For far too long now traditional driving games have been out of fashion. Unless it was illegal street racing or off-road action, the four-wheeled fun just wasn’t the done thing. But with RACE Pro, gamers can throw off the shackles and get back to good old-fashioned speed with a nice dose of realism thrown in for good measure. In this game, there are no side missions or drive-bys to be accomplished. Instead, it’s just you and your opponents on the track battling it out for glory.
That simplistic approach to success or failure is both delicious and devilish, pushing you to improve but throwing obstacles in your path at the same time. RACE Pro is firmly aimed at the racing enthusiast, both in terms of gameplay and the wider package. This shows as soon as you hop onto the track and witness the breadth of racing aids that are available, including familiar on-screen racing lines and braking assistance. They’re great little tools for the beginner, but they can draw the focus away from the actual game if you come to rely on them. After all, what fun is there in following a drawn line around the track? To get the best from RACE Pro you need to commit the time to tackle the tracks and master the cars with no-holds barred.
This notion of exclusivity extends to the package as a whole, and from the word go you can sense that this title hasn’t been aimed at the casual, ‘pick up and play’ gamer. There’s no silky presentation or over-the-top soundtrack to get lost in. In fact, the soundtrack – or lack of it – is one of the more refreshing parts of this game. It seems the real development time for RACE Pro has been spent polishing the bit that matters – the racing. Thankfully though, the simplistic approach hasn’t stretched to the game modes, with quick race, career and season options to name but a few.
But it’s the multiplayer capabilities that are of interest to most seasoned gamers in this genre. On paper, things look good for RACE Pro, but in reality, they tend to fall short of expectations. If you’re planning on playing a pal on one machine you’re in for a major disappointment. Deciding not to implement a split-screen option may well have been done so in an attempt to avoid the arcade feel of some driving sims, but it just seems to leave a gaping hole. In place of split-screen we have the Hot Seat mode – something which will be best-remembered by fans of Micropose’s old F1 PC game – which sees you alternating with each other in a single car to try and get the best times. It serves a purpose, but it hardly matches the fun of going wheel-to-wheel with your mates.
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