Oohhh... how I love the rev of an engine! The feeling that you get when you rip around a corner too fast and you feel as if you left your stomach behind you. The urge to just let go of all inhibitions and let loose! These are the feelings I get when I play Swedish Touring Car Championship 2. STCC2 is a must play for any racing sim enthusiast.
I suppose the first thing that hit me when I fired this puppy up was the beauty of the game engine. I'm starting to doubt my own words, but in the past I've said that racing sims generally don't have a pretty game engine as the whole point of a sim - would be to have rock solid gameplay, physics, etc. However, Colin McRae Rally 2 (review
) proved me wrong, and now STCC2 has proved me wrong. The graphics in this game are outstanding; not sure if they are on par or better than CMR2's, but in either event they are gorgeous!
Car detail is another locale that needs mentioning. The attention to detail, specifications and accuracy in the car models themselves is just outstanding! Though, I would not have expected any less from a racing sim following in the lines of STCC. Taking a look at the front and rear lights (especially at night or dim periods of the day), they glow with an iridescent light that is
lifelike. Right down to the emblems on the hood and trunk, Dice did a bang up job.
The physics and car handling in the game are very well done, reacting to most real-world situations very accurately. For example, if you come racing around a curve at 100 KM/h and you try to hit the brake to slow you down, heh, you're out o' luck. Just barely letting your tires at the dirt / grass at a somewhat high velocity will result in donut after donut spins until you are smart enough to shift it back down to a lower gear and *slowly* ease your way back onto the safety of the pavement.
Track design and implementation are also nicely done, it gives you a variety too. Rather than racing around the same oval track a thousand times, or slightly varying that track to a figure-8 (or equivalent), the courses are truly unique. Added to the numerous tracks around Sweden you can head up north and race around the Arctic circle (which is one of my favourite courses).
Remember how I was saying I loved the rev of an engine? Well, you get to hear a lot of that in this game. Sound effects and the ambient music playing suit the game very well, from the burnouts at the green lights to the rough shifting of clutch when you wander off-road. I only wish I had a force feedback joystick so I could enjoy the rumble and racket of the engines
So the game looks and sounds great, but is it fun to play? HELL YES. Though I prefer the feel and look of CMR2 more, STCC2 is a heck of a lot of fun to play and the customization of the cars and tracks is something else. I've spent hours just building my car, testing it, then heading back to the garage to do a little more tweaking.
An added bonus to the STTC races, you also have the choice of racing in SRR races - otherwise referred to as the Camaro Cup. The Camaro's are a ton of fun to play with, but good luck setting any records with them as they are a b*tch to drive - not to mention recover from any accidents or spin outs you may run into.
Now, multiplayer in the game is a bit misleading. Just hoping in the game and hitting multiplayer will leave you with no servers. However, I ventured over to the STCC2 site and added a couple servers to the list. So, now I'm in one of the servers but there are no other players (in any of them) nor did I find a way to actually "join" the game. I was more or less stuck in the lobby.Overall this game is just a riot to play.
Any and all racing sim enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy it, even if they don't get to experience multiplayer.
Official STCC2 Site