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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Codemasters

 

Developer

Codemasters

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q1 2003

 

 

- Good visuals

- Cars handle realistically

- Nice track design

- Decent car customization

 

 

- Lack of music

- Hard to tell what settings you have your car customized to

 

 

Review: RalliSport Challenge (Xbox)

Review: Rally Fusion (Playstation 2)

 

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Colin McRae 3

Score: 8.7/10

If ever there was a sub-genre in gaming that had very stiff competition between top franchises it would have to be rally car racing. We've had V-Rally and WRC making names for themselves and battling toe to toe with them has been the Colin McRae series, now with its third installment available on the PS2. With excellent true to life courses, versatile vehicle customization, and well executed car damage rally fans have a lot to enjoy in this game.

 

colin-mcrae-3-1.jpg (19599 bytes)         colin-mcrae-3-2.jpg (21672 bytes)

Looking at the game in action is a pleasure. The animation is very smooth throughout with a lot of detail put into the environments as you soar through tight tree lined paths, twist and turn through mountain passes, and kick up dust in the desert. What is of particular not is how the car visually takes damage when slamming into obstacles. If you misjudge a turn and slide into the barrier you may get off lucky with a broken tail light, or you may totally shatter the window depending on how hard the car hits. Even more impressive is losing almost the whole front end of the car. On one instance I happened to go over a jump way to fast, launching my Ford Focus into the air. When it landed the front end slammed right down, causing me to lose my front spoiler and the body panels around the grill...not to mention that the car wouldn't go much more than 95 KPH on the straightaways from then on. You just don't see this sort of realistic car damage very often in racing games, mostly because car manufacturers don't like seeing their cars beaten to a pulp like that on the video game screen. Seeing here in Colin McRae 3 was very refreshing. The whole visual presentation is very well done on the PS2, but in the grander scheme of things RalliSport Challenge on the Xbox still holds the crown for being the prettiest rally racer on the market. Nonetheless, Playstation 2 owners will be very pleased with the graphics in this game.

In terms of sound Colin McRae 3 gets the job done quite well. Hearing the engine buzz up a storm on the straightaways, and the exhaust popping as the car shifts gears is very satisfying. Even the sound of the cars switching from driving on asphalt to gravel is done very convincingly while tearing around the courses. The navigator, as usual, is a Brit giving players the heads-up on turns, jumps, straightaways, and so forth. Sometimes I wonder if all the games use the same guy, because the voice sure sounds similar in the many rally titles on the market. Whatever the case, the navigator works just fine. He's not obtrusive, and he's not to quiet, doing a bang up job of helping players plan ahead so their car doesn't get banged up. The one disappointing facet of the game's audio experience is the lack of music while racing. Obviously Colin McRae 3 is going for a more simulator-based rally racing experience, but it would have been nice to have the option to play some tunes while driving. As it stands, if you want to be serenaded while on the track in this game you'll have to fire up your stereo, so consider yourself warned.

 

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But of course one of the most important features in any rally racer that will make or break is the handling, and happily Colin McRae 3 delivers in spades. The cars really handle as you would expect them to on the various surfaces. This becomes very evident switching from dirt to concrete as the car suddenly grabs the road and traction is great, then driving onto gravel we're huge, sweeping powerglides have players flying around corners in their cars. Adding to this realistic handling is the 

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ability to customize car setups before starting a race, tweaking the suspension, adjusting the breaks, and so forth. This isn't done to such nitty-gritty detail as a game like Gran Turismo where players can go so far as to adjust their tires' caster by fractions of decrees, but players can still choose from hard, medium, and soft, suspensions and brakes among other adjustments available to them. The only real problem when customizing is that the icon that tells you what you have you're car set to is very difficult to read. If the game just stuck with saying a component was on or off it would save those playing the game a lot of trouble.

colin-mcrae-3-3.jpg (18235 bytes)          colin-mcrae-3-4.jpg (16892 bytes)

Having such realistic and accurate control of your car will come in very handy while negotiating the many tracks in the game as they really test your driving skills with skads of twists and turns, various driving surfaces, and battling the weather while trying to make the best time on every portion of the races. The tracks are setup with a good mix of gentle turns that are great for careening through at breakneck speeds and batteries of insane tight turns that make for a lot of intensity while at the wheel of one of the over 20 cars available to choose from.

At the end of the day Colin McRae 3 is a very good rally racer. It looks good and plays even better. For those interested in this style of racing, this title is one worth looking into.

Mr. Nash

May 11, 2003

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