From the rash of poor to average racing titles on the market, it’s obvious that the PS2 lacks a real high quality racing sim. Brain in a Jar have added IndyCar Series into the mix – a title which promises to recreate the 200mph+ speeds of the North American oval racing series. But, from their effort, I guess developing a good, honest and fun racer is just too challenging for some of the smaller studios out there, as IndyCar series’ team seem to have found it as straight-forward as juggling custard.
Brain in a Jar, along with “Driving Development”, as they proclaim on the loading screen, are also pushing to have Pad Hurling accepted as a sport in the next Olympics. They might call it a driving game, oh yes, but rest assured – it’s really a cunningly disguised training program that should see a vast improvement in the distance and quality of pad-hurling before the 2004 olympics are upon us.
Well, their tutorial mode, although a cool idea, lends almost no help to the novice IndyCar racer who I imagine will have sent many a Dual Shock 2 sailing across the room before they even fathom which of the myriad settings is hindering their car. It took me (a fairly seasoned racing gamer) god-knows how many attempts to pass two of the “Master class” tests – challenges which make the GT License tests pale into insignificance. Granted they become easier after you’ve spent a while on the settings, but it’s a challenge to get settings anywhere near right in the first place.
If you finally get a working set-up then you can treat yourself to a race against a quirky AI, featuring occasional slowdown even in half-field races, running at around-about 30fps with unintentionally cell-shaded looking textures. Scant reward for the hours of testing required to get your car sorted on just one of the tracks.
From the Codemasters forum I see that the short-fallings I’ve encountered so far are just the tip of the iceberg. Making this title a poor effort, a poor game and a waste of what would be a fantastic license if justice had been done.