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World Racing 2

Score: 40%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Evolved Games
Developer: Synetic - The Funfactory
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Racing/ Racing (Arcade)/ Racing (Simulation)

Graphics & Sound:

World Racing 2 has good graphics, but lacks some of the shiny reflections that have become popular in recent racing games. This is a bit strange, since there is a view that shows your hood which features reflections, albeit a bit blocky and with what seems to be a small bit of delay.

I found that World Racing 2 reminded me of games such as Hard Drivin' or Stunt Driver, but I couldn't figure out exactly what it was that they had in common. After driving around a bit, I found a "herd of sheep". After bumping into a few, it became obvious that these weren't, in fact, real sheep, but were, in fact, wooden statues of sheep or something. While they remained completely stiff, I could run into them and push them about, creating my own version of Katamari Damacy by rolling a large ball of fake sheep onto the road and into the way of oncoming traffic. And when the traffic arrived? Nothing. The cars that drive around as part of the environment simply pass straight through the sheep, even though hitting one will slow you down considerably. Isn't that nice.

The sound effects in World Racing 2 aren't bad at all, but the music consists of a small number of songs covering a wide and varied selection of genres. Not necessarily anything people would want to listen to outside of the game, mind you. One song that springs to mind is a middle-eastern / Egyptian / pop / rap song that is featured in two versions in World Racing 2: one with the rap lyrics and one without. The song itself is not horrible, but with the limited number of songs, it gets played waaay too much, causing it to become old and irritating too quickly.


Gameplay:

World Racing 2 is different in many ways from other racing games. One of the most obvious differences is that the "imaginary arrows" that point your way are treated as just that - imaginary. Other games force you to stay on course, treating these as invisible walls. World Racing 2, on the other hand, allows you to continue through them and off the specified course, simply adding an arrow that directs you back to the road. While this is more realistic, it was unexpected; even Gran Turismo games, which attempt to be very realistic, don't let you go driving off whatever way you choose during a race. If this sounds like it could be cool, I have to warn you that although you can leave the track at will, you won't get credit for your progress unless you cross certain (undisclosed) checkpoints. If you leave the track and miss a part of the track that the game requires you to cross, you will get indications on screen pointing you back to the part you skipped - even when you're on the track. My suggestion in this situation is to simply restart the race and try to stay on the track.

Additionally, World Racing 2 has picked up some of the bad aspects of Formula racing games that make them unpopular with American gamers, namely penalties for not staying within the course. While it's true that Formula racing games are usually much more heavy-handed with their penalties, it's a bit aggravating to find a cool shortcut where you cut out a little bit of time and hydroplane in a field of wheat, only to get a "Shortened Course" penalty. Oh - and you'll get penalized for having wrecks, too. Seems a bit petty when you think about it; slamming into something when you're trying to win a race is its own penalty, isn't it?

Another way that World Racing 2 stands out from the crowd is its car selection. There are a lot of licensed vehicles to choose from, but they are all cars from Europe and Japan. No American cars to be found here. In addition to some older models and recent models, you will also have access to some concept vehicles. If the car selection itself isn't enough to set it apart from other racing games, the fact that all of these licensed vehicles can take realistic damage certainly does. You can utterly trash these vehicles, with bumpers split and hanging or falling off, paint scratched, the works.

The aspect of World Racing 2 that I found to be its biggest downfall, however, is the fact that you have to purchase everything. Once you get past the qualification part of the Career mode, you'll have to purchase: access to tracks, cars to race, options for your cars. When you get to the point that you don't have enough money (and you will), you'll have to play in the Free Ride mode to make enough money to buy whatever it is you need. Unfortunately, making money in Free Ride mode is ...in ...cred ...ibly ... ...s... l... o...w. Add to that the fact that you're probably playing Free Ride mode because you don't have enough money to progress in the Career mode and World Racing 2 can get tedious very quickly.

