Ski Racing 2006 PC CD-ROM
Published by JoWooD Productions
Developed by Coldwood Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Ski Racing 2006, an introduction.
After almost 6 years of reviewing games it's not often we get to review a game that we haven't seen before. However, with Ski Racing 2006 that's exactly what we have. Try and name the amount of Ski Racing games that have appeared on the PC over the last 6 years and we'd guess you would struggle to come up with anything.
What's the game about?
As the title suggests this is a skiing game offering both single and multiplayer action. The modes on offer are Free Run (where you can practice Downhill Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom courses), World Cup (essentially the heart of the game and we'll talk more about that in a moment) and Multiplayer where you can take part in Split-screen, Tournament and Network events (Internet races are supported through Direct IP). In addition you also have an event editor to tinker with.
What's good about the game?
Taking the game on face value it seems a little light on substance but the World Cup mode manages to play quite well and offers a long term challenge. You'll begin by creating a profile and creating your own skier. Your skier has four main skills, explosiveness, jumping, speed and edging, and each of these skills has eight levels. Your skier will begin on level one for each of these skills and through taking part in the World Cup will earn experience points. When you've earned enough experience points you'll be able to level up a skill of your choice. Initially your skier will be quite poor but over time he'll improve and will actually have a chance of winning a World Cup event. If you're not aware of what's involved in skiing (as I wasn't) you have no need to fear because there is a short tutorial that teaches you how to launch (or whatever the correct term is) increase your speed, edge and jump. The tutorial is very effective and will get you up and running (or should that be skiing) in no time. The game comes with a collection of professional skiers such as Hermann Maier, Daron Rahvles and Kalle Palander as well as all the slopes and locations for the 2005/2006 season.
What's not so good about the game?
The World Cup mode aside, there should have been more content in the game, especially for the single player as the Free Run mode is simply a way of practicing for the World Cup. On the multiplayer side of things, the game isn't as good as it could have been. Relying on having the IP of your opponents is not a great way to play online games in all honesty. Still the inclusion of a split-screen and tournament mode for offline multiplayer fun is a decent inclusion. You don't have any customisation options for creating your own skier though and you have to put up with the predefined character models which seems a little outdated. Whilst it is possible to control your skier with the keyboard you really need a gamepad. We originally attempted to use the keyboard but it felt clumsy. Later we used an Xbox 360 corded controller and it made for a much more comfortable experience.
How does it look?
Graphically Ski Racing 2006 looks quite good. The skier models look good as do the slopes on which you perform. As well as fine weather you can also have foggy and snowy weather. There are a variety of camera angles to choose from including a rather immersive first person view and even the action replays have numerous camera angles with which to view the action from. The frame rate is very smooth and you do get a lovely sensation of speed which makes you realise just how difficult the sport must be in real life.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Deaf gamers will have no problems with Ski Racing 2006. All the important information in the game is in text. The tutorial is exclusively in text so you'll have no problems in learning to play the game. You do get a beep to denote the fact you've earned a penalty and there is no caption for this but additional time you earn for this penalty does appear on the screen (in the form of a red +3.0s) so you'll know from this that you've committed a fault. In every other respect the game is fine for deaf gamers.
Ski Racing 2006 is surprisingly enjoyable given that, if you don't play the multiplayer side of the game, there is only the World Cup mode that offers any kind of long term challenge. Whilst I'm sure that skiing enthusiasts will be pleased with Ski Racing 2006, those buying the game on a whim would probably have wanted more content. Ski Racing 2006 is a good game and it's refreshing to play a skiing title (for the first time in many years) but the asking price (almost £30) may prove to be a little steep for a game that isn't exactly feature rich.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Ski Racing 2006 is a solid skiing game that fans of the sport will no doubt enjoy. For those with only a passing interest in the sport though it may not be quite so appealing and the game could definitely have done with more features and organised online play.