Sega’s got a Whole New Rally!
It has been a while since we have been treated to a Sega Rally game. And although the original games were quite popular in their day, the series disappeared after its last entry in 1999. However, the world of automotive games has expanded in the last ten years, and we have finally seen the triumphant return of one of the most beloved rally racing titles in gaming history. But this isn’t the same game you played all those years ago. Sega Rally Revo features not only the much anticipated graphical update, but also some adjustments to its core gameplay.
But the big thing you’ll notice right away about Sega Rally Revo is how it looks. Although the customary graphical upgrade was expected, this one proved to be pretty crucial. Presented in HD all the way up to 720p, the tracks, cars, and environments are all very detailed and look nothing short of amazing.
The gameplay, however, has not evolved as much as the graphics have in the past eight years. Purists will probably rejoice as the core components of the team-based rally are still here and in tip-top form. However, those looking for something a little more may be a little disappointed. There are four main ways to play Sega Rally Revo: Quick Race, Championship, Time Attack, and Multiplayer. Quick Race mode is probably the most rewarding of the modes for fans of the original franchise, as it is the most simplistic, bare-bones, straight-up arcade mode of gameplay offered. Essentially you pick a car, choose between road-quality or off-road tires, pick a track, and you’re off. However, the trouble with Sega Rally Revo comes when you realize that instead of the arcade mode being molded out of the various main modes of play, the reverse seems to be true here. The arcade mode leads the pack, and the other modes model themselves after it, and the result is a shallower experience then one might have hoped for. That’s not to say that these various modes are not distinctive or fun. But at their core, they all just feel like a modified arcade mode.
The first alternative mode is challenge mode, where you’ll probably spend most of your single player effort. Challenge mode has you participating in several rally tournaments to become the best rally racer around. You begin the game with a garage of four cars, and can work your way up to unlock all of the game’s 30 cars. However, though you can get these cars and eventually unlock different paint jobs, there’s no customization option at all. The cars you are shown are unchangeable, and this game really suffers from this. The second mode is Time Attack, which is essentially Quick Race played without the team of cars. It’s just you and the stopwatch. And once you get a really great time, you can post it to the game’s online leaderboard and see how you stack up against the competition. The final mode is multiplayer, which lets you race rally-style against your friends both online and off. But again, the focus here is racing arcade-style, so you can hone your skills in the offline modes, and show your prowess to the entire world!
The best part about Sega Rally Revo has to come from its very intricate controls. Because there’s such a focus on driving on and off road and going through several different terrains in the space of one race, the controls had to reflect different handling for each environment. And the good news is that they exceed expectations in this regard. Handling completely shifts from being ultra sensitive on road terrain to being more aggressive on off-road terrain. And when you get into watery muddy areas, everything is fair game. The control of the game is really what makes it great in my opinion. It has a very realistic feel to it, but it retains the game’s core arcade simplicity quite well.
However, there is one qualm I have with the Sixaxis configuration of the game. The Sixaxis simply does not translate well in most environments. Because you will be controlling differently depending on where you are, it is too difficult to manage using the tilt of the Sixaxis. Turns are also a little too much to negotiate with the Sixaxis functionality.
The sound area does its job pretty well, but I feel like there was room for improvement. The sound effects are all spectacularly done and feature very intricate environmental sounds as well as engine sounds. However, the accompanying music feels generic and could have benefited greatly from some diversity. Since most automotive games have left music choices in the hands of pop culture and generally outsource their audio content to various record companies, I can see where straying away from the pack might have been a good thing, simply for distinctive purposes. However, the result is mediocre-sounding music content.
Sega Rally Revo is a genuinely fun experience for the arcade lover in all of us. I know that I personally appreciate the resurrection of this classic series and its emphasis on it’s best mode. However, I can’t say I didn’t expect a little tweaking of the formula, just for the sake of variety. But I won’t knock this one too hard for its lack of alternative modes of play. I had a blast going rally racing again with Sega Rally Revo. Oh, and just because you knew it was coming, “Game over- YEAAAH!”