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Atari / Infogrames



Eden Studios



E (Everyone)



Q2 2003



- Should satiate rally fans

- Good number of options and car adjustments

- Number of racing options

- Straightforward interface



- If youíre not a fan, V-Rally wonít likely convert you

- Control takes quite a bit of getting used to



Review: Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open (PS2)

Review: Rallisport Challenge (XB)

Review: Rally Fusion (XB)



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V-Rally 3

Score: 8.0 / 10

Iím what youíd call a moderate rally racing fan.  I like playing the games based on the sport, but as for following the real life action or watching the races on TV, I just donít pay attention.  Although Iíll probably never race a rally car, this is probably the next best thing.  But before I get too deep into V-Rally 3 (VR3) I should get something out of the way.


v-rally 3 xbox review          v-rally 3 xbox review


All racing games should ship with and support a steering wheel peripheral.  Joysticks, gamepads, and other controllers are great in their own way but if you want that simulation vibe a wheel should be included.  Especially with a rally game that requires a radically different approach to steering.


For the unknowing, rally racing features a variety of modified cars tearing around dirt tracks across the countryside in a series of stages for each Rally event.  This is VR3 in a nutshell.  But itís not just countryside Ė youíll slide through various environments under all kinds of driving conditions and in numerous different cars in two classes (1.6 FWD and 2.0 4WD).  And VR3 leaves little to the imagination, small details like spraying leaves and obvious details like car damage is all rendered very well.  While the car doesnít always model the damage correctly (in once instance I rammed into a tree head-on and the back bumper came loose) it does 95% of the time making for a believable driving experience.




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Also believable is the ability to fine-tune your car.  Most driving games, just jumping onto the track with whatever default options are set is the typical approach.  I found that I could actually squeeze out a better time if I spent some time studying the track and conditions before tweaking the car (from tire pressure to ride height) to suit the course.  Of course, newcomers to the genre might feel a bit left out as to how they can modify their car for maximum affect.  For them VR3 includes a ďHelpĒ button which is a good guide.


VR3ís overall damage modeling is very good.  In severe crashes you can lose a wheel, which really affects your handling.  Flat tires produce less severe affects.  There is a definite consequence for reckless driving, which brings me back to the steering.


The controller does a good job as far as racing games go but itís way too easy to oversteer Ė at least until you get very familiar with the control.  Until then youíll be crashing into corners and trees with frightening regularity.


v-rally 3 xbox review          v-rally 3 xbox review


I must applaud VR3 for the way its racing options are laid out.  Once starting a new game you're presented with an office setting, where you can check your email, etc.  Itís from here that the backroom deals happen.  Contract offers and rally updates are all processed here.  Once youíve picked a company to race for, itís really up to you to perform well.  There is much that rests on your shoulders.  If youíre not performing well (i.e. finishing near or at the top of the pile for each Rally) it affects the morale level of your service team, which keeps your car together and makes repairs during a rally.  If that morale goes down theyíll become less reliable in terms of repairing things correctly, plus they wonít be as efficient during service breaks during the Rally meaning you have less time to enact repairs.  It tends to create a snowball affect since then youíll have an even tougher time winning, earning points and scoring a bigger budget at the end of the season.  On top of that, itís unlikely anyone from the 2.0 4WD division will come knocking with a contract in hand.


V-Rally is obviously doing something right to get to the magic number 3.  And with the kind of game V-Rally 3 is with itís realistic rendering of the sport, good numbers of options, and good racing, itís likely weíll see a V-Rally 4.  Recommended to rally fans for sure.


- Omni

(June 8, 2003)

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