reviews\ Dec 16, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Total Immersion Racing - PC - Review

Car racing games have long been a mainstay of the gaming industry, and with so many of them out there it seems an almost impossible task to come up with something new and original. Some give you the option of building your car from the ground up, others have given you the ability to build your own tracks, and almost every other option under the sun has been offered by one game or another. So what is going to make TOTAL IMMERSION RACING stand out from the crowd?

How about an AI system that allows your computer opponents to learn the way that you drive and then act to counter that style? Yeah, even that has been done to a degree, but lets now add the Emotional factor to that equation. Yes, the AI drivers in TIR now show emotion! Heres how it works.

Each driver, either in real life or in the games AI, has individual strengths and weaknesses with regard to stamina, track knowledge, judgment, ect. These are converted to emotions, which can change during the course of a race depending on the interaction with other racers and situations. A driver may become AGGRESSIVE if he is blocked or another racer makes contact with him.

He may show CONFIDENCE if he overtakes another driver or causes him to commit an error, but this can easily become overconfidence! Other drivers may show DEFENSIVENESS, especially during the last lap of the race when he wants to protect his racing line. These emotions are shown during the game by small icons, watch these carefully and they may give you the edge you need to make a move depending on the other drivers emotions!

TIR follows a pretty standard Gameplay format, practice, qualify, and race, set in a weekend race format.

It is also very linear, you start out in the GT class driving your choice of two stock cars at one of five tracks. You must learn your driving line and get good enough to win some races before other classes of cars and additional tracks are unlocked for you. And here there are a couple of more neat features not usually found in other racing games. The first is your 'In Race Engineer,' that will help you make adjustments to your car during your practice sessions. During your practice, your 'Engineer' will come on each lap and make an adjustment to the car. It may be an adjustment to the gears or possibly the suspension or wings. At any point during the practice you may elect to stop and save those settings for the race, or you may also go in without the 'Engineer' and make your own adjustments. Second is the 'Race Team' factor. During your career you will be approached by several Race Teams offering you a race contract to race for their Team. When you accept an offer you will get a Team Manager that will offer advice during your career.

TIR is basically a single player game, with no Internet or LAN Multiplayer modes. It does allow for two players in head to head. TIR does offer several classes and many tracks in the single player mode and should provide some replay value. However, single player games are not as popular as multiplayer games were you can race online against other drivers from around the world!

All in all this game is average at best, even with the EMOTION factors added in. I was disappointed in the interaction between the Team Manager and your self, no video, just a static picture and a few lines of text ends up being your advice. This game may be suitable for those who do not or cannot race online, but probably would not be a top choice for the hard-core gamer.

Ovaldogs rating for this game is neutral, neither thumbs up or thumbs down.


Gameplay: 6.9
Linear Gameplay and a standard race weekend format would only rate this game as average, but then we must consider the added Emotion and Race Engineer features, both of which are pretty cool. But then again we have a weak interaction between the Team Manager and racer. Several things could have been much better, Manager Interaction, there is no Damage Physics at all, and the interface was a bit on the weak side.

Graphics: 7
Average at best is all that can be said here. With most computers out there able to push graphics far above the level of this game, it was disappointing to see graphics that looked more like they belonged on the original Playstation console. No damage was a bit disappointing to as were the 'sparks' that came with car to car contact.

Sounds: 6.5
Low sound quality was a real BUMMER, especially in a racing game where the right sounds can add so much to the experience. Here the sounds were thin and unconvincing, sorry but they just don't sound like real cars, and the collisions sound like slamming two soda cans together.

Difficulty: Easy
Easy enough to master, might be a good gamer for entry level gamers with no Internet or LAN hookups.

Concept: 8
TIR really has some good concepts, the driver emotion factor and in race engineer are both great features had they been delivered in a more rounded game. There are just too many other things that overshadow these two great features.

Multiplayer: N/A
No Internet or LAN multiplayer modes available.

Overall: 6.5
The two good features that this game has are overshadowed by the rest of the shortcomings, average graphics, poor sound quality, weak interface, no damage, and single player only, really limit this games potential for a larger audience. I really expected more from this title and would love to see the Emotions factor and the In Race Engineer moved on to other games of a more rounded nature. These two features do save this game from a much lower rating. I can't give it a thumbs up, but I can't give it a thumbs down either, so neutral it is.

This game may be OK for entry level gamers or those without Internet or LAN capabilities.

Above Average

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