There are two main Modes: Career and Free Ride. Career is where you actually progress through the game and Free Ride is where you can drive single races, cruise around the landscapes and play against friends. Inside of Free Ride, you can choose from Single Race, Test Drive, Split Screen or Joyride. Be forewarned, however - nothing is free. In Single Race, you'll have to buy tracks to be able to race on them - you even have to buy the reverse of tracks separately. A track driven forward and the same track driven backwards are two separate purchases. Unbelievable! Once you've bought your track, you'll need to purchase a car if you haven't bought one yet or if you want one other than the ones you already have. You'll also have to spend money to purchase vinyl graphics kits, if desired, as well as rims, if you want something other than the default rims. Changing the paint color of your car is, however, as simple as selecting a new color from the game's limited pallet and is absolutely free. While I love racing games that allow you tweak and trick out the cars, it's an aspect that sort of needs to be either fully implemented or pretty much ignored. World Racing 2 throws in the least amount of customizing I've seen on a game that allows customizing, almost as if to say, "Hey, we could have allowed you to customize your cars. What would you have thought about that?"

The thing about World Racing 2's purchasing system that bothers me (besides the fact that you have to buy everything) is that the prices seem to be completely arbitrary. Anyone who's ever considered a custom paint job knows that you're going to have to pay over $1000 USD (and more likely in the 3K range) to get a paint job at all, not taking special paint jobs such as Chromaflair (flip paint jobs) into consideration. In World Racing 2, however, any available paint treatment - including the Chromaflair paint jobs - are the same cost - in particular, free. Meanwhile, vinyl graphics for the side of your car and new rims (which would be less than a paint job and possibly more than a paint job, respectively) cost $100 SpeedBucks per selection. Cars cost $227-$495 SpeedBucks, which has little to nothing to do with what the cars would actually cost, but rather is tied directly to car performance.


Difficulty:

Much of the difficulty in World Racing 2 is not simply that the game is hard to play, but that the game is so different from other racing games. The fact that you can miss "checkpoints" and not realize it until you've gotten back on the track increases the difficulty, as does the fact that some races require jumps that your car may not be able to actually make. In these cases, you'll have to hit the button that sets you back on the track. While this might sound stupid, this is what your opponents will be doing.

A lot of the challenges in Career mode specify the car (and track) that you will be using, so acquiring new cars won't help you at all in a lot of the challenges. In the races that let you choose your car, you'll find that cars with better stats will have more acceleration and speed than handling. In other words, a car with high marks in acceleration, top speed and handling is not necessarily a well-balanced car; you can expect a car with high marks in everything to be difficult to handle.

While it is true that practice makes perfect, repetitious drills don't make for a fun experience, they breed boredom. If you are reading the difficulty section because you're afraid that this game might be too difficult for you, it is. If you're bored with all of the other racing games on the market, finding them to lack any challenge, then you may want to try this game, but rent it first.


Game Mechanics:

There is a lot of good in World Racing 2; unfortunately, there is enough bad to make it the most frustrating racing game I've ever played.

While the car selection is nice, no American cars are included. Yes, you can customize the cars a (tiny) bit, but all you can customize is the vinyl graphics, paint job color and rims. Several vinyl graphics are available to choose from, but they all have the same price. Vinyl Graphics and Rims are representative of real products from real manufacturers, but all of these have the same price: $100 SpeedBucks. Also, if you purchased these graphics in real life, you would have a variety of colors to choose from; in the game, there is no way to change the color of the vinyl graphics, you simply have to choose a paint color that compliments the vinyl graphics you want to use. You can change the paint job of the cars for free, even with some flip colors, but you cannot create your own colors and the colors to choose from are the same for all vehicle, without consideration for the colors the car in question was produced in. For example, I attempted to recreate DEBUG, my Cyber Green VW Beetle in World Racing 2, but was not able to select a green that came anywhere close to Cyber Green.

World Racing 2 is a game that I would strongly recommend renting first, to see if you like it, before purchasing. Actually, I would strongly advise against either, if you can fight the temptation to play this game.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Microsoft Xbox 360 NBA Live 07 Windows Pile and Pop

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated