Review: Rallisport Challenge 2 (Xbox)
Not only does this game shine in the single player aspect but online play, supported by Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service, gives extended life to this title and makes it a must have for racing game aficionados. “Microsoft made a very smart move in releasing RSC2 as an Xbox-only title. Not only does this game shine in the single player aspect but online play, supported by Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service, gives extended life to this title and makes it a must have for racing game aficionados.
RSC2 has two main aspects to it. The single player, which allows players to engage in various forms of racing, such as hill climbs, Rally Cross (basically road track racing using Rally cars), Crossover (a fun and unique head to head racing mode) and your generic Rally racing. You have three difficulty levels to choose from (and a fourth that becomes available to you once you complete the hardest initially available setting) and a huge tree of events to complete. As you complete these tracks you not only unlock them for later use but, dependant upon your performance, you get cars and new paint schemes unlocked as well. The multiplayer component is more of a ‘skirmish’ mode that allows you to run pick up races and, using the XSN Sports online components, set up tournaments to race in as well.
Of all the new features that RSC2 boasts, the most outstanding is, by far, the graphics. I’m not sure a prettier racing title has been released on any platform (gasp! Hold on PC racing geeks, it’s ok) and some of the surroundings are simply breathtaking. Driving into the sun blinds you, rain drops pelt your windshield during races as your windshield wipers smear them away and car parts come loose and fly off during wrecks. I literally laughed out loud the first time I was in a big wreck and my doors and hood came loose and splayed themselves out as my car rolled.
The sound is quite good as well. Each car has its own unique engine sound (you hear more of this than any other sound) and the sounds made by clanging against an opponent or by slamming into a tree have a satisfying twisting metal sound.
I’ve heard more than one complaint about the controls in RSC2. Personally, I’ve had no problem adapting to them. The cars do seem a bit squirrelly in the beginning but after you get used to them I found the control scheme mixed with the fast paced racing makes things a little hectic (which equals higher blood pressure which is fun!). I also recommend you steer with a joystick and not the d-pad. You’ll need the fine-tuned controls as opposed to the on or off stylings of steering with a d-pad.
The online component, handled through the Xbox Live service, is really what extends the life of this game. You will have all kinds of race types and opponents available to you and, frankly, if you can’t find a race you like online, you’re too picky. Hand in your gamer card please.
I did find that the ghosting method of viewing your opponents online (basically each car appears with a neon-colored outline and collisions don’t exist) wasn’t as fun as all-out fender bending. Getting eight players together to bang fenders on a wild Rally course is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
As far as a downside to RSC2, they are few and far between. I found it hard sometimes to actually keep track of the roads I was to follow during races. Things are going by so fast it’s hard to tell where muddy roads are winding. More than once on more than one track I found myself just flying off into the woods or over an exposed cliff. Also, the directions spoken to you by your spotter are sometimes off as well. Either he’s way behind or just skips steps. As a note, I also found that if your spotter says “Easy tightens” actually means Medium so be prepared to brake properly.
All in all, RSC2 is well worth the money spent, especially if you have an Xbox Live account. If you like racing games at all you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. You’ll love it.
FINAL SCORE: 86/100 : REVIEWER: SHAWN WALLACE