First thing with the game you note is that you need to set-up windows-live account and log on to it - or you can't save your game progress. At the first log-on the game loaded a bunch of updates - alltogether with all failed logins and hassle the first start took good two hours...
After the initial logins, the game starts and logs on to the live account in few minutes - you just need to keep pressing enter at approximately 10 occasions (sounds stupid - and trust me, it also feels and is stupid).
The interface choosing the game options is graphically quite nice and intuitive - and seems to work well. What is _extremely_ annoying are the forced video clips and explanations - which cannot be skipped in any manner.
A bit back to windows live - unless one is playing multi-player game, I really fail to see point why should one log-on to the system every time starting the game. It is absolutely against my privacy consciousness that some third party (microsoft with codemasters) keep track on when I play, what I play, how I succeed (who I play with, in case of multiplay)... And - it's impossible to play the game off-line (so that the progress would be saved). The live-thing probably helps fighting illegal copying, but for us, who purchase legal copies, the burden is too high. Period.
Then to playing experience: absolutely fabulous. A lot of different tracks - nice graphics - and quite good touch in driving.
How the races develop & which car can be selected for which race is a bit of a mystery still - and compared to old Colin MacRae rally the total competition is not as clear - and there is no 'rally season', if you like.
* Game (playing experience) = fabulous
* Game loading (& mandatory Windows Live) = sucks
* Game interface = ~ok, except the mandatory videos
* Game tracks & development = quite nice, but not very intuitive