by TDK Mediactive
It's amazing how your opinions of some games can change with extended play. I've reviewed some games in the past and I've initially thought that they were brilliant only to find fault after fault, once I've actually spent 1-2 weeks playing them. Of course the opposite is also true and I've had games that initially I wasn't too happy with only to find that with extended play what I had was a rough diamond, as it were. World Racing falls into the latter category. After the first hours play I didn't see anything special with it and was preparing myself for an average game. After a weeks solid play however I think it's safe to say that it has impressed me somewhat.
World Racing is a Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts dream come true. The game features 109 original Mercedes cars and include the A to S classes, racing, vintage and prototype models. It's not just the number of the cars that impresses though. There are 117 different tracks that are set in 7 very different locations. There's tracks from Nevada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, the Alps, a city environment and the test centre. Each of these locations is based on a 6km² area which is impressive to say the least. It's possible to have a free drive around these locations, which is highly recommended in order to appreciate the complexity and detail of them.
The game places you as a test driver for Mercedes and provides you with a career mode, along with a single race option and a 4 player split screen race option, which contains 48 varied missions and numerous races for you to complete. The goal of the game is to become the number one driver. Finishing first in the races is of course desirable but you are also rewarded for good and fair driving. It's not quite the same as in Project Gotham Racing but nevertheless it's good to see that you are rewarded for not being aggressive or cutting corners. The missions range from having to win a 1 v 1 race around the test track to having to get to a certain location within a specified amount of time, and numerous other alternatives. I actually found these missions a pleasant break from the standard races. What is a nice touch though is that you can practice a track before you race it to give you more of a chance.
Initially, of course, you only have access to the slow, unspectacular cars but as you complete the missions and races this will rapidly change and the more desirable models will be yours to drive. The variation in handling between the models is impressive too. Synetic claim that there are 150 different variable attributes that make up the characteristics of the cars and whilst I obviously can't appreciate this to the full extent I can say that it was possible to tell the difference in handling between the various models. It is also worth mentioning that it's possible to switch, in varying degrees, between simulation handling and arcade handling. There are also various driving assists that can be enabled too, such as anti-lock braking systems etc.
When I first played the game I headed straight for a single race and the conditions were foggy. The impressions I got from this was that the game didn't look that great. The draw distance looked awful. Thankfully this is only confined to foggy weather. When the weather was clear I was able to fully appreciate the detail that has gone into the environments that the tracks are based in. There is still distance fogging but it's only in the very far off distance. Whilst the framerate is mostly impressive there are some instances of slowdown but it's not poor by any means and seems connected with the detail in the environment rather than the cars that are onscreen. The cars look impressive and are instantly recognisable. Synetic have definitely done themselves proud in this respect. One oddity I have encountered though is that occasionally you'll be given an offroad mission and you'll have to drive around such obstacles as trees, or at least you would think that you have to. All the trees I came across had no collision detection at all and I could happily drive straight through them. This seems strange as hitting every other trackside object gives the results that you would expect, with the exception of the pedestrians in the City tracks who must be made of steel.
There are no problems for deaf gamers with World Racing. In fact all information is given completely in text. I haven't come across any verbal content at all. The directional arrow that points the way to go, which can be turned off if you wish, will turn from green to yellow or red if you are going too fast.
World Racing is a slow burner of a game in much the same way that Gran Turismo is. Initially you don't have access to the best cars and tracks etc., but as you put more effort into it you begin to appreciate just how good a game it really is. It's a must for all racing fans, especially those that like Mercedes-Benz.
Game Rating: 8.4/10