reviews\ Nov 30, 2005 at 7:00 pm

World Racing 2 - PC - Review

It is an all-too-familiar countdown – 3-2-1 GO!  The race is on and you are usually in the driver’s seat of some fancy car with no clue about handling, but hoping to survive and maybe even win the race. The first time in a racing game is usually when you decide if the game is a hit or miss. Tracks can be confusing, handling can be frustrating and the game can, generally, just offer up the same elements in highly repetitious fashion.

Ok, so World Racing 2 has some repetitive moments, but this is a game that – while seeming short, or just fast paced – let’s gamers have fun with a wide range of cars over some very nice graphical areas. It is not a particularly deep game, but it is quite entertaining.

PlayLogic, Synetic Racing Line and TDK Mediactive are behind the PC version of World Racing 2, a title that features a wide range of tracks, solid racing mechanics and some excellent graphics.

If you want features, this title has them in spades – with more than 90 car models from 17 different manufacturers, six environments, a career mode that has more than 120 mission races, realistic driving physics that use 200 parameters and a six-player multiplayer mode. At least that is what the box says. It’s one thing to state it blatantly on the box, but to back it up in a solid manner is another. World Racing 2 backs it up.

There are 10 avatars you can select from to represent you in the game. You begin with a licensing trial, which is important. The game has two modes of play – Career and Free Ride. You can’t unlock the tracks or cars for Free Ride until you have accrued points in the Career mode. And that means passing the licensing requirements, which consist of three courses – one in Italy, one in Florida and one in Hawaii. These are all time races and serve, more or less, to introduce you to the mechanics of the game.

The controls can be attached to either the keyboard, to a joystick or a gamepad. The latter was used in this review, and while the game did not have an in-game breakdown of the handling, it was easy to pick up. The game itself does not necessarily have difficulty levels, per se, but you can adjust the way the traffic flows in the single-player game to increase the challenge – going from minimal to full-on rush hour. Of course the tracks themselves offer challenges that you will have to overcome (there is a nice little jump you need to make in the third aptitude challenge that is tough unless you have the car cranking out all the RPMs possible), but for the most part you will breeze through the aptitude and get into the licensing and head-to-head with computer AI vehicles.

Free Ride is also the area that links to multiplayer, so you actually have to earn the right to use a network connection or the Internet to race against others.

Each mission also has other parameters you need to take into account – like damage percentage. In your first license test, you have a lap time limit of 1:36 and can only incur 4% damage during the race. The course is a bending road in Italy and your car is the Golf V GTI, a nice little box job that likely should not be zooming around pretending to be a race car, but still it handles well and does a nice job.

While some games punish racers who are seeing a course for the first time, World Racing 2 does not do that. The tracks have a feel to them that allows players to anticipate upcoming twists and turns, and there is a gauge built into the turns that acts as a speed indicator. Green means you have the appropriate speed for the corner; yellow is a caution and red means “get your stupid foot off the gas!” – or something like that. Powersliding corners is something you can do if you are carrying too much speed into the turn. There is also a map inset that shows you course sections.

Graphically this game is beautiful, from the scenery reflections dancing on the mirror finish of these cars to the environments themselves that sometimes try to steal glances at elements within rather than pay attention to the road. The crashes are semi-realistic but the damage you do is quick impressive – even when you are not supposed to be doing any damage to your car. Seeing the fiberglass bumper cut in two with part dragging is good stuff, although if you had to see the repair bill, you might think otherwise.

And be prepared to find other ways to spend your Speedbucks. You can customize vehicles as you progress.

The game does have a failing in the soundtrack through. The music dominates and generally overloads the engine revving sounds, or squealing tires. Fortunately, the game comes with a Music Manager option that will allow you to load in your own tunes to race to.

Be prepared for this title to suck up some hard-drive space. Minimum install is 550 megs, while the medium is 1.66 gigs and complete is 3.44 gigs.

All in all, this is a fun driving game that while it must be completed in increments (if you stop your aptitude or licensing tests in mid-three-race cycle, you will have to repeat all three to advance) gives players a host of options, and they all spell out fun.

Review Scoring Details for World Racing 2

Gameplay: 8.3
Some load times, and the controls can take a bit to figure out, especially if you plug in a gamepad or joystick, but these are generally incidental to a game that plays well.

Graphics: 8.8
While the courses are attacked from a variety of angles, there is some repetition here. Generally, though, the game looks very good.

Sound: 6.8
The music selection leaves something to be desired, alternating between techno dance rhythms and the occasionally smattering of rock. The engine sounds are merely average. The Music Manager helps with the music of the game, but this score reflects what is there, not what a player can put into the game.

Difficulty: Medium
The computer AI can be tough, and the game sometimes allows it to get away with what it scores against you.

Concept: 8.0
A nice variety of cars and decent options, but there really is not a lot new here

Multiplayer: 8.0
In addition to LAN games with up to six players, this game also supports two player split screen on the same machine.

Overall: 8.3
The graphics are wonderful, the action is quick and can be tense, and the game can be enjoyed in short spurts of time. This is a racer that fans of the genre should check out.


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