Aug 28, 2007
Sega's brand-new Sega Rally has got a lot to live up to. Few games can attract gamers over a decade after release (especially early 3D titles), but the feeling of weight, roll and momentum in 1995's Sega Rally is still as convincing now as it was on its release. We've already had a look at the PS3 and Xbox 360 version of the 2007 reimagining of the game, but now we've got the previously unseen PSP version in our hands. Can it possibly measure up to the console versions? Deep breath - power on.
Thankfully, the game is a very close recreation of the next-gen behemoth. Everything is big, bright and colourful, in true Sega tradition. Solid, chunky cars slide into corners and leap over jumps with conviction. The frame-rate is smooth and it's very fast - like having your own pocket coin-op. Having played the big version, we were expecting to be disappointed by the PSP's cut-down visuals, but we're not. It's a corker.
Above: In the two external views, the cars are big and chunky. The arcade stylings are clear to see
After the initial impression has subsided a little, you'll notice the addition of physics and destructible scenery elements. Smash into an overhanging branch and it breaks off, and you can then knock the pieces around the track. Very nice. Of course, you'll never leave the road and wrap your car around a tree, as the invisible walls of Rally old make a return. That sounds crap, and maybe in a way it is. But it keeps the game the right side of frustrating and is just another sign that this is a videogame in the purest sense of the word and not a simulation.
The game does have a trick up its sleeve though. While not anywhere near as detailed as the surface deformation of the big versions, PSP Rally does map every tire track of every car, which you can clearly see the next time you reach that point on the track. It's a lot of fun leaving marks in the snow off the racing line and then looking for them next time round. It's obviously inspired by the next-gen versions' surface deformation, but it's a great approximation of it, considering the gulf in technology between PSP and PS3/360.