Review: Superstars V8 Racing
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Players: 1-12 (Online)
What I Liked:
Very sharp looking game.
Support of steering wheels.
What I Disliked:
No cockpit view.
Some players might not like that there is no in-game music.
Lots of saving and loading.
Timing is everything, and luck doesn’t hurt either. O-Games and Milestone seemed to have both on their side with the release of Superstars V8 Racing. Originally slated to come out the week before Gran Turismo 5, the outlook for this game was rather drab. But we all know what happens next in this story, Sony delays the release of GT5 to some unknown time, leaving a vacancy open. I can say that Superstars V8 Racing will definitely tide you over until that certain PS3 racing title gets a release.
Superstars V8 Racing is based off the popular, in some countries, Superstars Series. Which if you aren’t in the know is a touring car racing series. All of the cars have roughly the same specs, making for some intense races. But does the game live up to this? Well yes and no. If you are playing on the lower difficulties, you can easily gain almost 30 seconds on your fellow drivers. The AI at this level is very easy to outsmart, but that is the case in most racing games. The real test is when you switch it up to the harder levels. In “Legend” mode if you make one mistake you might as well give up. But it feels really rewarding when you can finish first.
The games modes are split up in a few ways. The first thing any new player to the game should head to are the Superstars Licenses. Much like other racing games, these will teach you how to handle different aspects of the game. Along the way you can learn how to tackle certain corners, or even just get used to the tracks you will be racing on. There are some which even simulate racing conditions. I found all of these really helpful in getting used to the games physics. You can figure out when you need to brake and what you can and can’t do in the cars.
Besides the Licenses mode there is Quick Race, which I am sure you can guess what that is all about. Training mode comes in really handy if you are one of those players that like to tweak every little bit about the car. The game offers some rather robust simulation options for adjusting gear ratios, spoiler heights, tires, all that sort of stuff. I can report to you though, that you can win every race, even at high difficulties, without touching these options. Race Weekend is just picking one track and doing everything that you would be doing in the Championship.
The meat of this game is in the Championship. You choose one of the drivers from one of the teams in the game and leave it all on the track. Cars from all different manufactures are represented, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, etc. What I did was try out every car in Training mode and picked the one that felt the most comfortable with. The telemetry data you get can help you make the best decision. So after you get in the race it is you versus 18 other drivers all in similarly outfitted cars. The Championship is broken up into ten different races, each with two practice sessions (when you can tune you car), a qualifying session, and then the race. At lower difficulties you can pretty much skip these as you will blow past the AI. But if you skip qualifying during high difficulties, I guarantee you will not get first. The way points are handled keeps things close until the very end.
There is also an Online component to the game where you can race against twelve other players. They can choose a track and conditions along with any realism settings which include, tire wear, damage, and penalties for cutting corners. I didn’t notice any lag when playing, even with a full room. There is also voice chat so you can talk smack while blowing past all the other people you are playing against. It seems that everyone picks one or two of the cars online, which makes the game really about who is the best driver. I had a blast playing this online and will probably be back for more.
Superstars V8 Racing is a steal for $20, did I mention it has a platinum trophy. It is a simulation racer at heart, but it won’t be too daunting for the casual racing fan to pick up and play. With other games still stuck in the pit, Superstars V8 Racing is out and hitting the track… hard.
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