But as we tore down the demo version's alpine rally track in a Subaru Impreza (which handled great, even when it was slamming into walls because we were driving too fast), something didn't seem right. The spectators looked realistic, but they stood as still as statues. They didn't even move when we crashed into the thin wire fence separating us from them (said fence, incidentally, didn't even buckle). And while the mountain in the background looked incredibly sharp, it didn't take us long to see that it was a static image, albeit a very high-definition one. Our view of it didn't really change, and it never looked like something we could drive off and explore.
Granted, our time with HD was very short, and it's important to note that the game is still unfinished and won't hit until December. Nevertheless, there wasn't much about the restrictive track and unmoving scenery that made us feel like we were actually ripping through a muddy rally course. Out of the PS3 games we've played so far, HD stands out the most among those that should take advantage of the system's impressive capabilities, but aren't - not a great thing for a flagship racing series to do.