Rallisport Challenge 2

xbox
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DEVELOPER: Digital Illusions   |   PUBLISHER: Microsoft Game Studios   |   RELEASE: 05/04/2004

There is a lot to be said about a great racing game, especially one that is online. The Xbox console is certainly not in short supply of great racing titles. With the likes of Project Gotham, TOCA 2, Apex, and of course Moto GP 2 one may wonder if there is any more room for racing games on the system. Truth be told even if there wasn’t Rallisport Challenge 2 would blast it’s way through the competition leaving only a cloud of dust behind it. Challenge 2 is the exact definition of how to make a sequel to an already outstanding game, more of everything that made the original great while eliminating what made it frustrating. Add this to excellent online play and tons of unlockables and you have a complete package certainly worthy of your hard earned cash.

First let’s discuss the single player aspect of RC2, you have the basic career mode which consists of four different tiers. Amateur, Pro, Champion, and Super Rally, all of which are selectable from the beginning except the latter. Each tier consists of several races spanning across the five different types of race style found in the game. These include Rally, Hill Climb, Ice Racing, Crossover, and Rally Cross. Each section has its own set of tracks and cars and as you progress through each section you can unlock new cars and tracks which can be raced online. The Amateur tier starts you off slow and allows you to grasp the handling of the game, which is a perfect blend of arcade and simulation. As you progress the AI becomes more and more competitive, yet never frustrating. The team has done an excellent job of keeping a good learning curve; the game slowly becomes more challenging yet never agitating.

Now let’s talk about the visuals, we all know the Xbox is a technical powerhouse. Tons of fancy words like bump mapping, pixel shading, and real time reflections which to the average gamer mean little to nothing. Rallisport Challenge is pretty, and I don’t mean in a sort of attractive I wouldn’t mind getting’ with it kind of pretty, I am talking drop dead gorgeous. The cars sport massive detail such as decals, real time lighting, and true suspension. They also take damage, which includes such things as lost bumpers and cracked windshields. Cars will also collect snow and mud as they trek along the race, the sheer amount of minute detail like this makes this game a visual treat to your eyes. Also new this year are enhanced weather effects, snow will collect on the ground, mist will fall from the trees when it rains, and night time driving was never this intense on any racing game in the past. Needless to say that if graphics were the only thing that mattered, this game would be at the top of its class.

Moving on we come to the multi-player portion of the game. It is now the standard for Xbox games to receive the Live treatment. Online gaming is a part of our future, and it is better to embrace this aspect as it extends the life of our games. Rallisport 2 is fully Xbox Live ready with up to four players able to duke it out online. All five types of racing are available online, but the host is the only one who can change tracks so make sure you look for games with all tracks open. RC2 has truly become a personal favorite here at ZTGD, we play three to four times a week so look for us online anytime. As with any Xbox Live title Rallisport features voice support, the cool innovation here though is that you can only hear the people directly in front or behind you. So for instance if you are in second place you can only hear the first and third place players. It certainly gets lonely out in first place, which is where I spend most of my laps. There is also an open slot for future downloadable content as well as leader boards where you can check your stats against the world or just your friends list.

The only downfall I can see this title facing is that Americans are not the biggest rally fans on the planet. Can this game make its mark and truly be enjoyed to its full potential? That question remains to be seen, but as of now there are plenty of players online awaiting your arrival. With tons of racing modes, online support, and some of the best play control of any rally game in history there is no reason not to own this game. So what are you waiting for, get your ass to the store and pick up one of the finest racing games available on Xbox or any console for that matter.

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.