You’ll start off as a struggling racer. You’ve got a beaten up old car, a ramshackle garage and splinters in your fingers from trying to hold on to the bottom rung of the reputation ladder. First things first then - you’ve got to earn cash to fix up your wheels. That done, you’ve then got to string together the results to garner some of the attention from bigger teams, and by accepting their requests for your talents, your bank balance will swell accordingly. This part of the game is designed to be around two to three hours in length - the crux of the game is what comes next.
Once you’ve raked in enough cash, you’ll be able to set up your own team. Personal racecraft ability proven, it’s time to turn your hand to team management: securing cars, signing big money sponsorship deals and a second driver to help you assert world domination. As you move closer to this, your garage - which acts as your hub, complete with snappy 3D menus to guide you around the game - will sport signs of your success, such as teams of mechanics bustling about, with your base looking more like a NASA space center than a racing HQ.
All this behind-the-scenes stuff is secondary to the actual racing. The real on-track stuff is split into three very distinct regions, each complete with their own style of competition. In the USA, it’s all about snarling muscle cars like the classic 1970 Ford Mustang, and one of the star cars of the game, the Dodge Viper SRT-10. They’ll be spewing out copious clouds of carbon monoxide through the streets of San Francisco, Washington DC, Detroit and more. SF is particularly atmospheric, with some gorgeous lighting.