Friday 27 July 2007
The sequel to last year's decent WTCC game Race is almost upon us, and we've been taking the work-in-progress Alpha version for a quick trip around the block. A few things have changed since last year - there are now 3D spectators at the edge of the track, which the developer admits aren't going to win any awards under scrutiny, but they help the atmosphere a little.
There's also a helmet cam, which lets you see through the eyes of your driver, and remove tear-off strips from your visor when it gets dirty. This is by far the most exciting view, but it still feels a little pedestrian to us, although we were only using the keys to control it.
The difficulty level seems to be hard to set satisfactorily at present. There are three default difficulties, plus an optional custom setup. We started on Pro (like we always do) but found it impossible to get going with the 'flat out or nothing at all' accelerator key. After a quick trip to the difficulty options and the traction control assist, we were away and soon winning races with ease.
Of course, single races are always going to be ultimately pointless, and the promised career mode should add to the atmosphere tenfold, but sadly it was greyed out in our preview build of the game. You will be able to set up your own custom series, on top of the 2007 (and 06) WTCC seasons, with several races on one track, one race on every track or any combination you like.
You can even have every discipline of motorsport featured in the game, squaring off together in an eclectic mish-mash of car styles. So that's Minis against Formula 3,000, against Formula BMW, against Caterham racers, against WTCC cars from present day and 1987. Woot! In total there are 300 cars over the nine car classes to try, and some 32 tracks, including a specially-designed street circuit around the developer's home town. And there's internet play for up to 25 players, as well as LAN network racing. So pretty comprehensive, options-wise.