SEGA brings my kind of racing back to the console with SEGA Rally Revo by focusing on the race and not on customizing your car. It’s really easy to get started, just pop in the game and select quick race, pick a track and a car and off you go against five other cars.
I must note at this point that driving in Rally Revo does have a steep learning curve. The controls are very easy to pickup, but controlling your car is another matter completely.
If you are anything like me, you’re going to come in last a lot as you bounce from wall to invisible wall trying to get the hang of sliding around the corners on the tracks. I tried to focus on that for my first few races, but eventually I started to look around even though I had yet to completely master driving.
The first thing I noticed was the track as I moved from muddy portions to hard packed ground. The car performed differently on each surface, and on my second lap I could see the tracks left behind by my car, especially on the muddy parts.
This is called GeoDeformation and the ruts actually effect how well you can drive over the same areas in later laps. Pretty cool huh?
It was at this point that I started playing around trying to make some really big ruts and got myself all turned around. The game does a nice job of visually warning you about upcoming turns by flashing an alert on the center of the screen, and it uses the same system of alerts to let me know that I was going the wrong way.
Besides the quick races, you can also choose timed races where you are the only car on the track trying to get the best time.
You can also download ghost cars that you race against and you can post your times online to see who can get the best time. The final area is the championship where you compete in three races each consisting of three laps on different tracks.
There are five areas where you can race including the muddy tropics, as previously mentioned, to safari tracks, to racing up north on tracks of ice and snow. The terrain consists pretty much of puddles, mud, snow, ice, and packed earth. In each of the five areas there are three tracks and when you play the championship you can unlock those tracks in reverse. The terrain is pretty amazing even without the game remembering every single divot you tear into the earth, especially when you feel the performance differences between them.
There are about 30 cars in the game (some need to be unlocked) and you can select the type of transmission (manual or automatic) and the tires. The choice of tires is simply off-road, which gives you better control in the turns, and road tires which provide better speed and acceleration.
The cars drive on a central pivot and the default controls include accelerate, steer, handbrake and break/reverse, along with changing the camera angle. If you do manual transmission, you add in shift up and shift down. Configuration option two adds in a button for accelerate and break. Configuration option three adds in steering using the sixaxis controller for the PS3. The game also supports a number of racing wheel controllers, which might be the way to go for a true racing fan.
Of course the real fun comes in when you add in online play. Who wants to race against five AI drivers when you can race against living people that actually make real mistakes? If you don’t have a high speed Internet connection, you can race against one friend using a vertical split screen.
Some people may want more than 30 cars and 30 tracks, and I concede that for long term play that is a negative. On the other hand, I personally really like the return to racing games that focus on the racing, over customizing your ride, and lets you get right to the action and right into the mud. And I hope this is a trend for future racing games.