Indy Racing League has been picking up steam over the last few years and
now Codemasters has decided to make a game for it.
Fans of this style of racing will likely enjoy the game, as it
does a good job of giving that sense of urgency while keeping pace with
the pack on an oval track, and has plenty of car tweaking to keep
players happy. Fans of F1
and the CART series may be hugely turned off by this game because it is
all left-hand turns in the game and can prove quite repetitive.
But whatever side of the Indy car tracks youíre from thereís
no denying that Indycar Series (IS) is a mixed back.
It excels at physics and giving a sense of speed, but the lack of
depth in the play modes and the general ease of the game will hamper the
first thing to realize when approaching this game is that it follows the
Indy Racing League, not the CART series that most people associate with
Indy Cars. A lot of people,
if they were to see this game on store shelves may think to themselves,
ďCool! An Indy Car
game,Ē expecting it to be nothing but hairpins, chicanes, and sweeping
turns as the negotiate the likes of Long Beach and Leguna Seca, but that
ISNíT the case here. Itís
all about the left-hand turn here and dealing with a large pack of cars
at any given time. Itís a
very different style of race from what most people associate with these
cars, and needs to be clarified in regards to this game.
But there is a certain intensity to the experience, as players will find cars more readily on their tail as they try and continually shave off fractions of a second on the more gentle turns of the tracks found here. Itís a lot harder to escape the pack, so players have to constantly keep a wary eye on whose around them, ready to slip by at a momentís notice. Itís exciting to have that kind of pressure just eating away while worrying about not making a silly, seemingly minute mistake on the turns, a real departure from concentrating primarily on complex series of turns with the competition almost an afterthought.
The problem comes in that the competition in this game still doesnít hold up too well. It wonít take long for players to start holding their own in the game, and people very familiar with this style of racing will likely find the game getting too easy too fast, because the competition just wonít hold up in the long run. Conversely this really makes IndyCars a very accessible title for rookies to this style of racing.
Unfortunately the overall setup and layout of the game is geared towards
vets with a taste for something different, and these gamers will likely
find the level of overall challenge in the game underwhelming.
But despite the lack of strong competition, thereís plenty of nuts and bolts to IndyCar to make up for it. Firstly thereís a good mix of game modes for players to sink their teeth into, from training to various length races (from tiny ones for a little pick up and play to and full length 200 lap affairs). Thereís also plenty of tweaking that can be done to the mechanics of the car, ranging from adjusting the wings to tire caster, to just about any other tweak you can think of to tailor car performance to the conditions of a race.
also does a decent job with getting the aesthetics down.
From a detail standpoint the cars look nice, very sharp, though
the tracks themselves donít exactly dazzle, especially the grandstands
where the crowd is. But
easily the strongest aspect of the visuals is the sold frame rate
coupled with an excellent sense of speed.
It really feels like youíre soaring around the track.
The audio is well done too in terms of sound effects, with the
engine noises and communication with the pit crew sounding appropriate.
The music though is just annoying when present, hardly lending
itself to the experience, and if anything taking away from the
ultimately makes IndyCar Series good instead of great is itís
inability to really target an audience.
It will be a little too easy for aficionados of this style of
racing, and a little to daunting for rookies at the end of the day.
But if youíre a big fan of the Indy Racing League, this game
will likely still be enjoyable, considering the lack of gaming
July 13, 2003
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