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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Namco

 

Developer

Namco

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2003

 

 

- Nice variety of racing types

- Story Mode is fun while it lasts

- Excellent voice acting

- Over 30 licensed cars

 

 

- Brake assist option

- Whereís the sense of speed?

- No car damage

- Story mode is over too quickly

 

 

Review: Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (PS2)

Review: Ridge Racer V (PS2)

Review: Midnight Club II (PS2)

 

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R: Racing Evolution

Score: 6.6 / 10

 

R: Racing Evolution (RRE) is not Namcoís first entry into the crowded racing market. Namco is probably best known for its critically acclaimed Ridge Racer series. RRE is much different from Ridge Racer in that most of the arcade elements from Ridge Racer have been dropped and RRE strives for a more realistic feel. Unfortunately several shortcomings donít help the game feel realistic at all.

 

r racing evolution          r racing evolution

 

Aside from the Racing Life (story mode) there are several other modes of play, which include Time Attack, Event Challenge, Vs. mode, and an Arcade mode.  In the story mode you assume the role of an ambulance driver, turned racecar driver named Rena. The story mode contains fourteen chapters in total and provides a nice variation of story telling techniques to deliver a solid storyline. The story is told through still images and full motion cut scenes. One problem with the Racing Life mode is the length and slight repetition. It took me about four hours to beat the story mode and most of the individual chapters see you race on the same track over and over again with different vehicles. Each chapter consists of about three races, usually on the same track.

 

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After the story mode has been beaten there is still lots to play through in RRE. The event challenge mode comes equipped with a hefty number of events. Each event must be unlocked with money (called RP in the game), but money isnít too big of a problem if youíve beaten the story mode. Some of the event challenges include single races, time trials, one-make race and tournament.

 

There are some annoyances that seriously hold the game back. My first gripe is the brake 

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assist option. Even though you have the option of turning it off, itís a default option and takes the challenge out of the game. Basically the brake assist does all the braking when your vehicle is going around corners. Braking and taking cornerís is one of the hardest parts of any racing game, but RRE could have certainly lived without this option. While the game attempts to be realistic, one basic key element is left out: car damage. Another problem is that the game fails to deliver a satisfying sense of speed. Thereíll be lots of instances where youíll be driving at 180 mph only to feel like youíre going 60 mph.

 

r racing evolution          r racing evolution

 

The visuals are nicely done, with great looking car models Ė there are over thirty licensed cars, from all the major companies from Dodge to Honda Ė and nice reflections, but there are many better-looking games out for the PS2. The replays look excellent and capture the action from several camera angles. The racetracks have a lot of attention to detail with blimps, signs and various objects in the background.

 

The sound is well played out and youíll hear a lot of chatter during play from your pit crew.  A good majority of the music is RRE is made up of techno and rock. Since I am not a huge fan of techno I didnít enjoy the music too much, but at least you can change the music during each race. The voice acting on the other hand is spot on, however itís a shame that the dialogue is over a little too fast in the story mode.

 

RRE is a decent racing game that succeeds in providing an average racing experience. RRE showed a lot of potential, but possibly a few months of polishing up the game couldíve produced a better product. RRE is worth a look if you are a fan of the Ridge Racer games, but everyone else can probably give it a miss.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(March 7, 2004)

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