Top critical review
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Pro Street - Style Over Substance.
on 2 January 2008
I started out really quite enjoying this game but it has quickly descended into one of the worst racing game I have ever played.
Starting with the interface, one word, appalling. The progression markers turn yellow as you dominate each race day which would be fine if the race day selection wasn't also yellow making it all too easy to loose track of what race day is selected.
Customisation and tuning are big features of this game, however there is NO explanation in the tuning menu that I can see for what the results of your tinkering are likely to be, making everything very much trial and error. What exactly is changing the cam shaft timing supposed to do? don't look in the manual or in the interface, because it sure as hell wont tell you.
Same can be said for the purchase of cars. Good luck finding a good car for each of the differing race types. Blow all your money on some American muscle, upgrade it to the max, and only when you get to the race do you find out it only has 3 gears and runs out of steam half way through a 1/2 mile drag making it utterly useless. Goodbye money, and have fun earning back everything you just wasted by having to go back and repeat completed races just to make your cash back (or just restart your entire career).
The developers also tout their wonderful damage system. So proud are they in fact of this system that the tracks are littered with ridiculously placed objects, tires, concrete blocks, lamp post etc. that will punish even the smallest mistake with heavy repair costs. Total your car completely and you have to sit through a tedious slow mo review of your crash and expensive wreck and are unable to move on or or click past this "cut scene" until the entire thing has been played out, in SLOW MO, just to rub it in that little bit more YAWN!
Of course crashing would be less regular if the controls were better. In the speed challenges there is some commentary beforehand about being delicate with the controls. Yes, good idea, however it would have been nice if this was possible. Move the steering control a minute amount does nothing, move it a minute amount more does nothing, move it a minute amount MORE and watch you car lurch horrible across the track. No in between, it feels like it's all or nothing. Admittedly this is most prevalent in the speed challenge type races, but these are the races were steering response is most vital of all as sudden lurches at 200 mph invariably completely total your car, forcing you once more into yawnovision slow mo replay.
The very worst of the worst however is Drift mode "racing". This is by far the most tedious and pointless racing mode I have ever encountered. I know many seem to like it though, so if you like Drifting around, then this game will be more enjoyable for you. Personally I hated every second of it, and again I found the controls and implementation woefully lacking.
Shame of it is, that the normal racing is actually very fun, the graphics are certainly pretty good in HD, the opponent AI is not the worst I have seen, but the game rapidly resorts to "gimmick" modes, annoying street cred styling (I bet everyone turns off the announcer within 5 mins) and some dreadfully designed tracks.
Overall, very disappointing, role on GT5.