The classic rally racing game finally makes it's way to the PC from PSX, in the second edition. Racing through winding, twisting, turning mountain terrains, then crossing the continent and heading over to the snowy alps of Sweden; next moving south to Greece and challenging the city streets. With over 13 "rally-ready" cars at your disposal at eight locations around the world, Colin McRae R2 preps you for the real thing.
I was never really good at the racing sims... no matter how hard I tried I could never really get the knack for it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all of them I just, well, sucked. I can't say it's much different with CMR2 (as you'll note in the shots there are very few 1st place positions
) but I can say this game is a blast to play.
Starting up the game, you're met with calm, cool, easy to navigate menus - so you know exactly what the game has to offer and how to get it. One thing I've noticed with a lot of rally games is that they are internationally friendly. Meaning that, you can change the language of the game from English, to French to Spanish, etc. and CMR2 is no exception. You can switch the languages from English, to French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch!
Now, most racing sims aren't renown for their graphics engine... as the whole point to the sims are realistic physics, car handling, tracks, etc. and this is one area that has really pissed me off in the past. Why not spend a little more time and improve the graphics to make a more enjoyable ride? Should only the FPS games get the pretty graphics? Hell no! I wasn't disappointed with CMR2. Though I can't say they are on par with such engines as the Q3:A or the upcoming T2 engine... for a sim, they are very well done.
One thing that I should point out is the really pathetic looking crowd that huddle around the edges of the track. Instead of spending a day's worth of the modeller's time and creating a few 3D people they settled for snapshots of real people that they just cut out and slapped in the game. I'm sorry, but this really sours the mood of the game. When you're racing through beautifully rendered environments, sliding around a dusty corner and see a bunch of 2D cutout shapes... it contrasts with it's surroundings like a snake amongst a family of mongooses. Special effects are a nice added touch to the game, but to be honest... they could've added more. I have all graphics maxed and I'm running the game comfortably at 1152*864 with 4x FSAA on (which is a rare thing with most modern games); however I still feel there is something missing...
Realistic vehicle damage should be something that is a common trait in racing sim games. I mean, who here can honestly say you don't enjoy getting the car up to 150 km/h and running either off a cliff, into a wall or another car? And when your car just bounces off the wall or gets thrown in the opposing direction... what fun is that! You will all be happy to know that CMR2 does it right! As you can tell from a few of the shots I banged my Seat Cordoba pretty bad. It's all in good fun though, right?
Sound... I have no complaints with. Featuring the rave / techno genre music that we all know and love racing games for it really gets you in the mood to race. Even in the game menus and customization areas the same ambient rave / techno music plays. Though I must admit this is not for everyone, anyone with tastes in this type of music will adore the sounds here.
Sound effects in the game are superb. Shifting and engine revs are synched perfectly (I've played some pretty crappy racing games and having unrealistic engine revs turns me off - I play manual). Flying by the crowd you'll be able to hear their cheers (or boo's), combined with environmental sounds adds a lot of atmosphere to the game. Almost as if you were really there! Well, it's not as if I've actually rally raced through the mountains of Sweden, but hey, I've seen the shows.
So you like what you're reading but you don't know a thing about cars? Not a problem, with CMR2's newly added Arcade mode anyone will be able to jump into the game for some instant action fun. This is the mode I've played most often... partially because I don't stand a chance in Championship and secondly because I haven't the patience for race after race after race... To wrap this puppy up... great racing sim graphics, sound is incredible, vehicle models are terrific and this game just rocks to play. If racing sims are your thing - this is the game for you.
Official Colin McRae Rally 2 Website