Sega Rally is back after its notable eight year absence from our screens. Though the technology has changed dramatically within this time, Sega Rally is like reliving something from the past. The pickup and play mechanics are back, but one thing certainly has changed; arcade racing has never looked so good!
The gameplay has not changed as much as the graphics have, and gamers are likely to debate whether or not this is a positive. Loyal fans of the series will rejoice at the power-slide dominated play, characterised by the invisible barriers of old keeping our cars on track. This style of play will definitely appeal to casual gamers who can just pick up the controller and go, as opposed to the simulation heavy DiRT which features a steep learning curve.
Sega Rally is played in four main forms: Quick Race, Championship, Time Attack and Multiplayer. Quick Race has been pulled straight out of the old Sega Rally coin machines, pick a car, on or off road tyres, pick a track and away you go. Time attack is virtually the same, minus the competitor’s cars and pits you against yourself to get the best time. A cool feature of this though is that your race can be changed into data for a ghost car then uploaded online for other players to race. Players can also download other ghost cars made by other players.
The bread and butter of the game are in championship mode. Championship mode has you competing in several Rally tournaments on your way to becoming the best Rally racer around. You start with a garage of four cars, and gradually unlock the games 30 odd cars. What feels missing from this mode however is customization options, all the cars come tuned as a standard and the only things that are changeable are the tyres, paint and transmission.
The final mode is Multiplayer, both online and off. Offline consists of head to head, split screen racing, whilst online features up to six players. For online play, the usual ranked and unranked matches are available as well as a custom championship designer which is a welcomed addition.
Graphically Sega Rally is very impressive. The car models are incredibly detailed and look absolutely fantastic whether covered in mud or not. Damage modelling would have been a nice feature but is sadly, absent. The tracks are great to race on, contributed to by the dynamic track deformation engine. Tyre tracks are left in real time and watching the state the track gets itself into is incredible.
Sega Rally’s return to our home screens with a solid arcade racer. Its pick-up and play ability definitely adds to its appeal casual gamers. To simulation heavy fans it’s a tough sell, but definitely a lot of fun to be had.