Imagine if you were asked to describe the presentation and content of GRID to afellow who possessed only a fingertip’s worth of grip on the English language. Then imagine that this awkwardly translated summary was passed on to a horde of developers to use as the basis for their own racing title. The end result might well look something like Superstars V8 Racing.
Squint and the front-end looks a bit like GRID; the car roster (including such beauts as the BMW M5, Jaguar S-type and Audi RS4) doffs its cap to GRID while the overall visual aesthetic is akin to Codemasters’ classic, albeit with such absurd lashings of graphical ‘bloom’ it’s a bit like driving with cotton candyin your eyes. The blueprints are there then, but something just doesn’t sit right.
Still, even at this stage, you might be under the impression that Superstars V8 Racing could be a bona fide rival to the likes of RacePro, GRID or even NFS: Shift. You’d be wrong, though. It isn’t.
On the plus side, there is a solid and varied selection of tracks on offer and the motors themselves possess a weighty, sim-like feel to their handling. Disappointingly though, it feels like it has been made to a budget and, crucially, without any real passion for the subject. Call us cynics but we get the impression that Milestone already had all the circuits mapped out for their SBK stablemate and thought that it would be all too easy (and lucrative) to slap half a dozen makes of vehicles together before shoving the resulting game out the door. And that’s plain naughty.
Of course, this half-hearted poke into the pie of racing games makes some sense now thatSuperstar V8 Racing has been released as a bargain bin answer to triple-A games (it's a $20 download on PSN now). Still, for a racing title that features naught but a generic championship mode alongside your usual quick race and practice options there isn’t much incentive to even win a race.
Superstars V8 Racing certainly isn’t a technically offensive driving game. It simply has no real ‘oomph’, no real soul. The best racing games are created by obsessivecar fanaticsfor car fanatics. This feels more like the devs found an old BMW model down behind the back of the sofa and couldn’t find anything better to do with it. Note, though, that at the very reasonable price, you could do worse than pick this up as a holdover for Gran Turismo 5.
Jun 26, 2009 (original UK review date)