Zelda: Wind Waker for that -as I thought it was a great alternative to GT. The body kit parts and decorating your garage with signs, badges, etc was the highlight of this game. Those aspects which were unique at the time and slightly made up for the dodgy handling and limited tracks. I contemplated getting the EU version with the extra cars included, just to customise them. To me it wasn't really a racer - I had GT for that - It was just a fun, make your own design: car and garage. Good memories.
 
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333
United States
New York
Bandit_Ra_X
I never got a chance to play this when I was younger, so its cool to see some of the background of this game. I will pick this up when I have a free moment.

Keep up the great work with Mirror Mode, @glassjaw ! I hope you could do R: Racing Evolution in the future.
 
1,640
PletdeKoe
I liked the game a lot but the handling model just made me not play it that much. After some time I traded the game. Still wished I didn't though as the game has great charm and you want to really like it.
 
1,971
United States
Seattle, WA
I still have my old PS2 and this game, one day I vow to unbox it again and play this. It was my first online racing experience with all of my old friends from the GTH forums. The lag online was laughably bad but somehow we still had a great time racing together. The handling model was adjusted from the beta which many argued that it ruined the game. The physics model went from having more grip to a racing on ice feeling. Even though the physics were not it's strong point, the graphics, customization and online racing capability made this game far ahead of it's time.
 

ItsHim

Premium
1,312
Germany
Bavaria/Germany
The PS2 version and the GC version are two very different beasts if it comes to the handling model and included content like tracks.

The GC version is far more "unique", but if treated a bit like F-Zero at least I found heaps of enjoyment (and rage quits ;) though it misses some tracks.

Shame the reviewer didn't state which version he's got.

I'd recommend getting the GC version.
 
44,183
Australia
Australia
One of favs of all time. I ha the Japanses version in PS and Game Cube as well as the English versions.

I never got to check out the car community feature. Also, the music and vocal commentary was cool. If only it had GT's physics.

Touge racing, circuit, night, mixing up parts, colouring individual parts. Especially, rearranging all the items in my garages. Supreme game.
 
14
France
Paris
worldburns
If it wasn't for this game, I wouldn't learn about the Mitsuoka Orochi and the Jiotto Caspita's existence. In my eyes, this game was great.

Exactly! These are odd, the Orochi is an ugly monster in real life, but I'm really happy some passionate people were willing to put it in a video game.

automod06.jpg
 
It also featured a diverse, albeit short, track roster featuring Japanese racing mainstays like Tsukuba and Suzuka.
The PS2 version and the GC version are two very different beasts if it comes to the handling model and included content like tracks.

I have PS2 EU & JP versions and can't recall having seen Tsukuba in the game. Could it be only GC version had it? I can't seem to find a content list for different versions.

And what about online functionality? They removed it from western PS2 edition; was it present on western GC or Xbox versions?

It never got the second chance it deserved, although Capcom did take another stab at racing with the far less enticing Xbox-exclusive Group S Challenge a year later.

Why is that? I was looking for a copy of that one, should I keep my money? A track around Yoyogi park seems enticing to me.
 

glassjaw

Premium
1,469
United States
PA
pioneerspine
pioneerspine
I have PS2 EU & JP versions and can't recall having seen Tsukuba in the game. Could it be only GC version had it? I can't seem to find a content list for different versions.

My mistake! No Tsukuba in AM. I should have caught that while recording my capture...

And what about online functionality? They removed it from western PS2 edition; was it present on western GC or Xbox versions?

The western PS2 version actually did support it through Sega's Network Application Package, which was basically a middleware for early online games. I believe the Xbox one used Xbox Live, and I'm not sure the GC one supported any online play at all.

Why is that? I was looking for a copy of that one, should I keep my money? A track around Yoyogi park seems enticing to me.

I'd suggest you don't bother. It's like Capcom responded to AM's failure by making a game that was the total opposite -- entirely devoid of charm or anything that would make it remotely unique. And for any criticism you might give AM's physics, Group S' are undeniably worse. Even fewer tracks and cars than AM, though there is one bright spot. There's a Tokyo street circuit that replaces all the asphalt roads with dirt :lol:
 
291
Cuba
Miami, FL, CUBA
mistamontiel00
Auto Modellista US Spec NTSC-J restored online functionality was in a brief testing phase , I was able to participate but the guy vanished ={

Dreamy game indeed
 
14
France
Paris
worldburns
After reading the article and watching the video, I am considering getting this game. I've enjoyed Initial D and Wangan Midnight series. I'm also a fan of a few Capcom games.

If you want a smoother experience, emulation works pretty well, and you can tweak your controller's inputs sensibility better (let alone you have the choice of the controller).

And, it just looks gorgeous with anti-aliasing on. Here's a screenshot I just made (my car is the midnight blue R32 Skyline forcing its way against the NSX).

Auto.png
 
2,170
Australia
Sydney
Inferno_251
Nice job on this article and the Mirror Mode series. Having read the article on Auto Modellista a couple of times, I wonder if such a game could work if it were released today? (after addressing the issues and graphically updating it of course)