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Mercedes Benz World Racing

Score: 60%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: TDK Mediactive
Developer: Synetic - The Funfactory
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Racing

Graphics & Sound:

Mercedes Benz World Racing, billed as the superlative Mercedes Benz racing simulator, is really just a mediocre arcade-style racer. While sometimes sharp and colorful, its graphics are often disappointing. It features lots of cars and tracks, and they can look awfully good on occasion, but just as often they will remind you of how pathetic the graphics engine really is.

When there's plenty of sunlight on the track, things look pretty good. But when cars and the surrounding environments are shrouded in shadows, the graphics appear dull, and there's a significant loss of detail. You can drive cars through rivers and over lakes in a completely unrealistic fashion, but once you begin the journey over water, what was once pretty good looking becomes a jumbled mass of uninteresting hues of blue and white.

The sound effects aren't bad, but the music provided by Ministry of Sound is uninspired. Custom soundtracks are supported, and the feature works well, but all in all, graphics and sound are sub-par.


Gameplay:

The game offers several modes of play, including Training, Single Race, Missions, Free Ride, and Race Schedule. It can be quite confusing as to what mode is allowed at any given time, but most users can probably stumble through the game, finding something interesting to do.

Not only does Mercedes Benz World Racing offer what is essentially a lackluster selection of cars, but it doles them out in small quantities, a sedan or station wagon at a time. Cars are unlocked as you progress through races, but given the unexciting nature of the vehicles, there isn't really much incentive to race at all.

Races take place on lifeless environments that hope to trick you into believing that lots of moving aircraft will make you feel like you are in the real world. During any given race you will see planes, helicopters, and even alien spacecraft zooming all about the tracks. This is essentially a gimmick and it gets old awfully fast.

The AI of your opponents isn't bad, and track layouts are fairly interesting, but without the provided on-screen indicators to guide you, it can be difficult to tell where to turn on some tracks, or even which direction to go. Although there's an option that allows you to choose the level of Simulation or Arcade style handling you wish your car to possess, its effects are minimal, and the cars handle unrealistically.

An especially frustrating aspect of World Racing is the way collisions are simulated. There are some neat things, like allowing you to roll cars over the sides of mountains, but basic things, like how a car impacts a curb, or how differently it handles over gravel versus asphalt, just don't make sense at all. It's these sorts of details that are overlooked consistently, and they reduce the game to sheer tedium.


Difficulty:

There are settings that allow some customization of how difficult opponents are, but one will generally fight more with car handling and the racetrack configuration then with any of the competing cars. Having said that, those who find the game entertaining will likely find it challenging, and there are enough racetrack and car variations to keep one playing the game for quite some time.

Game Mechanics:

Mercedes Benz World Racing has a strange interface, with a menu system that is quite confusing. It uses a tree metaphor, and allows you to drill down through it, but then it also allows you to pop out of it by using one of its submenus. It takes some time to get used to how it works.

World Racing is a game that features an uninspired car manufacturer, and it has a terrible user interface, spotty graphics, mediocre sound, and a physics model that lies squarely in the arcade side of racing games. It seems to offer a host of features, over 100 cars, and many track variations, but it comes off as being made more as a way to cash in on the Xbox, and less as a genuine entry into its ever growing car racing library. One would be well advised to avoid this game, and hold onto their money in hopes of finding a better one at a later date.


-Gordy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Gary Lucero

Microsoft Xbox The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Microsoft Xbox MX Superfly

 
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