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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Sega

 

Developer

Wow Entertainment

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q1 2004

 

 

- 165+ licensed cars and new tracks
- Computer AI puts up quite a fight
- New online capabilities
- Great price at $20US

 

 

- Graphics don’t take advantage of the Xbox
- Car handling is feels generic despite the car you use
- No different than Sega GT 2002

 

 

Review: Project Gotham Racing 2 (XB)

Review: Roject Gotham Racing (XB)

Review: Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (PS2)

Review: Pro Race Driver (XB)

 

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Sega GT Online

Score: 6.3 / 10

 

sega gt onlin xbox review         sega gt online xbox review

 

The one thing that really gets under my skin is the recycling of ideas in videogames. What’s worse than that is a recycled idea that isn’t improved in any way except for online capabilities. This is where Sega GT Online comes in.

The first Sega GT on the Xbox was first released back in 2002 and soon after became part of Sega’s bundle with new Xboxes. It’s easy to see now why Sega GT Online (SGTO) isn’t too far from becoming part of that bundle.

SGTO is as standard as racing games get. Games such as Project Gotham Racing, which require more than brute speed and precise turning seem to garner more attention, and for good reason. The gameplay modes in SGTO are Sega GT 2002 (career mode), Quick Battle, Chronicle Mode (classic racing circuit), Time Attack,

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and Gathering Mode (mini-games). Quick battle and time attack are essentially the same really leaving only a couple of modes.

The Career mode is more in-depth than Project Gotham Racing 2, but not quite as polished. A downside to PGR2 was its lack of customizable body parts. SGTO allows you to modify your car with new or used parts, purchase new vehicles,

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and repair damaged parts through a series of menus that are a little cumbersome, though seeing your car with the new gear makes all of the time worthwhile. Once ready to race, you enter in different events that require specific cars. Winning each event nets you prize money or, if you do extremely well, new cars that come as “special prizes.” Keep in mind much like Gran Turismo (on the PS2) you need to take particular license tests that survey your time and driving techniques. Earning higher license grades enables more events to race in.

The graphics in SGTO remain almost, if not, identical to those in the 2002 edition. Edges around the cars are rough, levels feel duplicated and dry, and crashing into walls causes absolutely no visual damage to your car (owing to strict licensing issues with car manufacturers). The details on the cars themselves look decent but not incredible. A small detail such as decals and reflections aren’t up to par with current racing games and, being an Xbox exclusive game, doesn’t take advantage of the graphical power the console has to offer. Backgrounds, such as trees and crowds are rendered poorly and are no better than 2D cutouts.

In terms of sound, SGTO delivers some of the worst arcade music any game has to offer. From the menu music to the actual music within the game, I feel that the cheaply composed artificial beats don’t enhance the experience at all, and in fact worsen it. While original music is always good to hear, I think SGTO could have benefited from a complete roster of licensed audio tracks.
 

sega gt online xbox review         sega gt online xbox review


As far as car engines and the screeching of the tires go, everything is taken right out of the textbook of recreating generic sounds. Much like the music, the sound of SGTO feels cheaply made. For example, telling the difference between two different car engines is possible, though you would have to be a real car genius in order to so. The ambiance and background noises are vaguely heard, mostly because of the concentration of making precise moves.

Taking a cue from both the graphics and sound, the gameplay of SGTO doesn’t deliver. Whether you enjoy realistic car driving or arcade style, the gameplay system doesn’t live up to current games. One major problem is with the car handling. Every single car in the game, ranging from a Mazda to a Dodge handles almost identically. Taking a Mercedes down a straightaway at 100mph feels precisely the same as taking a 1974 Mustang down a straightway at 100mph. The same goes for turning, sliding, or braking. I felt let down by this and the fact that the 40 new cars featured in this game did absolutely nothing to change the fact that the gameplay is simple and linear. Online, you can participate in two new modes.

Since the game is titled Sega GT Online, I was disappointed with the small number of people actually online. Either the game has yet to find its way into a lot of homes or everyone is busy playing Project Gotham Racing 2 online. Either way, Sega’s online capabilities feel superficial. Without any unique gameplay modes, racing around a few tracks online makes no difference than doing so offline. Maybe if Sega had implemented a kudos-like point system, which encourages drivers to pull off stylistic moves, the gameplay might’ve been deeper. Unfortunately adding “online” to the title and a number of new cars didn’t improve the gameplay or visual mechanics at all.

With the best racing game of 2003 – Project Gotham Racing 2 – still making noise on and off of Xbox Live, Sega GT Online isn’t an urgent buy for those looking for a quick drive. In fact, the game shouldn’t even be considered against the competition. Need for Speed Underground and Midnight Club 2 are still fun to play and far from outdated, so before jumping into Xbox live with Sega GT Online, make sure you’ve scouted the rest of the field. Of course, the $19.99US price point doesn’t make it a complete write-off.

- Eric Lahiji

 

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