Rallisport Challenge 2

After having finished the “career” mode of Project Gotham Racing 2 (on bronze admittedly), I picked up Rallisport Challenge 2 this Friday. I was a bit afraid that changing from a city-racer to a rally game would cause problems, but these fears were unfounded — after about 10 minutes the new racing model took hold and always feels right. The graphics are amazing to say the least: I don’t know how DICE have managed, but it runs at a rock-solid 50 (or 60) fps and is at least as pretty as PGR 2 (which runs at half that). I have never spent this much time in a game just watching the replays of my driving. The particle effects in particular are awesome.
The sound is very nice (but at home I don’t have my 5.1 setup but I expect it to be fine there as well — no Xbox game has yet disappointed me in that regard). I wonder why my Ford Focus is squeaking when I release the throttle, though… 😉 The music is very fitting as well (heavy-ish) but there could be a few more tracks for aural variety.
The damage model looks nice but doesn’t seem to have much of an influence on the actual driving, and the driving itself is focused on fun and not gobs of realism (though I can’t say for sure as I’ve never played any of the supposedly more realistic Colin McRae-games). You still need plenty of skill in any case (so I’m glad PGR 2 taught me the value of proper braking).
In the past two days, I’ve finished the Amateur- and Pro-Championships and enjoyed that immensely. The races in Nordic countries are rather difficult because it’s hard to see the course, night-time races are similarly difficult (but the headlights look amazing), but both never cease to be fun so far.
Haven’t touched live or multiplayer, but there’s not much that can go wrong there. Highly recommended.

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