Reviews

SEGA Rally Online Arcade – Review

Xbox Live Arcade Title
Price: 800 Microsoft Points.
Singleplayer: Yes
Multiplayer: Yes

SEGA Rally has made many fond memories for gamers around the world. Thrashing mates in the local Arcade was an awesome experience, and back in 2007 SEGA decided to bring back the ultimate arcade rally game onto consoles and it did pretty well, but not SEGA are back with a Xbox Live Arcade title to wow gamers.

SEGA Rally isn’t for those looking for a deep rally sim, or for that matter any real degree of realism at all. Instead it retains the incredibly responsive and loose handling that made the series so popular to begin with. It’s the ultimate Arcade experience; simply move the stick and the car responds instantly, and the fact that the car is on dirt has little difference, it can still stick to a turn and slide around at stupid speeds. Braking is also something that you won’t be using often with only the sharpest of turns requiring it, and even then only a tap of the brake is needed as powerslides in this game keep speed better than anything else. Different surfaces have little effect on car handling so snow isn’t much different from mud, again this reinforces the idea that this isn’t a game for anyone looking for a technical experience or a sim. It’s a fiesty, fun and fiery game that doesn’t focus on skill, but on making you feel like a rally legend who can slide cars around the tightest of corners while going flat-out.

Track deformation makes a return as well from the 2007 game, but with much less effect. As you lap around the circuits all that sliding and general unsafe driving forms lines through the mud and other terrain which effects your handling. However, they’ve gone too far when toning the effects of this down and not i’s not that noticeable, and with races only ever lasting a maximum of three laps the tracks never get much of a chance to change.

The cars themselves also offer little in the way of difference in terms of handling or even performance. Sure, there are small differences in acceleration and top end but they’re not that noticeable making car choice more of an aesthetic decision. This lack of real difference in performance means winning races is more focused on learning the tracks, getting the best lines and getting those slides right. You do have a good few rides to pick from with the classics like Subaru and Mitsubishi accounted for, along with a Baja Dune Buggy and other things. The overall selection isn’t that big though.

Thought SEGA Rally only costs 800 points it is lacking in the content area. The main singleplayer element is the Championship mode which challenges you to get from 22nd to 1st over three stages, and doing so nets you a one on one race, but the entire championship can be completed in around ten minutes, and you’ll be racing the same three stages each time you replay it. There’s also a Time Trial and Quick race to be had, but with just five tracks in the game they do become repetitive quickly and the AI aren’t the most interesting opponents, though they can be pretty rowdy.

Things do pick up online where you can race with real players and AI. It’s a simple online system and does feel a little barebones, but racing with real people does make this game come alive and getting the right opponents results in tight races and plenty of great action, but you’ll get bored with racing the same tracks over and over.

The Good:
+ Sliiiiiiiiiiiiide!
+ Online is great fun.
+ So responsive!

The Bad:
– Not much content.
– Track deformation feels like a wasted opportunity
– It can feel like you need to real skill to win races due to the easy handling.

Scores:

Graphics: 8
Bright and colorful suits the Arcade nature of the game, and cars become splattered in mud as races progress.

Sound: 7
The music is mostly forgettable and the cars don’t sound that great either.

Story: 0
Wha?

Gameplay: 7.5
Old school SEGA Rally fun at its best, but without depth of handling or terrain it feels a little lacking, but for those looking to get away from sim racers it’s perfect.

Lifespan: 6
Five tracks and just a handful of cars don’t equal much pure content. You’ll get a few hours from this, mostly from the online side. For singleplayer it has not got much to offer.

Overall: 7.5
Fiesty and fast,SEGA Rally returns to XBLA bringing great online fun with it as well as the classic handling, but even at 800 points it needs more tracks to balance the package out. As a singleplayer game it lacks, but as a multiplayer game it brings thrilling races.

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2 replies »

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